Sex Addiction: Why Do People with a Sex Addiction Relapse?

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I’ve never met a sex addict who is happy with the fact that it takes time to recovery from sex addiction and it won’t happen overnight. The sex addict is so used to instant gratification in their disease. Whatever their “acting out” behavior or habits, they get instant gratification and release by achieving orgasm. So when told they have to work a program of recovery and  it could take years…they often think, well it won’t take me that long…

The road to recovery from sex addiction is long and difficult. There are many reasons why people recovering from the addiction relapse. Relapse, however, shouldn’t be viewed as a sign of failure or weakness. The important thing for recovering sex addicts to remember is recovery is a process not an activity. It took a long time to get where you are and when in recovery, you need all of the support and help you can get.

Understanding why people relapse can help in the overall recovery process. The addicts themselves need to understand that a relapse may be a normal part of their recovery. Educating them and providing them with the resources to detect and understand the reasons for their relapse is vital to a full recovery. Now, this doesn’t mean that the addict should say to themselves, I can go act out it’s part of the recovery process. It’s not an excuse to act out. So there is a fine line. Abstinence from unwanted, obsessive and compulsive behaviors is the goal. Not abstinence from normal healthy sex.

People with sex addiction are just like those with a drug or alcohol addiction. They need to make a strong personal commitment to their recovery. They must make a personal decision to seek help in the form of a therapist and 12 step recovery meetings in order to recover. Those struggling with sex addiction note that a lack of personal commitment is one major reason for a relapse. Feelings of low self-worth can make people believe they aren’t worthy of a full recovery. Throughout an addiction a person may have deeply hurt loved ones. Guilt can make people lack the resolve to make an effort at recovery. Sex addicts need to understand they do have self-worth and should work with affirmations such as “I (first name) am a good person” “I love myself” “I’m a worthwhile person” and make a personal commitment to recover. When many sex addicts are asked to work on affirmations they skip right over it and say “yeah, yeah” that’s wonderful. Try it, as difficult as it may be until you get used to loving yourself. Ultimately, it is the addicts decision to get into recover and it may take a long time for them to come to terms with their resolve to recover from an addiction.

Those with a firm personal commitment to recover can face a number of stumbling blocks during their recovery that may ultimately cause them to relapse. A lack of a systematic approach to recovery is one common reason many people relapse during their recovery. Perhaps the person has gone through a rehabilitation program and is now in the later stages of recovery, but  may not have picked up the necessary skills or resources to have the direction necessary to continue on a journey to lifelong recovery. Because of this fact, it is very important that people in recovery from sex addiction are given the necessary resources to take a systematic approach towards long-term recovery.

Throughout a person’s addiction they will have likely hurt many people in their lives. This leads the addict’s state of isolation. Embarrassment, guilt, compulsion, shame, and fear of discovery all cause the sexually addicted person to push away those closest to them. During the addict’s recovery process it is vitally important that those injured or estranged people come to understand and support those with sex addiction. Outreach and therapy for those closest to the addict is an important part of any recovery program.

Many people struggling with addiction admit that a common reason for relapse is the lack of a strong support system. It is a difficult process to recover from an addiction and it will require many people to help the addict throughout the highs and lows of life after sex addiction.

The main takeaway from the reasons people relapse is that human beings need support. That’s why 12 step meetings, sponsors, fellows and therapy are so important in recovery. sex addicts CAN’T DO IT ALONE! They require a feeling of self-worth, love, companionship and support. An understanding network of people can help those with sex addiction overcome their disease. and recover. The important thing to remember is that recovery is a lifelong process.

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