I used to think that I was the problem. Now I understand that it was my behavior and how I conducted my life that was the problem. Despite the bad choices of my past, I now understand that I am a man who is worthy of love and a good life, simply because I exist. Understanding this fully has not made day-to-day recovery easier, but it sure helps me get through the rough spots and gives me hope about life, and for myself as being a useful and good man.
– Damien, a former Sexual Recovery Institute client
In sexual addiction treatment, clinicians help clients carefully self-define the sexual behaviors that do not compromise or destroy their meaningful personal values, life circumstances, and relationships. Clients then commit in a written sexual sobriety contract to only engage in sexual behaviors that are permitted within the bounds of that predetermined pact. As long as the client’s behavior remains within his or her concretely and mutually defined boundaries, that individual is sexually sober. (I have written extensively about “boundary plans” in a previous blog) But how can we help sex addicts deal in healthy ways with the people, places, and things that trigger them to act out? After all, every time they leave the treatment setting the real world awaits-with all the same temptations as ever (and, thanks to the ever-expanding Internet, probably a few new ones).
Valentine’s Day is once again upon us. For most happily paired individuals, February 14 is a day of chocolates, roses, and intimate time with a spouse or partner. However, for some more emotionally vulnerable single individuals, V-Day can feel like a cruel, frustrating, unjust reminder of their loneliness and unhappiness. The greatest sufferers are those who rely on an intimate relationship as their primary means of emotional stability and affect management. And while some men do struggle, SLA (Sex and Love Addiction) issues are more often a challenge faced by women, specifically those women for whom not being partnered can destabilize an already fragile ego state. For these “love addicted” ladies, the experience of romance, sexuality, and emotional closeness is, at best, a wildly emotional challenge beset with exuberant highs and painful lows. Living in emotionally chaotic, sometimes desperate worlds of emotional need and psychological despair, they fear being alone, being rejected, getting stuck in the “wrong” relationship, and most of all that they will never find that special someone – or, worse yet, that they will find the “perfect partner” and be deemed unworthy.
In recent months I’ve written extensively about individuals struggling with the all-too-common interplay of stimulant drug abuse and sexual acting out. However, I’ve not spent much time discussing WHO we are dealing with in terms of this treatment population. In this blog, I examine one segment of this growing clientele – a man I call “The Executive Player.”