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Same-Sex Attraction & Sex Addiction among Christians: The Triple Threat of Shame

Addictions, Asian Christianity, Asian Shame0 comments

Photo by Tyler Callahan on Unsplash

It’s shameful enough acknowledging your sex addiction. Now  combine that with your attraction to people of the same-sex within a Christian context and you have potentially shame so wide and deep that you fear being rejected on multiple fronts.

I’m privileged to work with those in this category who have found the courage to seek help and open up to their deepest fears and concerns with me as a fellow believer.

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Sex Addiction Recovery: Spousal Support

Addictions1 comment

Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash

In a lot of relationships dealing with addictions of any kind, the hardest part is sharing the journey with your partner.  When it comes to sex addiction, this becomes exponentially harder due to feelings of sexual and emotional betrayal, a partner’s potential feelings of inadequacy (compared to other women real or imagined via fantasy/pornography).

In your recovery circles, you may be real, authentic, and vulnerable in sharing of your slips and acting out episodes to men or women in your 12 step groups, group therapy or other support groups where you feel people truly understand the nature of this disease without fear of judgment or condemnation.  However due to these same fears stemming in your marriage or intimate relationship, your romantic partner may be the last to know.

As I mentioned earlier, part of this is due to the intense fear of shame, rejection, judgment or condemnation one may have received in the past from your partner.  You probably were ridiculed, called names, or even were physically hit because of your out-of-control sexual behaviors.  In a few cases, men and women may not share due to projecting these fears onto their partners thus limiting their ability to share.

So what occurs is the recovery process could feel very disjointed within a coupleship (i.e. if the couples are working to stay together and work through the addiction_.  One side invests and exerts a lot of energy attending recovery meetings, checking in with sponsors/group members, reading, journaling, and other recovery work that can lead to painful yet meaningful discoveries within themselves and then shared accordingly with like-minded peers.  However, that level of emotional depth and vulnerability may not transcend beyond recovery circles and thus the romantic partner gets short shrift in terms of the significant recovery details other than the proverbial and awkward check-in process as detailed below.

Impacted Partner: “So how’s it (your addiction recovery) going (this week, month, etc.)?”

Sex Addict: “Good” or “It’s been a hard (week, month, etc.)”.

I don’t mean to paint a negative picture on the recovery process for couples but I do feel there is a greater need for impacted partners to know there should be a much richer and fulfilling dialogue leading to a much more connected coupleship.  If you feel the two of you are living separate lives in this area, then please consider seeking guidance in growing in this area.  The worst case scenario is when no information is shared (after the initial discover or acknowledgement of the addiction)_ and the impacted partner lives by the mantra, “Don’t ask, don’t tell”.

If you’re in addiction recovery please consider having your partner join you in the process (if he/she wants to).  You’ll be surprised that many impacted partners want to be on this journey with you.  This doesn’t mean they’re to be an accountability partner but they do and should have access to your recovery process (feelings, emotions, slips, relapses) as a means to support you and to not feel left in the dark.

Too many people go through addiction recovery separate from their partners not realizing how much this causes couples to actually grow more distant and less emotionally intimate than having the courage to share their journey with their partners.  So in short, addiction recovery is not an individual journey (as many of you know by now with your support people) but also a journey where your intimate partner should be on as well.

Intimacy Disorder: The Root of Addiction

Addictions, Asian Shame0 comments

By Alex Holyoake of Unsplash

What is emotional intimacy and how does this impact addiction? The lack of true intimacy where an individual does not feel emotionally safe to share their thoughts, feelings, concerns, desires, and needs leaves one vulnerable to develop addictive tendencies as a means to cope.

This can be a one-time incident or the cumulative effect of what’s known as attachment trauma where connection, bonding, safety, and trust are compromised. Ruptures in attachments (i.e. with parents, primary caregivers, coaches, and/or other significant figures) can be overt and explicit like physical or sexual abuse where “something is done to an individual”. Continue Reading

Make your Bed: A Step towards Addiction Recovery

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Photo by Raphael Schaller on Unsplash

It may seem like a simple task.  Wake up and make your bed.  But how many addicts do this?  The truth is, addicts are the least likely to make their bed.

Why is this simple act such a difficult task?  Part of it is that an addict’s life is simply out of control.  With this lack of manageability comes with it a desire to continue to chase the high, whatever the craving(s) might be. Continue Reading

The Addict’s Dreams: Relapsing in the Unconscious & What It Means for Recovery

Addictions0 comments

Pixabay

In the psychotherapy field, one area that often gets overlooked is a person’s dream state.  Yet because my focus is also in addictions, this is an area that must be not only examined but encouraged for the client to share.

Case in point, I was running an addiction group and a new member sheepishly asked if she could still consider herself sober since she had a dream where she was drinking alcohol again.  In her mind, the dream was so real, vivid, and brought on such shame that she truly believed she had relapsed despite being sober for almost two weeks. Continue Reading

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