Archives for Recovery

Addictions

Recovery from Cybersex Addiction: Part One – Initial Action Steps

For the last five years (at least), Jerry, a handsome 36-year-old office manager, has put the search for sex ahead of all else – even though he’s not having any in-person sexual encounters. Instead, he looks at and masturbates to hardcore pornography for several hours each weeknight and all day on the weekends, and occasionally he engages in mutual masturbation with strangers via webcam. Until a few years ago he tried to also date in real life, usually going out with nice women who were interested in a long-term relationship. He says that he really liked one of them, but that he was never really present with her and she eventually broke things off. He admits that on their dates he was usually more focused on going home and going online than on her. As it turns out, she broke up with him because she thought he was cheating on her (and in a way he was). That was three years ago, and Jerry has not been on a date since. He has tried several times to quit using porn, and sometimes he manages to do so for a day or two. But before long he feels depressed and lonely and he goes back online as a way to escape the pain. Recently, he’s started using his office computer to access porn during work hours – a situation that he knows will not end well. And yet he continues.

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Recovery

Addicts Just Want to Have Fun (in Recovery)

All Work and No Play...

Jack a 52-year-old divorced high school guidance counselor, after a stint of inpatient substance abuse rehab, had nine months sober from both alcoholism and marijuana addiction. In addition to working 8 to 5 every weekday, Jack kept a journal, meditated daily, and attended at least one twelve step meeting each evening. He also met with his therapist once per week and his twelve step sponsor twice weekly. Until the eight month mark of sobriety, he was riding the “pink cloud” of early recovery - that blissful time when many recovering addicts feel so relieved to finally be addressing their longstanding problem that, no matter what comes their way, they feel generally positive and cheerful about themselves and the world.
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Recovery

GLBT Addiction and Recovery: An Interview with Jeff Zacharias

Because I sometimes find that the issues therapists deal with differ by region, I like to chat with men and women at the forefront of our profession in various areas of the country. Among these clinical leaders is Jeff Zacharias, Owner, President, and Clinical Director of New Hope Recovery Center in the Lincoln Park area of Chicago. New Hope primarily serves Chicago’s LGBT community. Jeff also has a private practice in Lincoln Square. He specializes in the treatment of all forms of addiction, with a focus on sex and love addiction.

Recently I spoke with Jeff about the issues he commonly sees in the Chicago area, and how he and his colleagues approach treatment to those particular challenges.
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Recovery

The Missing Treatment Link – Viewing Addiction as Symptomatic of Disordered Intimacy

Escape versus Connection

Alcoholics and drug addicts don’t drink and use to feel better; they do it to feel less. In other words, addiction is a disease of escape and dissociation from stress and other forms of emotional discomfort. This means that substance abusers don’t get drunk or high because they’re looking to engage with other people, they do it because they’re hoping to avoid the turmoil of other people. Nevertheless, our very human desire for connection that is present from birth onward remains in effect. As such, drug addicted individuals typically do want to connect, even though they are desperately afraid of the trauma that might ensue.
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Recovery

A Call to Action: One Way to Make Treatment Feel Safer

Dealing with Shame and Vulnerability

Few places call upon people to be more vulnerable, more often, than addiction and behavioral/mental health treatment settings. Complicating matters is the fact that people who enter treatment for addiction or any other highly destructive psychiatric disorder are nearly always filled with shame - feeling as if they are inherently flawed, defective, less than, and unworthy. Sharing about these feelings and the incidents that led to them is incredibly painful, and, as such, these individuals would usually rather eat dirt than talk about them. As therapists, of course, we understand that shame thrives in darkness but withers in sunlight. In other words, we know that the best way to reduce the power of shameful feelings and incidents is to have them witnessed and understood when surrounded by safe and supportive others.
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