Cross and Co-Occurring Addictions
Individuals who are cross-addicted are people who switch from one addiction to another—for instance, Suzanne stops drinking alcohol, then gains 40 pounds in three months, replacing booze with compulsive eating. People with co-occurring addictions struggle with multiple addictions at the same time—for instance, Eric smokes pot morning, noon, and night, and also plays video games for eight to ten hours each day.
Cross and co-occurring disorders are especially common with sex addicts. In one survey of male sex addicts, 87 percent of respondents reported that they regularly abused either addictive substances or other addictive behaviors. Considerable anecdotal evidence suggests that for a majority of sex addicts with a co-occurring addiction the secondary drug of choice is crystal methamphetamine. Sex addicts also use cocaine, crack cocaine, and almost any other stimulant—but crystal meth is usually cheaper and more readily available.
Consider Brad, a married, 38-year-old lawyer:
10) Continued to take personal inventory, and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.
11) Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood God, praying only for knowledge of God’s will for us and the power to carry that out.
12) Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to other sex addicts and to practice these principles in our lives.
So Much More Than Maintenance
Sex addicts, like all addicts, can be surprisingly resistant to the idea of participating in 12-step sexual recovery programs such as SA, SAA, SCA, SLAA, and SRA. Ironically, the same men and women who regularly engage in compulsive, sometimes illegal and often public sexual acts often worry they’ll be “spotted” at a 12-step sex meeting.
The fact that they’ve posted personal information and nude photos of themselves on dating websites and “friend finder” smart-phone apps, have repeatedly looked at pornography at work, or had an angry spouse tell everyone he or she knows about their sexual behavior matters not at all. The reality escapes these individuals that the only people likely to spot a sex addict at a 12-step sexual recovery meeting are other sex addicts who are dealing with the same basic set of problems, and these are the last people on earth likely to gossip about or place a value judgment on another’s sexual history.
Nevertheless, some sex addicts fight the idea of attending 12-step recovery groups, so it is up to the therapist to bring the themes, neurological rewiring, and overall experience of step-work into the treatment arena.
Nuptial Nonentity, or, Why Go to Weddings When What You Really Want is to Have One?
Late spring and early summer in America is wedding season. If you’re already married, good for you, even though you may now dread this time of year because it means you have to attend the weddings of god only knows how many friends with weird relatives and buy them a gift that’s at least as nice as the one they bought you—not to mention the expense of a new dress (or dresses) and possibly a new suit or tuxedo (if your friends insist on formality), plus plane tickets, car rentals and hotel rooms.
Frankly, it can all get a little expensive. But you didn’t want to go to Hawaii this winter anyway, did you?
If you’re not married, then during this seemingly endless “mating season,” which lasts until mid-September at least, your biological clock/time-bomb is probably ticking double-time as you desperately wonder what the heck is wrong with you that you can’t seem to find Mr./Ms. Right.
Guest post by: Linda Hatch PhD, CSAT, www.sexaddictionscounseling.com
Narcissism Equals Low Self-Esteem
A majority of sex addicts behave in ways that are seen by others as narcissistic. Narcissistic personality traits are often described in terms such as grandiosity, self-centeredness and over-entitlement. This suggests the narcissist has an inflated sense of self-worth. In fact the opposite is true.
Most narcissism is actually a defense system. The narcissist has acquired a façade of superiority and self-sufficiency as a defense against unconscious feelings of inadequacy and unworthiness. This defense is often bolstered by career success or being prominent in the community. This self-image is flimsy and superficial, but it is felt by the narcissist-addict to be his or her true self.
As such, this false self protects the addict from experiencing his or her vast reservoir of unhappiness and insecurity.