Whan Can I Expect During Withdrawal from Sex Addiction?

Twitter Facebook LinkedIn StumbleUpon Google+ Pin It Share Email Email to a friend

Once you have acknowledged you have a sex addiction, and made the decision to get help, you need to prepare yourself for a period of withdrawal. Like any drug or substance, it’s not going to be smooth sailing. Going through withdrawal from sex addiction is akin to withdrawal from many other substances such as drugs or alcohol. If you are going to become abstinent from the behaviors that make up your sex addiction, there will be physiological and psychological cravings and urgings that accompany your abstinence.

There is not a clear cut answer to the question of what to expect during withdrawal. Just as everyone’s sex addiction is different, so is everyone’s experience with withdrawal. You may become depressed or have sudden bouts of anxiety. You may experience mental and physical exhaustion, have sharp mood swings, or find yourself thinking irrationally; you may have unexplainable physical pains. You may feel ill, cranky, irritable, want to sleep more or not be able to sleep.

Once you have begun to abstain from the behaviors that you engaged in because of your sex addiction, you might find yourself drawn to new ways of acting out, or to behaviors that never appealed to you prior to your abstinence. It’s like squeezing a balloon filled with water, once you cut off the water in one place it flows to the next. Or like the game where the gopher popped up and you had to hit it with the rubber mallet. Once you think you’ve got one down and under control…another pops its ugly head…Just like your addiction, thoughts, feelings and emotions.

The mental and emotional components of withdrawal can be intense in the beginning of your abstinence, making them difficult to resist. It is important to remember in these times of overwhelming temptation what you are feeling is temporary. Without successfully resisting these extreme temptations, you will not be able to withdraw from your sex addiction. Here is where you need lots of support from fellows in recovery. You need activities to take your mind off the pain of withdrawal.

Boredom often becomes a problem for many addicts who are attempting to withdraw from a sex addiction. Addictions are over-stimulating in nature. The idea of facing life without them is initially boring to an addict who is used to over-stimulation. It will be important during your period of withdrawal to be able to tolerate inactivity long enough to move past boredom and begin to experience peacefulness. This will not happen overnight. Many people learn how to meditate and sit with their own thoughts.

As you progress in your withdrawal you may find that some things become easier, while others become more difficult. Once you are past the immediate cravings and urges, and past the initial intensity, you will find that the original feelings, memories, or fears that you were using your sex addiction to self-medicate are still present. In your addiction, you unconsciously used sexual behaviors and activities to mask and medicate feelings that you did not want to face.  One of the essential steps in withdrawal is being able to face those very emotions without returning to the behaviors developed during your addiction. It may be beneficial for you to seek professional help during this stage of withdrawal. You should view this step in your recovery as more than just a victory over sex addiction, it is a step toward personal wholeness and well-being.

Very few addicts are able to go through the process of withdrawal alone. There are many tools available to help you in getting through this stage of recovery. Attend the meetings of a local twelve-step group and reach out to other members as needed. Develop a support team around you and make phone calls to keep yourself focused on your recovery. Pay special attention to self-care to help lessen some of the stress associated with withdrawal.

While withdrawal from sex addiction is challenging, it is important to remember that every time you give in to your addiction you are interrupting the process of recovery, and you start back at square one. It is the willingness to live through withdrawal that is the foundation upon which you can build the rest of your recovery.


Twitter Facebook LinkedIn StumbleUpon Google+ Pin It Share Email Email to a friend

Tags: , , ,

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *