May 26, 2017 by Tim Lee
I find when working with clients, almost all of them can pinpoint an instance when they just “knew” that their compulsive sexual behavior had become a serious problem. Whether it was paid sex, an affair, a one night stand, or compulsive masturbation, their inner, healthy voice was literally screaming things like, “This is no longer okay for me,” “I don’t what to act this way any longer,” “I think I need to stop this,” or “The last time this happened, I got in trouble.”
Despite the inner voice pep talk, their willingness or ability to stop the behavior fell far short of the need and desire to feel the dopamine rush of their addiction.
Rationalizing and Denying Sex Addiction
The problems erupt when the healthy voice, or what I like to call healthy shame, is overridden. When this happens, we don’t trust the healthy voice or flat out can’t hear it. The healthy voice is drowned out by rationalization and denial – the litany of continuous lies that sex addicts tell themselves: “I won’t get caught again,” “I will do it differently this time,” or “It’s not really that bad,” etc.
There is psychic pain and neurosis, known as “cognitive dissonance” that occurs when we don’t listen to our inner voice of reason. It’s the inner clash of the many conflicting ideas swirling around in our head making it impossible to know which one to believe. In this state we feel depressed, anxious, and numb without knowing the cause. As a result, the bad behavior starts again, intensifying each time, and the cycle repeats itself. The line is crossed again and again until, suddenly, an important event is missed, a loved one finds out, or a job is lost. These bigger consequences bring on the “awakening”. A moment of crisis and clarity has arrived.
The Path to Awareness, Acceptance and Recovery from Sexual Addiction
The moment of crisis is actually a lifesaving moment. Usually when we’re in crisis, we’re motivated to act. We start to listen to that voice of reason we’ve been repressing or ignoring. At some point, the voice may say, “Well maybe it is time to get help,” “Maybe that therapist was right after all,” and “I have a problem with my sex and love life, and it is destroying my life.”
One of the benefits of sexual addiction recovery is that we no longer have to spend our valuable psychic energy denying the truth about our lives and situations. We can confront the demons and learn to understand the root causes of our obsession and compulsive sexual behavior. We can learn to trust again, to let go of destructive beliefs, to hope and to heal. The pain can be lifted.
Your Instincts about Sex Addiction Are On Target – Listen to Them
If you’re in crisis, and that inner voice is telling you that you have an issue with sex addiction, listen to it! Level with a trusted friend, go to an addiction recovery meeting, or call a certified sex addiction therapist for help. You can stop the pain and reclaim a healthy lifestyle.
I encourage you to keep taking the “next right action” towards a healthy lifestyle. I know I wasted much valuable time not taking action for myself when I knew what I needed to do!
Get on the path to recovery and stop the pain. Call New York Pathways today at 212-244-4447.