What is sex and love addiction?
Sex addicts lack the ability to control or postpone sexual feelings and actions, with the need for arousal often replacing the need for intimacy. Eventually, thrill seeking becomes more important in sex and love addiction than family, career, even personal health and safety.
The sex addict follows a routine or ritual leading to acting out on desires, and is then fraught by feelings of denial then shame, despair, and confusion. Sex and love addiction aims at restoring balance to people lives. It involves removing distortions of the mind that are created to avoid pain of trauma and other emotional issues. Importantly sex and love addiction treatment may have many different faces to it like prostitution, pornography addiction and so on. Underneath it all the issues however remain the same. People suffering from sex and love addiction can’t, don’t realize, or don’t know better ways to handle their emotional needs. SLA as sex and love addiction is often called is often referred to as intimacy disorder for this very reason.
As we use the Twelve Steps of S.L.A.A. in our recovery, many of us experience higher levels of self-esteem, and receive unexpected blessings we would not have know how to ask for. Chapter Four of our basic text, Sex and Love Addicts Anonymous, sums up the spiritual process:
The effectiveness of our efforts to help others would be directly related to the level of our own “spiritual awakening” which preceded these efforts. This spiritual awakening was itself the product of having hit bottom and surrendered, having acquired a faith, having accomplished a practical examination of our past and our character, having developed a deepening relationship with God, having accepted responsibility for the impact our sex and love addiction had on others, becoming aware of problem areas in our lives and resolving to deal with these constructively, making amends, and reaching into the spiritual domain through regular prayer and meditation to place ourselves in closer communion with the source of guidance and grace.
Through this process we start to experience the unexpected.
The Twelve Steps of Sex and Love addiction (SLA)
- We admitted we were powerless over sex and love addiction – and that our lives had become unmanageable.
- Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
- Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood God.
- Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.
- Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.
- Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.
- Humbly asked God to remove our shortcomings.
- Made a list of all persons we had harmed and became willing to make amends to them all.
- Made direct amend to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.
- Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.
- Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with a Power greater than ourselves, praying only for knowledge of God’s will for us and the power to carry that out.
- Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to sex and love addicts and to practice these principles in all areas of our lives.
The following are characteristics of sex and love addiction.
- Having few healthy boundaries, we become sexually involved with and/or emotionally attached to people without knowing them.
- Fearing abandonment and loneliness, we stay in and return to painful, destructive relationships, concealing our dependency needs from ourselves and others, growing more isolated and alienated from friends and loved ones, ourselves, and God.
- Fearing emotional and/or sexual deprivation, we compulsively pursue and involve ourselves in one relationship after another, sometimes having more than one sexual or emotional liaison at a time.
- We confuse love with neediness, physical and sexual attraction, pity and/or the need to rescue or be rescued.
- We feel empty and incomplete when we are alone. Even though we fear intimacy and commitment, we continually search for relationships and sexual contacts.
- We sexualize stress, guilt, loneliness, anger, shame, fear and envy. We use sex or emotional dependence as substitutes for nurturing, care, and support.
- We use sex and emotional involvement to manipulate and control others.
- We become immobilized or seriously distracted by romantic or sexual obsessions or fantasies.
- We avoid responsibility for ourselves by attaching ourselves to people who are emotionally unavailable.
- We stay enslaved to emotional dependency, romantic intrigue, or compulsive sexual activities.
- To avoid feeling vulnerable, we may retreat from all intimate involvement, mistaking sexual and emotional anorexia for recovery.
- We assign magical qualities to others. We idealize and pursue them, then blame them for not fulfilling our fantasies and expectations.
For help with Sex and love addiction please get in touch with us today. We are here to assist you were we can.