As with any kind of addiction, people who have gone through sex addiction therapy and entered recovery remain vulnerable to relapses. Relapsing is often a part of the recovery process and does not mean that your sex addiction rehab program in Los Angeles, CA , has failed or that you cannot re-enter recovery. You can reduce your risk of relapsing by understanding the triggers and having a plan to cope with them when they arise. During sex addiction treatment, your therapist will work with you on building strategies to cope with the triggers you will inevitably face during recovery, including these common ones.
Physical and Emotional Stress
Many people with sex addictions used those behaviors to cope with stress, and when indulging the addiction is no longer possible, finding a new way to deal with stress is crucial. Physical stressors, such as not getting enough sleep and not eating right, can leave you feeling unhealthy and looking for something to make you feel better in the way that addictive behaviors may have in the past. Emotional stress, including pressure at work and strains in personal relationships, can tempt people with past sex addictions to turn to damaging behaviors. Having a plan for dealing with stress and using it can keep these feelings under control.
Although feeling confident in your recovery is important, feeling so secure that you stop taking the necessary steps to keep your addiction under control could trigger a relapse. During recovery, some people become so sure of their success that they stop meeting with their therapists or attending group counseling sessions, which could leave the unequipped to deal with other triggers when they arise.
Most people think of the stress of negative events when they think of relapse triggers, but happy occasions can also lead to a relapse. In some cases, the act of celebrating the event is the trigger for relapse. In other cases, positive events, such as marriage or the birth of a child, can also be overwhelming and lead to a relapse.
When are sexual behaviors considered healthy, and when do they fall into the category of sexual addiction? It can be difficult to recognize the signs of sexual addiction and to decide when to seek help. If you are engaging in any of these behaviors or believe that a loved one is, consider seeking advice from a sex addiction therapist in Los Angeles, CA . A certified sex addiction therapist can help you understand what behaviors could be unhealthy and how to cope with sex addiction.
Habitual masturbation is not easy to define by a specific number of incidents. Rather, it is a compulsion to masturbate, often multiple times per day, even in situations in which it is inappropriate to do so. Some people with sex addictions masturbate at work, in their cars, and in other places where getting caught could have serious consequences. The need to masturbate may dominate the life of someone with a sex addiction, and they may choose to masturbate instead of engaging in other activities or meeting responsibilities.
Pornography plays a central role in many cases of sexual addiction. The ease of access of internet pornography in particular has lead to addictive behaviors for a large number of people. People who are obsessed with pornography will devote large amounts of time to seeking it out, to the exclusion of other activities, and will watch it despite any negative consequences that could occur. Teaching people to overcome pornography addictions is frequently a part of sex addiction rehab.
Although many people have multiple sex partners, people with sex addictions habitually seek out new partners and frequently engage in anonymous sex. People with sex addictions who are in relationships cheat compulsively and may hire prostitutes or otherwise engage in risky sexual behavior that does not involve their partners. Sex addiction also leads people to have sexual relationships and choose sexual partners that are inappropriate for personal, professional, or even legal reasons. In extreme cases, sexual addicts may turn to stalking, molestation, and other forms of sexual aggression.
Although pornography has long been available to those who seek it out, the internet has opened up a whole new way of accessing and consuming porn. Now, an unprecedented level of porn is online and just a few clicks away for free, which has caused many people to develop an addiction to pornography and also a related sex addiction. If you are worried about your relationship with porn, a porn addiction center in Los Angeles, CA , may be able to help.
Porn addiction occurs when a person habitually views an excessive amount of pornography, even when it is negatively impacting their lives. Thanks to the internet, people with a compulsion to view porn have nearly constant access to it. The need to view porn can become overwhelming, and people may begin to use the internet to access porn at increasingly inappropriate times and to the exclusive of maintaining their responsibilities. Fortunately, a porn addiction center can help people develop the skills necessary to resist their urges to watch pornography and to engage in other risky sexual behavior. Porn addiction treatment is frequently part of sex addiction rehab programs.
Sex addiction is a compulsion that is equivalent to drug and alcohol addiction, and just as people with those addictive behaviors require treatment, sex addiction rehab is an essential part of recovery for a sex addict. Watch this video to hear one couple’s experience with this kind of addiction and why seeking a sex addiction treatment center in Los Angeles, CA , is so important if you’re struggling with a sex compulsion.
As the video demonstrates, sex addiction can happen to anyone, regardless of religion or walk of life. Sex addiction therapy helps sufferers and their loved ones understand the root causes of their behaviors and identify contributing factors, including internet pornography. Sex addiction rehab gives addicts the tools to enter recovery and rebuild their relationships in a healthy way.
On the road to recovery, one of the most difficult obstacles is breaking the news to your partner that you have a porn addiction. But recovery does not occur in a vacuum and this is a necessary step toward true healing and rebuilding your relationship. At a porn addiction center in Los Angeles, CA , both you and your partner can find guidance from a relationship therapist.
Seek advice from your relationship therapist.
Discussing your porn addiction with your partner isn’t going to be easy, but your relationship therapist can help. He or she can guide you in finding an honest way to share the news that does not inflict further damage on your relationship. Your relationship therapist will likely suggest that you find the right time to sit down with your partner. Ideally, you should discuss your addiction when both of you have plenty of time and when other emotional situations aren’t clouding the issue.
Prepare yourself for your partner’s response.
There is no way to truly know in advance how your partner will respond to the news, but many people react with anger. This may be true even if your partner has had suspicions about your behaviors. He or she may have found suspicious charges on the credit card statement, for example, or detected your browsing history on the Internet. Yet, hearing that a loved one does indeed have an addiction to pornography can still come as a shock. Your partner may feel betrayed, hurt, and jealous. It is to be expected that these feelings will continue for a long time; do not try to rush your partner to “get over it.”
Avoid minimizing your behavior.
When a person must confess something to a partner, it is often tempting for that individual to attempt to justify or minimize his or her behavior. He or she might point out how the situation could have been worse. The individual might even suggest that the partner could somehow be to blame, such as by not being as attentive or amorous. However, sharing the news of a porn addiction is a time to accept full responsibility for your behavior and to acknowledge your faults. Only then can the two of you begin to work toward healing.
The destructive nature of all types of addictions affects many other people in addition to the addict. This is certainly true of sex addiction, in which the partner of the sex addict is likely to feel betrayed. Some partners might even wonder if they somehow could have prevented the infidelity. At a sex addiction rehab center in Los Angeles, CA, couples can seek help from a relationship therapist. During sessions with the relationship therapist, the partner or spouse of the addict may find some comfort in learning about the nature of addiction and discovering that the addict’s behaviors are not the fault of the partner or spouse.
It can feel empowering for both partners to be involved with the sex addiction program. Couple’s counseling is an opportunity to explore the path toward healing and take a renewed look at the relationship to evaluate whether it might be repaired. During couple’s counseling, both partners can discuss problems and conflicts in a constructive, compassionate way.
Today, it’s well understood that addiction is a real problem that is not caused by the lack of willpower. An alcoholic may try to cut down on his or her drinking without success. A heroin addict may want to get sober, yet suffer an overdose the next day. Despite the progress society has made toward removing the stigma of these types of addictions, there is still a great deal of controversy and many misunderstandings surrounding the nature of sex addictions. The reality of sex addiction is that it’s a real problem that an individual or couple needs professional guidance to overcome. If you’ve been affected by sex addiction, you should know that help is available at a sex addiction treatment center in Los Angeles, CA. You can speak with a sex addiction therapist about your concerns.
Understanding the Nature of Addiction
Like all addictions, sex addiction is a complex issue. Addiction essentially hijacks the brain, causing the loss of self-control and powerful cravings for the object of addiction. Within the brain, all sources of pleasure are interpreted in the same manner. When a pleasurable activity is perceived, the brain releases the neurotransmitter dopamine into the cluster of nerve cells below the cerebral cortex. This cluster is called the nucleus accumbens and it is also referred to as the brain’s pleasure center. Another region of the brain, the hippocampus, establishes the memory of the rush of satisfactory feelings associated with the pleasurable event. In turn, the amygdala establishes a conditioned response to the pleasurable stimuli. These processes set the stage for addictive behaviors.
Pursuing Behaviors Despite Negative Consequences
Individuals who suffer from sex addiction continue to pursue sexual encounters, solicit prostitutes, and view pornography despite the threat or the actuality of negative consequences. They may want to stop, but find themselves unable to do so. Before seeking sex addiction treatment, many individuals experience multiple negative consequences of their addiction such as marital strain or divorce, sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), financial problems, job loss, or the loss of child custody. Ideally, individuals in these situations would seek outpatient sex addiction counseling before experiencing these problems.
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.