I often see two types of clients coming through my office struggling with sexual addiction. There’s the man who pursues therapy because his life is out of order as a result of pornography. He has just realized it and if he is married, his wife has found out. There is also the guy who is stuck and doesn’t know quite how to totally break free. He is acting out every other month and knows it is linked to his stress levels, but hasn’t been able to make sense of why he continues acting out.
This is where a 3-day workshop comes into play. A workshop will jump start treatment for the man who has encountered ‘that’ moment, realizing possibly quite abruptly that he struggles with sexual addiction. Therapy is one of the core pieces of recovery; however, weekly therapy takes time, week to week, along with group work. Workshops provide 8-12 months of therapy in the 3 days of intense work. This 3-day detox from sources of temptation provides that injection the man needs to start recovery and make it last. The interior work, group work, and fundamental tools are all laid out for him and he can practically implement them into his own life.
As for the man needing help getting ‘unstuck,’ a workshop will give deeper insight into the emotional and spiritual underpinnings of sexual addiction that he might not have noticed. It will help him sift through words such as vulnerability, shame and connection. “The opposite of addiction is not sobriety, the opposite of addiction is connection” (Gabor Mate, 2008). A workshop will personalize his story and allow him to see where the addiction comes from. It will help him make sense of his life to break the patterns and stretch new relational muscles to help him connect.
Another word for sexual addiction is intimacy disorder. Whether he is at the beginning stages of recovery or stuck in the middle, a workshop is becoming the essential format to find freedom, identify patterns and undo the trauma that underlies the addiction. He will find new, healthy ways to connect, which is what he was looking for in the first place, before his connections with people became twisted by porn. “Behind every unhealthy behavior is a healthy desire.”
Michael Ciaccio MS, LPC, SATP