When an addict first enters into treatment, he or she does so with the understanding that the initial withdrawal process will be followed by a lengthy period of individual and group therapy. It’s commonly known that drug and alcohol addiction involves a period of withdrawal, but love addiction can also involve withdrawal. At a sex addiction rehab center in Los Angeles, CA, a certified sex addiction therapist can help patients and their loved ones get through the initial withdrawal process and the recovery process thereafter.
Physical Indicators of Withdrawal
It’s important for individuals to communicate clearly with their certified sex therapists about what they’re going through. This may include a discussion of the physical side effects they’ve experienced when they first begin to address the problem of love addiction. Every individual will have a unique experience, but it’s not uncommon to experience sleep disturbances such as insomnia, changes in eating patterns, fatigue, and nonspecific aches and pains or illnesses. Some people may suffer from flu-like symptoms, which can include nausea and vomiting. These physical side effects occur because the mind and body are intricately linked. As the individual continues to work through the sex addiction program, he or she will gradually begin to feel better and empowered to change.
Mental and Emotional Issues of Withdrawal
Overcoming any sort of addiction is never easy. The withdrawal process can involve very challenging mental and emotional problems . It’s normal to feel a sense of grief when someone is completely transitioning from destructive, old behaviors into a new, healthier lifestyle. Some individuals may feel an irresistible urge to act out intentionally. Others may suffer from obsessive thought patterns, irrational fear and self-doubt, and the desire to isolate oneself from family members and friends. Irritability, anger, and rage are not uncommon. Some people develop preoccupations with fantasizing; others may entertain suicidal thoughts. The process of withdrawing from love addiction can readily lead to depressive symptoms, including severe sadness, despair, and hopelessness. It may even cause cognitive impairment; some individuals may suffer from problems with concentration and they may display confusion. By working closely with a certified sex addiction therapist, individuals can work through these challenges and gain control over their lives and their health.
Am I the only person who made collages of things I loved as a child? Surely some of you readers can relate to cutting pictures out of magazines of your dream boyfriends, careers and phrases like “Just do it” and “Maybe she’s born with it.” Those glue-stick assembled creations of our youth are worth taking a second look at now as adults. I am referring to creating what is called a “Vision Board.” It may sound cheesy but bear with me. This tool can change your life from chaotic and messy to clear and hopeful. How? By actually putting down on paper what you are choosing your life to be about. Many things are out of our control, but much of what we do and how we choose to live is intentional. Life is a collection of many, many choices. Identify the choices you need to make and you can make your dreams come true.
A Vision Board is a map of what you’d like to be doing in 5 years, coupled with the steps you need to take to get there. It is created by drawing a circle on a piece of paper and filling the background with all of your wishes, hopes and dreams for where you would like to be in 2021 (if you did one today, in 2016). Inside the circle, list at least 5 things you can do today or this week or month, to get you one step closer to those long-term goals. Seem easy? Here are a few examples with larger and smaller first steps to get your started:
1. Goal: Have a baby- Track your ovulation monthly and read as much as you can on a fertility diet and lifestyle (Seem overwhelming? Instead start with a trip to the doctor to get checked out this month and start taking prenatal vitamins.)
2. Goal: Be a successful writer- Work on your craft 1 hour a day and read 1 book a week on how to start a writing career. (Too overwhelming? Try blogging one a week and see if you even still enjoy writing before you devote too much time to it.)
3. Goal: Buy a house- Save 20% of every paycheck towards a down payment. (Too much? Try not buying coffee daily and put that money in a “house jar.” Even small steps count towards your goal.)
I learned this tool from a recent IITAP conference I attended in Arizona and used it to create a vision of what I’d like my life to look like in 5 years. It was amazing to see a visual representation of what I want my life to be about someday. It really pointed out what’s currently missing in my life now. Yet what I realized is that I want to do a vision board with my partner as well. After all, those in long-term serious relationships don’t live in isolation. They are part of a team, a unit. Nearly all their decisions are made with someone (or more than one) person in mind. Creating a list of your dreams together using pictures (not words) on the outside of the circle with easy baby steps in the inside is empowering and can help you both to feel more connected. You’re working together towards a common goal, not simply living parallel lives. I even had a coworker who put sticky notes in the inside of his vision board (inside the circle) so that after he accomplished those tasks, he could create new ones. Genius! Your Vision Board can be an ever-evolving thing. Perhaps you could even hang it on your wall for daily inspiration.
So next date night or lazy Sunday afternoon, instead of ordering Thai and watching yet another Redbox on the couch, create a vision board separately and maybe also together. It may not instantly grant you the life of your dreams, but it does put out into the universe the things you want to accomplish with your life. What are your priorities? What do you want to spend more time on? What things are you putting off for later?
It’s one thing to dream, it’s quite another to consciously make steps toward your goals. Be a little bit creative and whip out the scissors, old magazines and Crayola. Ask yourself, what is my vision for my (and our) life? And what can I do today to make that future a reality?
After having worked so hard to overcome an addiction, it can be very discouraging to suffer a relapse. When you work with an outpatient sex addiction therapist at a sex addiction treatment center in Los Angeles, CA, you’ll learn the tools you need to reduce the possibility of a relapse. One effective relapse prevention method is to develop strong coping skills for stress. Talk to your outpatient sex therapist about your stressors and your typical responses to stress. He or she can help you develop healthy strategies of managing your stress without relapsing.
Your outpatient sex addiction therapist can also guide you in developing new lifestyle habits. This is because environmental cues can often trigger a relapse. It will be necessary for you to eliminate temptation by refraining from patronizing nightclubs, bars, and certain websites. Instead, fill your time with healthy activities that are fulfilling for you, such as volunteer work, new hobbies, exercise, meditaiton or furthering your education. Remember that if you do find yourself slipping into your old habits again, you can always call the sex addiction treatment center for help getting back on track.
The entire team at Sano Center for Recovery is dedicated to helping individuals and couples overcome problems through personalized sex addiction therapy. At our sex addiction treatment center in Los Angeles, CA, one of the people you may encounter is our Executive Director Darrin Ford, M.A., LMFT, CSAT. When you watch this video, you’ll meet Darrin and get to know his motivation for becoming a sex addiction therapist.
Darrin explains that he has been personally affected by addiction. This gives him a unique understanding of the complex issues that affect people who are going through sex addiction rehab. Darrin also explains what sets Sano Center for Recovery apart from other outpatient rehabs. The personalized treatment recommendations and the outpatient model of care help individuals learn to live life well, free of destructive tendencies.
Love addiction and sex addiction are often confused, when in fact, there are a number of important differences between the two problems. A person might receive sex addiction counseling in Los Angeles because he or she is compulsively unfaithful and completely preoccupied with sex and self-gratification. By contrast, a person might go to rehab for love addiction treatment if he or she cannot sustain healthy relationships with other people. These are some of the most common characteristics of love addiction:
Being Addicted to Euphoria
When two people who are attracted to each other first meet, they experience a surge of neurochemicals that raise excitement and enhance mood. Love addicts may become hooked on this feeling of euphoria, and they may seek to replicate it over and over again. This means that they may repeatedly seek out new romances and become incapable of pursuing more lasting relationships with other people.
Having Poor Self-Esteem
People who have love addiction often have an extremely low opinion of themselves. This lack of self-worth may manifest itself in a number of ways. Love addicts may feel empty and unfulfilled when they are not in a relationship, which may lead them to stay in unhealthy relationships or to become excessively emotionally dependent on their partners. They may also feel completely despondent when their relationships end, and may even consider suicide.
Becoming Obsessed with a Relationship
A person who is addicted to love may find it difficult to control their emotions toward another person, particularly if they are in a relationship with that person. They may act in a way that others perceive as overly needy or smothering, or they may feel jealous whenever their partner interacts with anyone else.
Indulging in Compulsive Sexual Behavior
Like sex addicts, love addicts may have difficulty controlling their sexual behavior, and may not be able to maintain appropriate boundaries. They may confuse sexual attraction to another person for genuine love, or they may have trouble maintaining platonic friendships with other people. They may also pursue sex as a means of feeling better about themselves.