Where Do You Go From Here?
In working through these Practices, you’ve done some hard work in honestly confronting how addiction has been at work in your life.
You’ve taken steps to move out of isolation and assemble support. You’ve begun to put into practice the program of the Twelve Steps. You’ve now got in place safeguards, new boundaries and patterns for taking better care of yourself.
You’ve identified the things that can derail your well being and take you backwards. You’ve learned about counseling and professional help, developed ways to deepen your spirituality and know what you need to read to keep traveling this path of healing, recovery and integration you are on.
None of this has been easy. You will encounter interior resistance to making changes in your behaviors. If you’ve become deeply compulsive in your behaviors, you may have experienced some feelings of withdrawal like restlessness, difficulty sleeping and irritability. These reactions are normal. They’re part of the process of resetting your brain and your life.
It may be that you find you still have difficulty living a different way, that sobriety is still eluding you.
There are several reasons that we may find we aren’t becoming sober. These are important to face. Think about the following.
It may be that we need to do a more thorough housecleaning, a deeper process of coming to terms with our powerlessness and unmanageability and facing everything we’ve engaged in sexually.
Perhaps you need a much more structured life of recovery. In these Practices we’ve laid out a lot of sound patterns, but there is more material in recovery literature, such as Dr. Patrick Carnes’ workbooks Facing the Shadow, the Recovery Zone or A Gentle Path through the Twelve Steps.
It also may be that we need a deeper level of therapy and/or treatment. For many of us, this is the case. Do not be afraid. You’ve started something good. Keep on. If the right counseling, outpatient or inpatient treatment is what you need to be free of compulsive sexual behaviors, please do whatever it takes to use these valuable tools. You will be very grateful you did.
It may also be that there is untreated trauma in your life, possibly in your earlier years, and you’re not fully aware of it or able to face it. Here it’s absolutely essential you find the right therapeutic help. Not all counselors are trained in dealing with trauma. You need someone who is and can utilize one or more of the wonderful emerging therapies for trauma, like EMDR, Somatic Engineering and Brainspotting.
Maybe you’ve noticed I talk a lot about integration. What do I mean by that?
I think an integrated life is one in which you are learning to weave together your thoughts, feelings and actions with your principles and spirituality in an increasingly cohesive way so that when you look back you feel good about the life you have lived.
Look back over the things you’ve written down as you’ve worked through these Practices. Where are the areas you’ll need to come back and review? Make plans in your schedule to do that. What are your next steps to take?
Who is in your supportive community? What are you doing and will you continue to do to grow your relationship with those folks and involve others in your recovery as well as theirs?
Pay attention to your spiritual life. Make time for reading, for reflection and for journaling.
And, this is very important, continually look for ways to pass on to others the experiences of hope and healing that are becoming part of your life. This is essential! We have to give away what we’re getting if we hope to keep it. This is a recovery principle and also a spiritual principle.
You must be careful about your anonymity, I understand that. But there are ways to send people links to this website (LivingIntegrated) or recommend Ashamed No More and other books you’re discovering, and still maintain enough distance. Find ways to pass on what you’ve been given.
You want to live a truly healthy, useful and loving life. To make the changes and live the life you want to have, you will need to keep learning. Reading recovery literature will continue your ongoing education about yourself, about others and about how life works.
Please develop a personal commitment and plan to regularly reading recovery literature. This is essential to refreshing your mind, to challenging complacency and to learning more. We need to become life-long learners about our challenge and how to live the best possible life.
Reading recovery literature is an essential supplement to your other work. It keeps your mind engaged with the stories, experiences and insights of others. It keeps you from atrophying in your mental acuity. It keeps you from lazily drifting backwards into sloppy, false and selfish thinking. It will give you new ideas. It will encourage you in the journey of living a life truly worth living.
We live in an age where there is much being written about recovery. Like every area of human endeavor, some of the material is better resourced and better written that other material. I’ve listed below a few books I think are particularly useful.
You’ve begun a life-long pilgrimage. Commit to developing and protecting this new life.
If you’ve found something good here, ask yourself how you can pass it on to others.
May our Loving Creator be with you, guide you and bless you.
Some strongly recommended reading:
- Alcoholics Anonymous World Services: Alcoholics Anonymous
- Alcoholics Anonymous World Services: Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions
- Anonymous, Answers in the Heart, Daily Meditations for Men and Women recovery from Sex Addiction, Hazelden, 1989
- Anonymous, Hope and Recovery, A Twelve Step guide for healing from Compulsive Sexual Behavior, Hazelden, 1989
- Anonymous, Sex and Love Addicts Anonymous, SLAA conference approved literature, Augustine Fellowship, 1987
- Anonymous, Sexaholics Anonymous. Simi Valley, Calif.: SA Literature, 1989, aka “the white book” this is slightly dated but a classic
- Carnes, Patrick. Out of the Shadows. Center City, MN: Hazelden, 2001.
- Carnes, Patrick. Don’t Call It Love. New York: Bantam, 1991.
- Carnes, Patrick. Facing the Shadow. Carefree, AZ: Gentle Path Press, 2015.
- Carnes, Patrick. The Recovery Zone. Carefree, AZ: Gentle Path Press, 2009
- Cusick, Michael John. Surfing For God. Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson, 2012.
- Ferree, Marnie C., No Stones, Women Redeemed from Sexual Addiction
- Laaser, Mark. Healing the Wounds of Sexual Addiction. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2004.
- Larkin, Nate. Samson and the Pirate Monks. Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson, 2006.
- May, Gerald, Addiction and Grace, San Francisco: Harper & Row, 1988
- Rohr, Richard, Breathing Under Water: Spirituality and the Twelve Steps, Cincinnati: St. Anthony Messenger Press, 2011
- Ryan, T. C. Ashamed No More. Downer’s Grove, Ill.: InterVarsity Press, 2012.
- Struthers, William. Wired for Intimacy. Downer’s Grove, Ill.: InterVarsity Press, 2009.
- Weiss, Robert. Sex Addiction 101. Deerfield Beach, FL: Health Communications, Inc., 2015
- Weiss, Robert. Sex Addiction 101: The Workbook. Telemachus Press, LLC, 2016
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