Sunday, March 8, 2009

Sex and Love Addiction, Part 3

Recovery is living fully within yourself one moment at a time. Recovery is accepting the reality of who you are, what you have done, and shrugging off shame in order to make this present moment one that restores you to health. Recovery is moving forward and letting go of the past. If you have survived withdrawal, congratulations. Welcome to your new life.

Living in recovery is not the happy-go-lucky, joyful, and easy life that we believed it would be. It is a lot of work re-parenting ourselves to be responsible and honest. In the beginning it requires a conscious effort to actually care for ourselves the way we should be cared for. This includes avoidance of toxic people and places. Caring for ourselves involves eating healthy, getting regular exercise, and always doing the next right thing. Most of all caring for ourselves means that our inner self-talk is loving, forgiving, and always encouraging to self. Most recovering addicts that I have worked with are their own worst enemies. They internally beat themselves up and require way too much from themselves emotionally and physically. When they are unable to meet their own exacting standards, they insult and kick themselves while they are down. It requires great effort to be able to say to yourself everyday, "I am doing a good job of learning how to live. I am worthy of this recovery. I am a good person." I find that those who laugh at these kinds of statements are often the people who do not believe them and, therefore, find them ridiculous to say. Even if you don't believe it, say it anyway. Fake it till you make it.

The original founders of Alcoholics Anonymous divinely argued that addiction is a spiritual deficiency. I finally get how this is true. We are created to be intimately connected with a power greater than ourselves. When that connection is damaged or non-existent, we suffer spiritually. This suffering is very painful and can drive people to substances and behaviors that "fill the void." If you have a fear of intimacy (the core of sex and love addiction), know that you will have the same fear of intimacy with a Higher Power. No one is to be trusted-- not even God! As you progressed in your disease, getting sicker and sicker, you finally reached a point where you knew you could never get yourself well on your own. You recognized you had no control over your sickness and your own diseased mind was incapable of healing your own diseased mind! In recovery we have no other option but to believe that there is a power greater than ourselves who CAN restore us to sanity. So, even though you did not initially trust God, you found yourself in a place where you had to.

I have been very encouraged by the many people who have come here seeking some help in their sex and love addiction. If I can offer you nothing else, let me offer this-- there is healing and recovery from your addiction. You do not have to suffer in the cycle of acting out and shame for the rest of your life. There is a Higher Power who is able to sustain you and who has a storehouse of unending medicines just for what ails you. You have to do your part, which is making that conscious effort to seek your Higher Power and connect with it every day. Now that you are past withdrawal, you are learning to walk out your life one day at a time. The support of others in recovery and the supernatural power from God will sustain you in recovery.

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