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Resources for Energy Researchers to Heal from Sex-related Addictions
Considering the statistics of sexaholism addiction, and considering the typical profiles of those involved in energy research who use the Internet, it is probable that a significant percentage -- probably a majority -- are afflicted with some degree of sexaholism.
A common manifestation is the sometimes uncontrolled drive to view pornography, which is so readily accessible on the net. This, and other manifestations of the addiction and its precursors, result in wrecked marriages and careers, victimization of the innocent, and spread of the addiction to other individuals, turning them into perpetrators as well. The affliction has reached epidemic proportions in today's society.
While this topic is not directly germane to alternative energy, it poses a very real threat. At a minimum, it is an impediment to productivity. Typically, it is a silent scavenger of healthy human intimacy that is so important in collaborative efforts. Ultimately, it results in the complete removal of persons from being able to function.
The very nature of addiction is toward ever increasing dosages and severity until the person is consumed through incarceration and/or death.
How many major projects have been mothballed or rendered much less effective because this illness compromised the key player(s)? [At least two big ones that we know of.]
The following index is offered as set of tools and supports for those who wish to heal from this addiction and its many untoward repercussions.
This page is not presented as a professionally-competent tool. It is compiled as a starting point for those seeking help.
Sexaholism is one of the most addictive diseases, more so than most chemical addictions; and when victims are involved, the healing and treating of the perpetrator and victims is no light matter.
- Sexaholics Anonymous - Patterned after Alcoholics Anonymous. Provides a twelve step program. In contrast to the above book, it does not present a path for complete healing, but rather of management of the problem. Nevertheless, it looks to a "higher power" for strength to resist. It doesn't, however, believe that the "higher power" is able to effect a full recovery.
- Book > Healing Hearts & Mending Minds: Understanding and Overcoming an addiction to The Drug of the New Millennium: Pornography - Pornography etc. scavenges productivity, wrecks marriages, shatters trust, violates the innocent. This book explains from a scientific perspective how sex addictions arise, then provides a Christian-based tool set for prevention and for complete healing.
Etiology of the Disease
The bombardment with sexual messages at every turn in today's culture presents the principal context for the disease of sexual addiction. The quick, private, free availability of pornographic images on the Internet has fueled this epidemic in recent years.
A lack of healthy intimacy and balance is the leading cause for succumbing, and is as much the person's fault as society's. Today's Web-based culture is a primary contributor here as well, catalyzing the withdrawal of people from healthy intimacy and balance.
In sum, the contributing factors are:
- Sex-crazed culture that creates an exposure context.
- Lack of healthy intimacy.
- Imbalance in life (e.g. too much work)
Ironically, the spiritually sensitive, hard-working, well-meaning and marginalized-by-their-maverick-courage are among the most vulnerable to succumbing.
- Is Your Circle of Friends Shrinking? - Duke University and University of Arizona sociologists found the average number of people who are considered close confidants dropped by nearly one-third, from 2.94 in 1985 to 2.08 in 2004. The percentage of people who say they have no one to confide in has tripled, reached about 25%. (CBS News; June 24, 2006)
- [This statistic of increased human isolation can be viewed both as a cause and an effect -- a cause of increased numbers of people turning to sexaholism to fill a social void; and the effect of an increased number turning to sexaholism to fill a social void. It's a negative feedback loop whose trend is likely to continue until we as a society wisen up to this principle of the need for adequate healthy human intimacy, to avoid the pitfalls that come from its absence.]
- Beware of the barrenness of a busy life.
Self-induced Drug (Eroto-toxin)
The arousal process results in internally-released physiological, natural drugs in the body, which are parallel to some of the most addictive externally-introduced drugs available today and which follow some of the same pathways. Inside a healthy relationship, these are not addictive. But when combined with the secrecy and shame of illegitimate relationships or fantasies, these physiologically-induced drugs in the body create a horrendously addictive pull.
- Dopamine - cravings, lead to focused attention, shutting out negatives and only viewing positives; triggers feelings of ecstasy and exhilaration.
- Norepinephrine - natural adrenaline rush, increases memory capacity; induces feelings of exhilaration and increased energy. "Tidal wave" released at climax.
- Testosterone - increases sexual desire, elicits self-sustaining, building cycle.
- Oxytocin and Vasopresin - bonding
- In illicit situations, create unhealthy alliances and attractions;
- In healthy relations, they forge deeper tie with the mate.
- Seratonin - following climax; evokes deep feeling of calmness, satisfaction, and release from stress.
Sexaholism is a chemical addiction.
- Erotic Images Elicit Strong Response from Brain - A new study suggests the brain is quickly turned on and "tuned in" when a person views erotic images. (PhysOrg; June 09, 2006)
The incident cycle resembles an hourglass. As the addict enters a situation, he/she moves from his/her public (Dr. Jekyll) self, and is drawn into a narrowing state of fantasy and climax, exhibiting the private self (Mr. Hyde), which is followed by a widening phase of self-guilt, and a return to the normal self.
Male versus Female Addiction
While males tend to be more susceptible to pornography, which is visually oriented, women are also prone to sexual addiction, seeking a substitute for the intimacy that is lacking in their own life. Women gravitate to chats and illicit dialogue on the web, in hope for a meaningful relationship, while men gravitate to visual stimulation. Both paths lead to acting out and creating victims or co-conspirators.
The Rut of Shame and Secrecy
The nature of this cycle is such that as the addict enters, he/she does not foresee or weigh the consequences, nor the amount of time spent. Thus productivity wanes, siphoning off toward the addiction -- time that should be spent on a job or with family and friends. The guilt hits after the episode. Choices are made in giving in to these actions that directly confront and contradict healthy relationships, jeopardizing marriages, friendships and careers, as well as one's good standing in society. The addict is careful to avoid getting caught by those who view him/her as an upstanding person not having such a vice. The shame further drives the secrecy. Secrecy and shame are the anchor point for the addiction. Secrecy and shame drive the addiction, and the addiction feeds secrecy and shame, forming a negative feedback loop.
In earlier stages of addiction, the victims are limited to violations of trust, honor, devotion, and time. In later stages, the addict is driven to act out his or her addiction with other people, leading to voyeurism, exhibitionism, affairs, pedophilia, bestiality, and other deviant acts. The wounds inflicted on others can be severe. A frequent effect of the victimization is the perpetuation of the addiction in the victim. Many professional pornographers were themselves victims at an early age.
Conscious Turning Point
All human beings have a conscience, which knows that these crimes are serious. The fear of getting caught and punished further aggravates the secrecy, which further embeds the addiction. The worse the addiction gets, the more torn the addict becomes, knowing that his/her addiction is strong, yet fearing disclosure and the tarnishing of his/her image in the eyes of others. Yet this same conscience will foretell the disastrous end if the addict is caught and prosecuted.
It is this conscience that wants to make the decision at some point for a path to recovery, which requires help, which requires disclosure. A common feeling at this point is that the addict is the only one who "cannot stay stopped", as the behavior feels like it has taken over. Often in sexual addiction, the individual may wonder if they have really reached an addict's "bottom." This may be true even if the person has been arrested or lost relationships, families, marriages, etc. In truth, dishonesty can take over the sexaholic, and what matters most is that "the bottom is when you stop digging."
What makes the turn-about even more poignant is if the addict will call upon a higher power to help reveal clearly the consequences of his/her actions and thoughts that resulted from the addiction, so that the addict can present a broken heart and contrite spirit as the ultimate starting point for complete healing. Often, therapy or one of the many "S" fellowships (e.g. Sexaholics Anonymous, SLAA, SCA, SAA, etc.) can be very helpful to regain perspective, and learn to rely on a fellowship of others who are trying to overcome the addiction.
Whatever extent the addiction and associated deviant behavior has gone, confession is a quintessential ingredient in making an effective turn-around of the downward spiral.
A key component in a turn-about is to break the silence and to confess the addiction to someone, most preferably a professional in severe cases. This needs to be someone who both understands the gravity of the problem, as well as who values the principle of turn-around, and who is conversant with the steps required for healing. It should not be someone who is judgmental and scornful, for that will only push the addict back into secrecy, which is a primary ingredient of the addiction and reversion.
When seeking recovering, the addict needs to make a full confession of all past sexual improprieties up to this point in his/her life. Nothing should be left out. Nothing should be kept "secret" any more. This full disclosure will probably take several sessions.
Then, after the initial disclosure, an ongoing disclosure should be made about improprieties that occur in the course of a day. Inappropriate thoughts and dreams should be mentioned as well as any accidental or intentional reversions to viewing inappropriate material or engaging in inappropriate behavior. Triggers should be identified and mentioned. Discussion on how to avoid or resist those triggers would be appropriate.
The person in whom the addict confides should not turn the addict over to legal authorities as long as the addict is in a mode of earnest recovery. Small reversions are not grounds for reporting earlier, more grievous offenses to authorities.
Restitution and healing of victims to the extent possible should be included as part of the recovery process.
If the addict gives up on recovery, some people think that subsequent reversions that entail serious victimization should be reported, preferably with documentation, along with notation about earlier acts confessed, making sure to reference the episode of seeking recovery and its extent and duration.
However, in many religious traditions, the confesee plays a role of sacred trust, standing on behalf of one's conduit to confessing to God and receiving counsel. These traditions hold that the confesee must never divulge what is revealed in these confessions to anyone else, including the authorities. It is that safe haven that allows for an open and full confession.
Both the addict and the confessee can share in a repugnance for the sin, but the confessee should refrain from exhibiting repugnance to the addict himself. If the person in whom the addict confides become judgmental and critical of small reversions as the addict struggles along, they should be called on this.
A key part of recovery is the restoration of the addict's sense of self-worth that was jeopardized in the process of becoming an addict. The coach needs to be strong in helping the addict restore their self-worth. If the confessee does not cease his/her scorn, another person should be sought for the confession role, who is more capable of refraining from looking down at the addict, and is able to help build them back up.
Compassion and hope for recovery is as important in the healing process as shame was in perpetuating the addiction. Inside each person is a spark of divinity, the recovery and development of which should be the objective in the healing process. As confession provides the antidote to secrecy, compassion provides the antidote to shame. With these two remedies in place, the addiction will begin to loose its hold. The degree of addiction will begin to subside, immediately upon enacting these two components.
Higher Power (God)
The recovery process will be augmented proportional to the extent that a higher power is invoked for facilitating the recovery. The unseen world of God and angels have tonics of healing at their disposal that are far more effective than what man has available through his wisdom. Many people believe that the person commonly referred to as Jesus Christ embodies this divine healing authority, actuated through the power of the Holy Spirit.
When faced with triggers, and will power alone is waning, it is very effective to say in one's mind "give it to Jesus", and then placing one's mind on something else.
Finding a Motive
The attraction of cravings that come with the addiction exert a very strong pull and motivation. The motivation for recovery must surpass that craving, to be brought to mind when the craving arises, to counteract the craving.
It is important for the addict to identify a motivating reason for recovery, such as attaining an ideal, intimate "eternal companionship" relationship with a life partner; and/or obtaining a deserved trust in the community. Wishing to avoid the negatives associated with the end result of the addiction (e.g. jail or public humiliation) are also appropriate motivating factors that should be included in the motivation package.
Shutting off Exposure
An important step in recovery is staying away from exposure to sexual content. When exposes accidentally, the addict should immediately look somewhere else and replace the image in his mind with something that is positive.
A first step is to throw out all pornographic materials and erase all website links. This action of going "cold turkey" is a first step in recovery.
Acknowledge with Truth and Focus on Positive
The addict should not focus on not thinking about sexual things. The addict should acknowledge the trigger, and confront the thought with truth. For example, upon viewing a sensual magazine cover at a check-out line, rather than thinking with clinched fists, "I won't think about that", the addict should confront the image with truths such as: "how sad that this woman, my sister of God, has been manipulated into this depraved act aimed at controlling and victimizing others." Their focus should then be placed on positive things. A diversion of attention away from that which ensnares to that which uplifts, without making a big mental deal of it.
Inasmuch as a life out of balance created a context of susceptibility for the addict, it is important in the recovery process to attain a balance. This is usually an arduous process, inasmuch as the life demands that created an imbalance in the first place are still in effect. The irony is that a more well-balanced person is more effective, accomplishing more in a shorter period, than the addict was able to accomplish in a longer period minus balance, especially considering that the addiction introduced time and attention distractions in which the addict indulged.
A healthy whole person is capable of resisting the tugs toward inappropriate sexual expression, which the addict is unable to shun.
The addict should spend time each day developing his/her spiritual walk.
The addict should spend time several days each week doing exercise.
The addict should seek to improve his/her health by making better meal and snack choices.
The addict should begin spending quality time with his family members, both as a group, and individually.
A weekly family council is recommended, in which the family gets together for combined learning, discussion, sharing, goal setting, calendar planning, and complimenting each other on highlights experienced or milestones achieved during the past week.
The addict should get out more, and mix in person in social settings. Service in the community is a good antidote for the selfishness of the self-medication of sexaholism.
Achieving True Intimacy
This is not listed last because it is least important, but because it is the ultimate object. It is the antecedent to the recovery process. It is the reality for which sexual addiction was a counterfeit.
As a tool, a weekly "date night" is recommended, to foster couple communication and sharing.
More Effective Human Being
As he/she recovers, the (former, or at least recovering) addict becomes more and more effective in being able to make positive changes at home and in the world. The particular gifts he/she is bestowed with are more effectively brought to bear in blessing the world.
The addict needs to vent his/her feelings without restraint in a safe environment. The feelings journal should be locked in a safe or password protected, and must not be evokable by subpoena. Destroy each document as it is made if you are afraid of interception at some point.
Record your thoughts, feelings, anger, frustration, joys, successes, reasons for motivation, encouragements. Chart your progress.
Unvented feelings are a recipe for reversion in addiction.
As these factors of balance are brought back into play in a person's life, the pull of addiction will be replaced with the abundance of life at its fullest. The person is empowered. Some people believe that their heart is actually changed by a higher power, and rather than being enticed by sin, they are repulsed. Their former disposition to illicit sexual stimulation is dissipated. Gone. They are healed.
Remedies for Society
Part of the healing process is seeking to effect changes for good in society at large, and to help society turn away from being so oriented toward illicit sex.
Holding Entertainment and Advertising Industry Responsible
Just as the Tobacco industry was made to be responsible for the health problems of smokers, so should the entertainment and advertising industry be held responsible for the many ramifications of sexual addiction. Legislation should be enacted that holds them responsible for the consequences of the actions of those who act out according to the modeling presented by them.
- Finnish pop singer speaks out on modesty - “I used to think I enjoyed the attention that you get when you're dressed in revealing clothes, but, like I say in my song, it did not fill up the hole I had inside of me," she said. (MormonTimes; December 31, 2010)
Open Letter to YouTube
Repentance Clauses in Penal System
While a person who violates another should be punished, the parameters are altered when the perpetrator has a change of heart and wishes to change. The legal system addresses this to a certain extent, but could go further to encourage reformation, and diminish penalties for the penitent.
Criminalize the Sex Industry
Predatory sexuality of all kinds should be punished as a crime. Severe penalties should be imposed on those who seek to widen the number of addicts by marketing these acts as "entertainment".
- Castration for Violent Sex Offenders? - Dr. Fred Berlin, founder of the Sexual Disorders Clinic at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, and Jake Goldenflame, a convicted child molester who now works to help other sex offenders, discuss with CNN's Richard Lui whether castration is an effective means of treatment. (CNN; September 6, 2009)
Heal as a Society
As the demand for sex content diminishes, the purveyors will likewise subside.
- The truth about the porn industry - Gail Dines, the author of an explosive new book about the sex industry, on why pornography has never been a greater threat to our relationships (Guardian; UK; July 2, 2010)
- What is Sex Addiction - What is the difference between loving sex and having a sexual addiction? Addictions treatment specialist Mavis Humes Baird tells Dr. Jon LaPook the warning signs and treatment options. (CBS News; June 3, 2009)
- Confessions Of A Sex Addict - A recovering sex addict talks to Dr. Jon LaPook about how a life of uncontrolled fantasy and sex brought him to the edge and ultimately led to his treatment and recovery process (CBS News; June 3, 2009)
- The Growth Of Online Porn - Addictions treatment specialist Mavis Humes Baird talks to Dr. Jon LaPook about the popularity of online pornography and its potentially addictive nature. (CBS News; June 4, 2009)
- Explaining Sex Addiction (4:30) Maggie Rodriguez spoke with Psychologist Dr. Doug Weiss and recovering sex addict Cory Schortzman about the different types of sex addiction. (CBS News; January 21, 2010)
- Featured: Sexaholism >
Examiner Editorial Policy Chooses Smut over Breakthrough Energy - On July 18, Breakthrough Energy Examiner, Sterling Allan, was discontinued from Examiner because he took the stance that: "Yes, sex sells, but not for reasons that bring good karma. It is not good to encourage men to gawk at other women, jeopardizing their marriages and family, and putting children at risk of being exposed to inappropriate content and behavior." (See poll) (PESN; July 22, 2012)
- Sexaholics Anonymous - A fellowship of men and women who share their experience, strength, and hope with each other that they may solve their common problem and help others to recover, in the tradition of the Twelve Steps principles of Alcoholics Anonymous.
- http://www.lifebal.net - For establishing a balanced lifestyle that arms people against the enticements of illicit sex.
- http://www.heart-t-heart.org - Support program based on the 12-steps; geared to Mormons who are addicts.
Help for Partners of Sexaholics
- http://www.OutInTheLight.com - Women Uniting Against Pornography, Brought to you by Deseret Media Companies. Healing from a spouse’s pornography problem. Documentaries available to facilitate education, connection, and recovery.
- http://www.fightthenewdrug.org - The global camgaing against pornography
- Become a Fighter
- Group is fighting against 'the new drug' — pornography (Deseret News; Jan. 25, 2010)
- Great video about teens addicted to porn - Nightline, May, 2012. (Hulu)
- Out of the Shadows: Understanding Sexual Addiction - by Patrick J. Carnes. "A moment comes for every addict when the consequences are so great or the pain is so bad that the addict admits life is out of control..."
Misc. Info of Interest
- Sperm Travels Faster Toward Attractive Females - A new study has shown that even sperm can be superficial. Researchers found that males of many animal species, including humans, can adjust the speed and effectiveness of their sperm by regulating the amount of seminal fluid they produce during copulation. The determining factor on that amount of fluid seems to be whether the male finds the female attractive. (Discovery channel; July 8, 2009) (See Slashdot discussion)
- Featured: Conspiracy > Suppression >
Power Addiction and Co-Dependency - The powers that be are on the late stages of addiction, becoming ever more blatant in their power grab. And the co-dependent slaves are likewise becoming more egregious in making excuses for and covering up for their masters. The unraveling economic meltdown is the collective hitting the wall. Can we intercede? (PESN; January 10, 2011)
See Discussion page