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I Get It! Do You?

Where are the individuals who have stood six feet from the edge and thought…maybe six feet ain’t so far down? Who has experienced the stench from the sulfurs of hell? Who has witnessed the loss of a loved one who’s health silently deteriorated to unconsciousness and death. Addiction shows no mercy and will never let up given a choice. To addictions I have lost my father, my mother, and most recently an incredibly wounded and vibrant young mother of a 9 year old daughter in foster care who will never get to know her mother whose battle with chaos was lost in the solitude of addiction.
 
Addiction kills. Even worse, addiction mames, destroys, divides, and conquers. If you are reading this you have not taken your addiction as seriously as you need to. My life has been forever altered due to the subtleties of addiction in my family of origin. If my problematic behaviours had not been alcohol, marijuana, stealing or pornography…they could just as easily have been gambling, sex, narcotics, or violence. I need to do conscious battle with addiction within myself and the clients I serve on a daily basis. Please want to live…please need to live…desire the peace which surpasses all understanding within the conscious contact with a sober mind.
 
I choose to do this work in addictions because it provides me with focus. I serve my Master in the battlefield of human suffering (soul, spirit, body, and mind). I would not want to be doing this battle alone or with another individual who was less aware of the enemy that we face from all fronts. A client is the best of allies when we face the common enemy. Your recovery is vital towards my own recovery. Fear not for I, to, am in this battle to the end.
 

Dawn of Innocence

The place of beginnings is innocence. The traditional way of being is to shift. Such a change may be freely chosen or imposed...it often involves a change in circumstance in one's personal life such as marriage, divorce, illness, or a death of someone close to the individual. The demand for change may come from what Joseph Campbell termed "a call." Could this recovery journey you now find yourself on be the result of a calling...a call to truthfulness, genuineness, and rigorous honesty? You must write this chapter of your story. Let us help you.
 
excerpts from Ginger Grant's Re-visioning The Way We Work

Treatment of offence and addiction

How is treatment different for the sex offender versus the sex addict?
 
Treatment for the sex offender is vastly different. Most Certified Sex Addiction Therapists have not received training in the specialized treatment of sex offenders. Sex offender behaviours, in addition to causing significant harms on victims, have severe legal consequences. A sex offender’s treatment involves deliberate, consistent, confrontational interventions on the part of the provider to break through harmful and resilient patterns of thoughts and behaviours which have become highly resistant to correction. Lack of self-awareness, insight, and conscience are typical characteristics of individuals classified as a sex offender.
 
Sex addiction therapists are trained to assess for the origins of historical sexual trauma in the individual resulting in conscionable and yet unwanted thoughts and behaviours in the present individuated self of the client. Treatment for the sex addict involves long-term (3 to 5 year) therapeutic interventions utilizing assessment, neurocognitive rehabilitation, and extensive inventory of destructive patterns of thoughts and behaviours through cognitive behavioural processing and restructuring.  Capacity or readiness for self-awareness, insight, and conscience are often characteristic of individuals classified as a sex addict.
 

Offender or Addict?

The question has recently been asked “What is the difference between sex addiction and sex offending?”
 
Sex offending is the methodical, unconscionable, intentional, or deliberate conveyance of behaviours from one person (perpetrator) upon another person (victim), animal, or object so as to violate social, legal, & cultural norms; an individual’s right to individuation and sexuality; and basic instinctive values. The acts or behaviours potentiate negative outcomes for the victim, perpetrator, family, and society.
 
Sex addiction often involves consensual and conscionable acting out behaviours. The outcomes of the behaviours are negative and are typically the byproduct of chronic and developmental neuronal brain changes resulting in characteristic impulsivity, restlessness, mood & personality changes, somatization disorders, significant losses in major life areas, including trauma response in the family members.
 

What if he just doesn't get it?

I have been trying so hard to communicate with my spouse but he remains unable to find his feelings. What can I do?
 
A common situation such as this does not have an easy solution. What you are observing guardedly within his recovery is probably the best he can give with his limited vocabulary of his feelings. Remember that he probably has more field time from his family of origin than he does his relationship with you. The best you can do is set the bar high for your expectations of his change. Change is very possible and very real. The most enduring change comes from his consistent, regular, and supported therapeutic work with his therapist. Decide how much you need to be involved and how much you need to step back and trust in the process. His surrender to his powerlessness and unmanageability cannot occur until your own surrender allows you to step out of the way of his needed change. You have my support and that of many trained CSAT specialists who have the interests of a renewed relationship as part of a long-term recovery plan.

Ode To Denial

When your blood pressure reached 240 over 180 your doctor warned you of an impending stroke or heart attack. Your first ischemic event had you put your head through the plaster wall upon exiting the bathtub. Your second ischemic event found you lieing face down in your lush garden regaining your consciousness after some time. You had several more secret events before we forcibly called an ambulance. We even had a hard time convincing the paramedics that you were having a stroke. We watched you in emergency as you walked outside every 15 minutes to have your final smoke. These were not your final cigarettes but marked the beginning of your recovery from a severe right hemisphere stroke.
 
Your next 6 years proved extremely discouraging to you as your progress continued to be hampered by your incessant use of alcohol and tobacco. You remained physically handicapped on your left side even though your initial recovery was near 90 percent until you resumed you alcohol and tobacco use - your deterioration returned rapidly and mercilessly. You continued to subject your family to discouragement and heartbreak as you carried on your compulsive and obsessive surrender to your addictions. The voice of reason and rigorous honesty remained hidden by the flat affect of your denial. Your denial then had you refusing to address the chaos of your gangrenous gallbladder which burst inside you and had you revived from death. You survived just 13 more days with the secret of your impending death. Your four sons and two sisters were not aware that you were mustering the courage for your own death. You sat with the secret of your sickness right up until you death. Denial would not let go and you had not the courage and constitution needed to face your fears and turn from your enemy denial.
 
Ultimately mom, your death marked the end of the spell of denial which had a hold on you for all of my life. I miss you and cherish those few memories where denial had no obligation to the moment. Denial remains a significant part of my son's life and I will not give up the fight for rationality and courage, for hope and transformation. Your transformation occurred after your death outside of the celebration of a new life which awaits the living. True transformation will occur either while we live or upon our death.

Tormented by thoughts

How does one win the battle with obtrusive or obsessive thoughts which are even too difficult to talk about?
 
The solution will not be found in attempting to resist the thoughts. Remember, what we resist...persists. The solution can be found in a complete acceptance of what we are experiencing - just thoughts. Once we accept the reality that we have the capacity for all manner of thoughts including the unspeakable thoughts which have tormented us in this final battle leading up to this breaking point...only then can we move forward. Every thought is permissible but not every thought is beneficial...every thought is permissible but not every thought is constructive.
 
This happens to be a quote from the Bible (1 Cor 10:23) which has great application to the struggle which an individual dealing with compulsive sexual fantasy and behaviour may be dealing with. Our freedom costs us the price of complete acceptance. By naming our thoughts and sharing them with another most trusted individual (therapist, priest, pastor, Imam, Rabbi, or sponsor) - one is accepting ownership for the totality of the thought. Like tieing a horse to a hitching post - confession allows us to fasten our thoughts to a secure position and pursue our journey under our full steam one step at a time - the horse does not cease to exist. No longer are we attached to the horse (the obsessive thoughts), and we can exist separately from our thoughts because the thoughts are now being held captive. 
 
Please let me know if this helps you gain some freedom.
 
 
 

A Challenge to You

I just want to take this time to challenge you to follow-up your expressed interest in taking on your addictive or compulsive behaviour and make that first call to your therapist. Each of us are well-versed in the extreme difficulties in getting started. We wait for you to make that all important first step - we cannot do it for you. An understanding and compassionate heart are awaiting you in the safety of the therapeutic hour. You can be assured of a non-judgemental and listening ear. Your secrets remain your own and will be discussed further with your expressed consent and only at the most appropriate time. 

Momentum and treatment failure

An all too common occurrence with specialized therapy for sexual addictions is the premature disconnection from therapy and the therapist after significant progress is made. I cannot stress enough, the number of clients I have seen over the years who have taken back control of their compulsions or addictions early in their recovery only to find their collateral supports were not yet ready to receive the changes. It is actually unrealistic for the person with addictions to expect that gains made within the first year are enough to sustain a recovery into the second year.This recovery journey is serious stuff that is not achieved with wishful thinking – remember where that wishful thinking got you in the first place. The time for resiliency building is during this phase and the therapeutic relationship remains the evidence-based treatment of choice and success for the vast majority of clients.  
 

Bloughts

I really want my partner to change and don't know how much to get involved. How much should I involve myself in his/her transformation?
 
If you think of the stages of the butterfly, the beautiful butterfly had to get through the stages of pupa and chrysalis before it could be coaxed out of it's cocoon and become one with its environment. To aid a pupa by removing its cocoon prematurely would result in its ultimate death. The pupa must struggle and toil on its own before it has developed the capacity and timing to free itself from the binds of the environment it was a slave to. 
 
Express your expectations to your partner for what you desire in your developed butterfly but, above all else, give your butterfly the space to find itself and experience that freedom lost if we were to have intervened before it found its capacity resulting in its destruction.
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