stephen arterburn

How to Recover from Sexual Addiction

Teri did a great job yesterday explaining sexual addiction. There's not one exact definition of sexual addiction, or any addiction for that matter. If you believe you are suffering from or struggling with sexual addiction, here are some tips on how to get into recovery. Please keep in mind that not all of these tips work for everyone, but these tips have been found to be highly successful in the groups of men and women who reach out and use them.

  •  Join a 12-step group. There's alot of healing that can come from being around a group of people who understand what you're struggling with, who understand your emotions, and who have " been there". 12-step groups provide an enormous amount of support, encouragement and a place to talk about your struggles.
  • Get into therapy. We encourage people struggling with sexual addiction to do both 12-step groups and therapy as well. A 12-step group can help you stay "clean" and give you support in a group setting. Therapy can give you the one-on-one attention you need, help you dig deeper to sort out all the emotions involved & give more insight into what fuels the addiction.
  • Read books. There's only so many meetings and therapy sessions you can attend in a week. That leaves alot of time to yourself...use it wisely. Two books we highly recommend are Out of the Shadows by Patrick Carnes, and Every Man's Battle by Stephen Arterburn.
  • Get a Sponsor. People who are serious about their recovery find someone who's had several years of sobriety/clean-time under their belt to lead them. Talk to them daily at first. They challenge you and hold you responsible for your own actions and thoughts. They are your personal reality checks.
  • Get rid of your triggers. If you liked watching pornographic movies, get rid of them. If you visited strip clubs, quit going - and tell the people you went with that you're in recovery and not to ask you to go anymore. If you watch internet porn, put computer software on your computer that blocks the sites. There are several FREE computer software programs available out there. We're sure you can find one that suits your needs.
  • Change your routine. If you watch TV shows that bare too much skin, or movies that do the same, consider removing them from your evening entertainment. Also, if your drive home from work, the grocery store, etc.., happens to go by places where you act out, change your route. Drive a different way to/from work or home. Changing it up decreases the likelihood or chances of acting out.
  • Re-evaluate the family environment. We've found that some families struggling with sexual addiction have pretty poor boundaries within the household. Evaluate these areas in your home: Do family members walk around in their underwear? Does the bathroom door stay open or closed when in use? Are there sexual jokes shared or sexual comments made frequently? Make sure everyone is appropriately dressed when lounging around the house, and all doors are appropriately closed when using the facilities. Also, remember that whatever sexual talk is allowed also determines what behaviors you are indicating is allowed as well.

These above tips are just a short list of things to begin, but a good starting point. For the rest of the week, we're going to cover how to have healthy sexual intimacy after a sex addiction. Please re-visit our blog to get this very important information. Thanks for reading!

Written by: Tamara Wilhelm MA, LMHC, LCAC

*Tamara enjoys doing marriage counseling, individual counseling, & couples counseling  at Imagine Hope. We also specialize in family counseling, child & adolescent counseling. Imagine Hope serves the Indianapolis area, including the surrounding areas of Carmel, Noblesville, Zionsville, Westfield & Fishers.