4810 Nicollet Ave. S.
Minneapolis, MN, 55419

651-485-1151

Life Love Healing Wellness Center works with individuals, couples and families in the Minneapolis, MN area including these counseling service areas: couples counseling, love addiction, sex addiction, codependency, Enneagram, healthy relationships, other addictions and more. 

Resources

Praesent commodo cursus magna, vel scelerisque nisl consectetur et. Curabitur blandit tempus porttitor. Fusce dapibus, tellus ac cursus commodo, tortor mauris condimentum nibh, ut fermentum massa justo sit amet risus. Cras mattis consectetur purus sit amet fermentum. Cras mattis consectetur purus sit amet fermentum.

Filtering by Category: sexual addiction

Recovery from Love Addiction and Codependency

leslie root

Without painful consequences for our dysfunctional behaviors recovery doesn’t usually occur. While we may want recovery generally speaking we have to be in enough pain to be wiling to do something about it. The first year of recovery is a dichotomy for many of us. It includes feelings of joy for being out of our addictive cycle, while at times, feeling worse.

1.    Recovery is not a program of “I”.

a.     The biggest mistake I see people make in early recovery is falling into the belief that they can do this alone. The truth is you can’t, and if you could, you would have by now. My clients are intelligent, successful people who have moved mountains in other areas in their lives, they have million dollar businesses, they do iron man’s, they create loving environments for their families while ignoring their own needs. If you could have fixed this by now you would have, and you do not have the answer to this problem. It is only through reaching out and engaging with others in recovery that we get release. Peace in recovery is not a solo act, the cravings show up, the desire to act out arises and your best tool is generally the telephone. Find 3 people who have what you want and start texting them, ask them to coffee, call them.

1.    You never get “recovered”

a.     When people come to me and say, “I’ve done my therapy” I want to wince. Similar to a personal trainer, if you stop exercising your body you lose your endurance and muscle. If you stop loving and working on yourself, you digress. Therapy done years ago, while helpful, does not equal a healthy emotional life in the present moment. Working a program means just that, you stay in touch with a power greater than yourself, and you know if you stop doing so that your life and relationships digress.

1.    The problem always starts with addressing our own issues.

a.     Many clients firmly believe the problem is with their partner. They will convince friends, family, lovers, and therapists that their partner is really the person to blame. The problem with this strategy is that it is not true. The problem always starts at home. You cannot change, mold or sculpt your partner into the person you believe you want them to be, even if you could you would still be unhappy. The real power is in our own changes, the problem does not reside with the world around us, it resides in our own inability to accept life on life’s terms.

1.    If you are still struggling get a bigger problem.

a.     This is arguably the best advice my sponsor ever gave me. My problems only seem large when I ask the wrong questions. Getting a bigger problem, generally for me means helping others, it is my ticket and your ticket to freedom. When we sit in our own feces our lives stink. Getting into action provides us with an outlet to get us outside of ourselves and our obsessive thinking. It allows us to see the world differently and see how we might be of service to others.

Signs of Love Addiction

leslie root

Characteristics of Sex and Love Addiction (a partial list)

  1. Having few healthy boundaries, we become sexually involved with and/or emotionally attached to people without knowing them.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. We confuse love with neediness, physical and sexual attraction, pity and/or the need to rescue or being rescued.
  5. We feel empty and incomplete when we are alone.  Even though we fear intimacy and commitment, we continually search for relationships and sexual contacts.
  6. We sexualize stress, guilt, loneliness, anger, shame, fear and envy.  We use sex or emotional dependence as substitutes for nurturing, care, and support.
  7. We use sex and emotional involvement to manipulate and control others.
  8. We become immobilized or seriously distracted by romantic or sexual obsessions or fantasies.
  9. We avoid responsibility for ourselves by attaching ourselves to people who are emotionally unavailable.
  10. We stay enslaved to emotional dependency, romantic intrigue, or compulsive sexual activities.
  11. To avoid feeling vulnerable, we may retreat from all intimate involvement, mistaking sexual and emotional anorexia for recovery.
  12. We assign magical qualities to others. We idealize and pursue them, then blame them for not fulfilling our fantasies and expectations.
  13.  

Cycle of Love Addiction

leslie root

The Love Addicts Attraction to what is familiar:

We are taught how to have intimacy and attachment by our family, specifically our primary caregivers; mom and dad. How our parents relate to us, our siblings, and each other, becomes very familiar to us as children. It creates a template for future relationships and intimacy. As we grow up and look for our own partner we are attracted, unconsciously or consciously to what we know and are familiar with.

Most of us did not get all the things we need when we needed them, many of us had large gaps in intimacy, relatedness, and very little guidance on how to identify our needs and find healthy ways to get them met. As a result of family of origin teachings, we learned to be quiet, alone, needless or wantless. By doing so we were rewarded. We were not told we were not a bother by our parents, and as a result of such conditioning we later unconsciously attract people with similar unconscious patterns of disconnected attachment.

The people we are attracted to usually are involved in one or more addictions. They may appear on the outside to take care of themselves because the are so “busy” and “intense”. In reality we choose the very people who don’t have the time or desire to provide us with healthy connections, those who do not prioritize the relationship over outside addictions such as work, alcohol, busyness, gambling, sex etc.

Abandonment in childhood by early caregivers in many forms fuels the message for love addicts that they are not worth being with. As a result love addicts find people who are walking away from them as very attractive. Attempts to resolve the issue of self-esteem are played out in relationship with the hope that what we could not solve as children-making the abandoning person connect with us - can now be achieved. We can finally balance the ledger and restore our own sense of preciousness, of worthiness by fixing what could not be fixed in our childhood.

The Way Out

Love addiction, like other addictions, does not have a “quick fix” we do not get better before we thoroughly examine our lives, our relationships and our realities. Boundaries are blurred, self-esteem is non-existent and acknowledging our needs and wants becomes almost impossible. We are sick, and powerless to improve our lives without the support and help of others. I have yet to see an addict recover on their own, we heal through experiences with others. The support of a therapist, 12-step groups and personal recovery planning are needed to successfully incorporate healthy love into our lives. Reprogramming our experience of relationships is necessary to have fulfilling, authentic love in our lives. 

Sexual Addiction Screening Test

leslie root

  1. Were you sexually abused as a child or adolescent?
  2. Have you regularly subscribed to or regularly purchased sexually explicit materials?
  3. Did either of your parents have trouble with sexual behavior (repress or act inappropriate)?
  4. Do you often find yourself being preoccupied with sexual thoughts?
  5. Do you (ever) feel that your sexual behavior is inappropriate?
  6. Does your spouse or significant other ever worry or complain about your sexual behavior?
  7. Do you have trouble stopping your sexual behavior when you know it is inappropriate?
  8. Do you ever feel bad (shameful or guilty) about your sexual behavior (and then rationalize it)?
  9. Has your sexual behavior ever created problems for you or your family (physically, emotionally, mentally, financially, spiritually)?
  10. Have you ever sought help for sexual behavior you did not like or caused problems?
  11. Have you ever worried about people finding out about your sexual activities?
  12. Has anyone (ever) been hurt emotionally because of your sexual behavior?
  13. Are any of your sexual activities against the law?
  14. Have you made promises to yourself to quit some aspect of your sexual behavior?
  15. Have you made efforts to quit a type of sexual behavior and failed?
  16. Do you hide (or have you ever hidden) some aspects of your sexual behavior from others?
  17. Does your sexual behavior put you at odds with your personal or spiritual values/integrity?
  18. Have you ever felt degraded by your sexual behavior or affair?
  19. Has sex been a way for you to escape your problems (or self medicate)?
  20. When you have sex, (that you question), do you often feel depressed afterward?
  21. Have you felt (or do you now feel) the need to discontinue a certain form of sexual activity?
  22. Has your sexual activity interfered with your family life?
  23. Have you been sexual with minors (or vulnerable adults)?
  24. Do you often feel controlled by your sexual desire?
  25. Do you frequent pornographic web sites or chat rooms
  26. Do you tend to sexualize others
  27. Do you rationalize your sexual behavior?

 

  1. Check yes or no to the above. Affirmative answers to 12 or more questions strongly suggest that sex is being used like a drug of choice and may be an addiction.


    * Based on the SAST by Patrick Carnes, Ph.D. and Brenda Schaeffer's SAST, with permission and includes some adaptations and additions.