10 Common Questions Men Have About Sex Addiction

1. Question: Am I a sex addict?

Answer: There are a number of red flags that can signal an addiction to sex. A person who uses sexual activity be it intercourse, viewing pornography, phone sex, chat rooms, prostitution or masturbation as a numbing agent, something to prevent them from feeling bad, may have a sex addiction. Other indicators the sexual behavior is causing the addict problems include their spouse becoming upset over their behavior or they’ve gone into debt over payment for phone sex lines or Internet pornography sites. Spending an excessive amount of time viewing pornography Over 10 hours a week is another red flag, since this sexual behavior is interfering with time spent with friends, family or at work.

Another key factor is the addict has tried to stop engaging in sexual behavior but failed. When all these things come together, it’s time to ask a professional about getting help.

2. Question: Can I be cured?

Answer: Many sex addicts have reported being able to bring their sexual behavior under control, through any one of a variety of treatment methods. Some attend intensive rehabilitation facilities; others go to therapy sessions, attend 12 step meetings or use medication and a host of other techniques to control their sexual behavior. This can include finding a trusted person to act as an “accountability partner.” Or for pornography addicts, it can mean the use of pornography blocking computer programs.

3. Question: Does being cured mean I give up sex?

Answer: No. Unlike chemical dependencies related to alcohol or drugs, sex is recognized as a healthy aspect of life. Treatment for sex addiction, while it does involve a period of abstinence, seeks to bring harmful and unwanted troublesome sexual activity under control to where it is no longer causing harm. It may lead to stopping viewing pornography, discontinuing solicitation of prostitutes and other “bottom line” behaviors or even illegal activities. The goal is stopping harmful behavior, but certainly not giving up sex.

4. Question: Is sex addiction even real, or just something people use to excuse their behavior?

Answer: Truth be told, there are some experts who don’t feel sex addiction is real and say it’s more a product of conflicting social norms and mores. Other say sex addiction exists but do not feel it meets the definition of an addiction in the same way addiction to alcohol or drugs does. For a sex addict seeking treatment, it may be a moot point. To get treatment, first one has to recognize they have a problem and stop trying to use their own willpower alone to control it. Many people have sought treatment for sex addiction and reported results. Much of the criticism about its validity has been aimed at celebrities embroiled in public sex scandals and is hardly analogous to the average person not living in the public eye. Sex addiction is real and one struggling with unwanted sexual behaviors certainly can attest to that fact.

5. Question: What caused this? How did I get to be this way?

Answer: There is no definitive cause for sex addiction, and for each person it will be different. Many sex addicts report being sexually abused at a young age and growing up with a distorted view of sex and what a healthy sex life should be. For others, it is simply the rush of chemicals in their brain after discovering a parent’s pornography stash or coming across it in some other fashion. Still others indicate the accessibility of Internet pornography had them fall into a cycle, while there are those who turned to using sex as a numbing agent during a difficult period in their lives and began relying on it as a coping mechanism. For some growing up with abuse, neglect, abandonment and enmeshment have cause the to seek out other ways to feel good about life and themselves.

While knowing the cause of sex addiction is important, those on the path to recovery should not seek to dwell on the unchangeable past; instead, they need to focus on their present actions.

6. Question: Does viewing pornography and sexual interaction over the Internet count as cheating on my spouse?

Answer: Not to be glib, but it can depend on the spouse. Certainly many women do feel that their spouses having cybersex or phone sex with another woman qualifies as infidelity. They may not react in the exact same way as if it had been physical sex with another woman, but the impact on a relationship can be dire. First, the wife will feel betrayed. She won’t trust her husband if he’s been hiding his behavior. She may can feel bad about herself, perhaps thinking some failing on her part led the husband to seek these sexual outlets.

Even pornography viewing can be a sore spot for women. Society places a lot of pressure on women to be physically attractive and sexually desirable and they may feel they are in competition with actresses in pornographic videos. This can affect their self-esteem, even if they do not confront their husband about the behavior.

7. Question: Can medication lower my sex drive so I don’t have this problem.

Answer: Yes and no. There are medications out there that can lower a person’s sex drive, and they are often used to treat sex addiction. However, they are limited in their power to erase the problem completely. Some form of therapy, be it a 12 step program or other process, is required.

8. Question: Will I ever be cured or is this a lifelong problem?

Answer: Many people report being able to bring their sexual behaviors under control, sometimes after a period of months or years, and are living lives relatively free of problems related to sex addiction. These people have addressed the factors in their life they had once sought to control by using sex; they have now embedded into their lives multiple tools to avoid falling back into destructive addiction cycles. For some, there is always the fear they will relapse, and some do struggle with sex addiction for long periods of time. There is no quick fix for the problem.

9. Question: I’m also addicted to alcohol. Is my sex addiction just a sign that I’m susceptible to addictive behaviors in general?

Answer: In some ways, yes. Many sex addicts report being addicted to alcohol, drugs, or behaviors such as gambling. They also claim family members with various addictions. It’s certainly been theorized that a person can have a genetic predisposition to addictive behaviors. As to treating multiple addictions, it should be noted that many sex addiction treatment programs are modeled after alcohol treatment techniques developed by Alcoholics Anonymous. 12 step programs such as Sexaholics Anonymous, Sex Addicts Anonymous and Sex and Love Addicts Anonymous model their programs after and borrow their literature from that organization.

10. Question: Am I really a sex addict or is my sex drive just naturally high?

Answer: The difference between a sex addict and a person who enjoys a lot of sex has to do with why the behavior is being sought and the inability to stop an unwanted behavior as well as the obsession and compulsion. A person with a high sex drive is aroused and in most cases can control acting on that arousal. A sex addict is engaging in sex as a coping mechanism, isolating themselves from others even if they have a real life partner for the sex, and engaging in the sex act compulsively. They may feel shame after they complete the act, or some general feelings of depression. Actual arousal is not the primary motivator.

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Types of Computer Addiction

Which type of computer addiction is responsible for most computer addicts? Since there are so many different internet computer activities it is very difficult to pinpoint exactly which one is the cause of most addicts. However, there are several types which seem to be more common with computer addicts. Outlined below are what are considered to be the most addictive computer and internet related activities.

*Online games

Online games are a common cause of computer addiction. Online games consist of multi-player games via the internet . This is where the player assumes a character in the game and plays against other people from all around the world. There are many internet games on the market and some of them have millions upon millions of players worldwide. The majority of the players involved enjoy just a casual game after school, work or at weekends. A minority, however, have become so addicted, and alarmingly so, that they are spending upwards of 12 hours per day playing the game they are addicted to. Reports have come in that some people have been playing around the clock and not eating or sleeping for days and days because they do not want to leave the computer and the character they are pretending to be.

*Chat rooms

Millions of people use chat rooms daily. It is fun for those millions of people. There are lots of conventional chat rooms. There is also chat software for the larger chat companies, for instance Yahoo Messenger and MSN Messenger. Alas, there is again the minority who use chat rooms to feed their addiction. These people can be whomever they want to be. They may have anti social problems, they may be shy, they may have other problems that stop them from meeting people in the real world. No matter what problem the person has the chat rooms seem to be the answer. However, the real answer is the chat rooms make a person lose even more social skills in the real world. Seldom will an internet chat room addict ever get to meet the people he or she is chatting to. It would ruin the facade the addicts are putting up for their chat room colleagues. Unfortunately, this type of computer addiction can have a drastic effect on a persons’ personality and health.

*Online shopping

Online shopping addiction comes in the form of many kinds. There is the person who is addicted to buying items from the many online shops. Then there is the person who is addicted to auction type buying. Either one could put a person in debt in a matter of seconds. Just one click of the mouse could take money from their credit card and rack up enormous debts. This type of addiction usually starts with small purchases and paying with their credit card. Many small purchases of this kind then add up to many thousands of dollars. The thrill of bidding on an item in an online auction and then overbidding just to win the item (which they may not really want anyway) does cause addiction. Once the item has been bid on and won, a contract has been entered into. A very easy addiction to get into but very hard to get out once the debt has set in.

*Online gambling and online pornography

These are possibly the most damaging of all computer addictions. These millions of dollar a year businesses make their money by sucking addicts of their money. The thrill of possibly winning by gambling is very real and has never been easier since the onset of online casinos and other forms of online gambling. Serious debts have been incurred by these computer addicts. Some have even lost everything, their family, homes, possessions and even more extreme, their lives. There are organizations that specifically deal with this kind of computer addiction and they have helped many thousands of people get rid of this damaging addiction and have been able to give advice on helping to pull their lives back together again.

By no means is this list of computer addictions complete as there are many other forms of computer addiction. The ones mentioned in this article are, I believe, to be the most prevalent types of computer addiction.

I’m a Computer-Holic

“My name is Adele Gould and I have a computer addiction”.

There! I’ve said it! After years of excuses and denial, I have finally admitted the truth: I am addicted to the computer. I have conveniently hidden behind my reputation as the local computer guru – the person my family and friends call for help when they hit a glitch. It’s been wonderful for my self-esteem – but it’s probably just another rationalization behind which I can hide.

The Warning Signs

You know you have a computer addiction when you spend hours in cyberspace, doing everything – and nothing. You know you have a computer addiction when you sit in front of the computer until the early morning hours, and jump eagerly out of bed after four hours of sleep – to check your email! You know you have a computer addiction when lunch time comes and goes and you haven’t yet had breakfast, or when you shower in the afternoon just before your spouse gets home from work. You know you have a computer addiction when your to-do list gets longer each day instead of shorter… or when your desk is piled up with unopened mail and sundry papers… when you used to be fastidious about such matters.

This is not just a bad habit! This is serious addiction.

News alert! That’s actually not you I’m talking about – it’s me! In all fairness, the computer offers to me tools with which I can be creative – I can keep in touch with friends and family around the globe, I can write essays like this one… I can edit the photographs and videos & circulate them.. I can create slide shows. Of course, I can find and order virtually any item while sitting at my desk in my pyjamas, and – in a matter of seconds – I can find answers to any questions I may have.

All well and good, you say. But what about connecting with living and breathing human beings?

Well… I must confess that I have been doing less and less of that lately, despite being retired… Oh wait! I almost forgot! I connect with one of my sons frequently – he’s the person I call when I’m having a computer problem!!

Some say that perhaps I have an addictive personality. Well… I’m addicted to junk food – that I know. And each night, as I take a chocolate bar out of my hidden stack… and then another… and another – I promise myself faithfully that I will start eating healthy food the next day. Definitely, I tell myself with resolve and the best of intentions. And the next morning I start off well, until I see a chocolate bar just begging to be eaten, and the cycle starts again. My computer use follows a similar pattern… except that I don’t make promises to myself each night.

Maybe I do have an ‘addictive personality’. Well, then it’s not my fault, right? It’s part of my (charming) personality!

But, truth be told,underneath it all I know that it’s not healthy for anyone to spend so much time in front of a computer. But what’s the solution??

How To Stop An Addiction

Congratulate me. I have taken the first step – acknowledging in my own mind that I have a computer addiction. And this rather embarrassing public admission is step number two. Perhaps public exposure will shame me into instant sobriety?

Do I really want to change? My head says yes; my heart says “tomorrow”, as I happily click away at the keyboard. Famous last words of any addict, as the pull of the addiction butts heads with the desire to quit. I love my tech environment (the love of which – I might add – has spilled over into other tech tools… there is not a tech gadget that I don’t have!).

Oh no!! Am I a tech-aholic, not just a computer-holic?

HELP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Decisions… Decisions…

Alright, calm down Adele. You are in the driver’s seat. You can make whatever choices you want. It’s up to you. (Well then I choose to go back into hiding… except that if you’re reading this it’s too late – the cat is out of the bag).

What’s that you say? You are picking up on my ambivalence? You figured that out, huh? But you don’t understand! I love my computer (well actually… I have two). This is not easy, you know. It’s not as if I can quit cold turkey, like alcoholics do. That makes it much harder to control… it’s always a case of “just one more minute” (translation: “just one more fix”).

In my defence, for the most part I am productive on the computer, and the only computer game I play is Scrabble – and that’s a good thing because it exercises my fried brain.. I play against the computer (intermediate level – and I usually win!) at 2 am when I can’t sleep. Who else will play with me at that time of the morning? My husband certainly won’t.

I do sound like a whining 3 year old, don’t I? “Mommy no one will play with me!”

Okay – if I’m really serious about this, I need to find a way to reduce my computer usage. Hang on – let me use my trusted laptop to learn how to help myself. See? I told you it was useful! I found all kinds of tips – which tells me that I’m not alone!

Helpful Tips to Cure an Addiction

Tip number one – set an alarm to go off after an hour of computer time, and choose an hour during each day to abstain. Okay – that’s easy. I can do that. But it still leaves me with 22 hours of push/pull.

Next, make a list of all the things I could accomplish in my newly acquired free time. Well – if it wasn’t for the fact that most of my to-do items require the use of a computer it would be a great idea!! Throw that one out.

Next suggestion: put my computer in a high traffic area in my house. There are no high traffic areas in my house – it’s only my husband and me here. One more for the recycle bin.

Another bright idea: I must enlist the support of my family members. Okay that’s an easy one – I can do that… but it would be oh! so easy to feign innocence.

How’s this for a zinger: I should install software to restrict my access. Gambling addicts can do something like that – they can sign a paper disallowing them entry into the casino. It’s called ‘voluntary exclusion’.

Sorry – no can do. No will do. No way Jose!

Shhh! It’s 3.00 a.m. I just got out of bed to go to the washroom. I think I’ll just quickly check my email while I’m up (yeah right!)

My husband is sleeping… and not a soul knows I’m here (L.O.L!)!!

Perpetually Erect Penis – Sex Addiction or Normal Male Desire?

At some point, most men probably wonder whether they might have a sex addiction or whether that always-ready erect penis is just part of being a man. Clearly, a tool that is always at the ready is a sign of good penis health, but even so, the possibility that he may have a sex addiction problem can make a man feel quite uncomfortable. So how is a guy supposed to tell if he is addicted?

What is sex addiction?

Sex addiction – also known by the term “hypersexuality” – is a cause for enormous debate among the medical and psychiatric communities. Some people believe that there is no such thing; others believe that it most certainly does exist. But even among the latter group, there is a range of opinions concerning how to define it – and how to diagnose it.

Writing on PsychCentral, Robert Weiss, LCSW, CSAT-S, defines sex addiction as “a dysfunctional preoccupation with sexual fantasy, often in combination with the obsessive pursuit of casual or non-intimate sex; pornography; compulsive masturbation; romantic intensity and objectified partner sex for a period of at least six months.”

Weiss also states that an addiction may exist if this obsessive behavior continues despite efforts to stop it and despite the impact that it has on relationships, social life and work. He compares it to other obsessive addictive behaviors like gambling and binge eating.

If it feels good, is it addiction?

One of the traits of sex addiction is that sex is often used to make a person feel better; rather than soothing oneself in a non-sexual manner or talking to others about problems they are experiencing, sex addicts tend to turn to sexual behaviors to reduce feelings of anxiety and stress.

That does not mean that a guy who occasionally fondles his tool when he’s feeling stressed or seeks to bed someone when he’s blue is a sex addict; but if this kind of behavior occurs with great frequency and if it cannot really be controlled by the man, then an addiction is quite likely.

The un-controlled aspect is key; many men have extremely high sex drives and engage in sex with an above average frequency; but they do this by choice. So, just because it feels good to have sex and a man does it often does not mean he has an addiction.

Seeking help

If a man does think that perhaps his sexual activity goes beyond normal and has the possibility of being an addiction, he should definitely seek help. There are recovery programs, such as Sexaholics Anonymous and Sex Addicts Anonymous, that can provide support and aid in dealing with the issue. Mental health professionals, such as psychotherapists, psychiatrists and some social workers, are another resource; those with training in cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) can men develop strategies to meet their sex addiction challenges. Certain medications, such as SSRIs (often used in treating depression and anxiety), may be prescribed by doctors to help control sexually compulsive behaviors; various mood stabilizers may also be used. Seeking help for a sex addiction is very important; as more becomes known about this condition in future years, more therapies will be developed to help those suffering from it.

Many men who experience a sex addiction engage in sex so frequently or with such aggressive behavior that their erect penis can become damaged – raw and sore or even de-sensitized — due to rough handling. And it’s not just hypersexual men who encounter this; many men find themselves in the same boat. This is why it’s crucial that men make a habit of using a superior penis health cream (health professionals recommend Man 1 Man Oil) on a regular basis. A cream with shea butter and vitamin E will nourish and moisturize the skin; if the cream also contains acetyl L carnitine, which is neuroprotective, it can help restore sensitivity lost due to peripheral nerve damage caused by rough use. And if L-arginine is also present in the cream, there will be a benefit to penis blood flow, as that ingredient aids the process which keeps blood vessels open.

Codependency Is Sneaky and Powerful

Focusing thinking and behavior around someone else is a sign of codependency. We react to something external, rather than our own internal cues. Addicts are codependent, too. Their lives revolve around their addiction – be it food, work, drugs, or sex.

Codependency derived from the term “co-alcoholic,” originating in studies of family members of substance abusers who interfered with recovery by enabling.

Family therapists found that their codependent behavior developed in their childhood growing up in a dysfunctional family. In the 40s, German psychoanalyst and humanist Karen Horney wrote about neurotic behavior caused by self-alienation. She described personality types that fit codependency and believed that they resulted from faulty parenting and the “tyranny of the shoulds.”

The 12-step program Codependents Anonymous (CoDA) was founded in 1986 by Ken and Mary, two therapists who had grown up in abusive families.

Definitions

Codependency is considered a disorder in the American Psychiatric Association, due to lack of consensus on a definition and empirical research. However, the Diagnostic Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders does list a dependent personality disorder, described as someone more passive, submissive, and dependent than most codependents. In 1989, experts at a National Conference arrived at a suggested definition: “A pattern of painful dependency on compulsive behaviors and on approval from others in an attempt to find safety, self-worth and identity.” Other definitions by experts in the field include:

* Melody Beattie: Allowing another person’s behavior to affect him or her and obsessing

about controlling that person’s behavior.

* Earnie Larsen: A diminished capacity to initiate, or participate in, loving relationships.

* Robert Subby: Resulting from prolonged exposure to oppressive rules.

* John Bradshaw & Pia Melody: A symptom of abandonment – a loss of ones inner reality and an addiction to outer reality.

* Sharon Wegscheider-Cruse: A brain disorder that leads codependents to seek the relief of soothing brain chemicals, which are released through compulsive behaviors, including addiction to work, substances, gambling, food, sex, and/or relationships.

* Charles Whitfield: A disease of a lost selfhood.

Beattie’s and Larsen’s definition centers on relationship behavior. I agree with Bradshaw, Melody, and Whitfield that codependency resides in us whether or not we’re in a relationship. I also agree with Wegscheider-Cruse that addicts are codependent and that relief is sought through substances, processes, and people. However, unlike Cruse, I believe codependency is learned behavior that’s trans-generational. Other influences are cultural and religious biases. Although research shows that some teens had brain abnormalities even before they became drug addicts, their twins did not become addicted, so the full impact of genetic and organic causes is still unclear, particularly in view of the brain’s plasticity in adolescence.

Core Feelings and Behavior

Codependent feelings and behavior vary in degree on a continuum. Like a disease and addiction, if untreated symptoms become compulsive and worsen in stages over time.

Core feelings include:

  • Denial
  • Low Self-esteem
  • Painful emotions: Shame, Guilt, Anger and Resentment, Anxiety, Depression
  • Core Behaviors include:

  • Dependency
  • Intimacy problems
  • Dysfunctional communication
  • Dysfunctional boundaries
  • Control of oneself and/or others (includes Caretaking)
  • Core feelings and behaviors create other problems, such as, people-pleasing, self-doubt, mistrust, perfectionism, high-reactivity, enabling, and obsessions. Codependents are usually more attuned to other people’s needs and feelings than their own. To quell anxiety about rejection, they try to accommodate others, while ignoring their own needs, wants, and feelings. As a result, they tend to lose their autonomy, particularly in intimate relationships. Over time, their self-worth declines due to self-alienation and/or allowing others to devalue them.

    Codependents have varied personalities, and symptoms differ in type and severity among them. They also have diverse attachment styles. Not all are caretakers or are even in a relationship. Some seek closeness, while others avoid it. Some are addicts, bullies, selfish, and needy, or may appear independent and confident, but they attempt to control, or are controlled by, a personal relationship or their addiction. Sometimes that relationship is with an addict or narcissist. A relationship that is one-sided or marked by addiction or abuse is a sign of codependency. But not all codependent relationships are one-sided or abusive.

    Recovery

    Untreated codependency can lead to severe anxiety, depression, and health problems. There is help for recovery and change. Recovery goes through stages that normalize codependent symptoms. The goal of recovery is to be a fully functioning adult who is:

  • Authentic
  • Autonomous
  • Capable of intimacy
  • Assertive and congruent in expression of values, feelings, and needs
  • Flexible without rigid thinking or behavior
  • Become informed. Get guidance and support. Codependent patterns are deeply ingrained habits and difficult to identify and change on your own. It often takes an experienced third party to identify them and to suggest alternative beliefs and responses. Therapy and 12-Step meetings provide this. In recovery, you will:

  • Come out of denial
  • Let go of others
  • Build an autonomous Self
  • Raise your self-esteem
  • Find pleasure – develop friends, hobbies
  • Heal past wounds
  • Learn to be assertive and set boundaries
  • Pursue larger goals and passions
  • Self-Help and Therapy

    Codependency is highly recoverable, but requires effort, courage, and the right treatment. A therapist should be knowledgeable in treating codependency, shame, and self-esteem, as well as be able to teach healthier behavioral and communication skills. Cognitive-behavior therapy is effective in raising self-esteem and changing codependent thinking, feelings, and behavior. In some cases, trauma therapy is also indicated.

    Recovery can generate more anxiety, so it’s important to maintain a self-help support system such as, Al-Anon or CoDA 12-Step programs to build self-esteem and become more assertive.

    ┬ęDarleneLancer 2019

    Is She Addicted to Sex? How to Tell If She’s a Sex Addict

    Is my girlfriend a sex addict? How often is TOO often? What if I can’t keep up? Will she cheat, stray or find someone else to satisfy her sexual urges, needs and desires? How can I improve my stamina, staying power and libido to make sure she stays? Any of these questions sound familiar? If you are anything like the millions of men who struggle with understanding female sexuality, this article was written with YOU in mind! Curious to know more? Continue reading as we take a deeper dive below.

    The signs of “real” sex addiction

    The truth is, genuine sex addiction is NOT a common thing and where it IS found in men OR women, it’s rarely about sex. Sexual addiction in the “clinical” sense is typically a manifestation of other compulsive behavior patterns like gambling excessively, or acting out in other reckless ways.

    The good news? If you are worried your girlfriend, wife or lover IS addicted to sex, it’s probably simply because she enjoys having it with you as often as possible!~ (and probably means you are satisfying her sexual needs in ways you realize, and ways you don’t)

    If you DO find that her sexual needs, wants or desires are SO frequent that they are disruptive to your lives, and you notice other strange compulsive behavior to boot? This is rare… But it could mean that there is an underlying psychological issue that ought to be addressed.

    Other things to consider when it comes to a woman’s sex drive?

    Most women can have both serial, and sequential orgasms, meaning she can and often will want to go longer, stronger and more frequently than our male partners, who can only climax once. (this is not a sign of sex addiction of course, just a woman who really enjoys it)!

    Women have a much longer sexual response cycle than men do as well. This means that it will take her much longer to actually achieve orgasm than you do. Hence, if she prioritizes climax during sexual intercourse, she may appear “addicted” to sex, simply because she wants to keep it going long after you are done.

    Many women take far longer to feel sexually comfortable with a partner, but once she DOES, her erotic appetite goes UP dramatically. This is especially obvious at the beginning of a relationship, and why many men find their partners “insatiable” in the first 3-6 months of a new relationship.

    Lastly, remember… when it comes to sex, there need not be too much of a good thing! If she loves sex, and more importantly, loves having it with you, consider yourself lucky and enjoy it!

    Dealing With Addictions

    The word “addiction” conjures up an image of someone who has lost all self respect, ready and willing to commit crime just to feed a need which is out of control. Reality, as usual, is not like that. In general there are seven addictions, and of course there are many variations and sub divisions of these seven.

    An addiction is a need that someone can no longer control. Addictions are therefore something that the person could better live without but cannot. The person is dependent upon the thing that they are addicted to.

    People take to the various forms of addiction for a variety of reasons. The most frequent reason is that it is a method of coping with a psychological problem. It is like taking a painkiller for a broken leg. Unlike the broken leg, however, the source of the pain rarely goes away and the person is left with a dependency on their addiction to enable them to feel normal and able to cope with life.

    The first addiction relates to drugs. Drug addiction must be divided into prescription drugs and banned drugs. The usual vision of an addict is the person addicted to banned drugs. Drugs cause damage to both the mind and the body and after a short while a physical addiction is established. The person can come off the drugs and be clear in just a few weeks but the psychological obsession remains, drawing them back time and time again.

    There are more people addicted to prescription drugs than banned drugs. The usual prescription drugs include tranquillisers, anti-depressants and sleeping tablets. Once on these drugs it is very hard to come off. Some can take over a year for full withdrawal. Like banned drugs, they are used to cope with a deep psychological problem. Like banned drugs, they do not solve the problem just enable the person to cope.

    Prescription drugs are notoriously difficult to give up. Because they are prescribed, people believe that they are safe and they can stop as soon as they feel better. This is not the case.

    The second addiction relates to alcohol. This product would be banned immediately if it was invented today. It is the most readily available and damaging of the addictions. Widely acceptable, alcohol permeates into every part of our lives. It is not only socially acceptable, but almost a social requirement.

    There are two types of people who are dependent on alcohol, the regular drinker and the binge drinker. Regular drinkers are physically addicted to alcohol and therefore need it every day. In the latter stages of the addiction, the alcoholic will readily substitute a drink for a meal. Whilst there are lots of calories in alcohol, it contains none of the other vitamins, minerals etc that the body needs so it gradually declines.

    Binge drinkers can go for weeks without a drink but the need gradually builds up in the background. When a certain level of psychological tension is reached (of which they may be totally unaware), they will suddenly drink a large quantity of alcohol. When they come around from their drunken state, the cycle starts again.

    A physical addiction to alcohol can be broken in about ten days depending on the individual. Abstaining is of no benefit unless the person also deals with the deep psychological issues that created the need in the first place.

    The third addiction relates to work. This is the most socially acceptable addiction. It also carries with it financial rewards. Like all the other addictions, it easily takes over and becomes an obsession. The normal balance of life is lost and the person is either working, eating (and thinking about work) or sleeping.

    The particular allure of a work addiction lies in its ability to provide an escape. The person can enter a legitimate activity where he feels empowered, needed and rewarded. Work not only becomes a method of providing income, it also becomes the hobby. Work addiction is usually accompanied by strenuous efforts to deny it exists.

    The fourth addiction relates to sex. The person addicted to sex usually has a problem with long term relationships. Sometimes the person has felt rejection at an early stage in their life and is desperately seeking affection. The person may have lots of short term relationships, none of which are satisfying. Continually searching for confirmation that they are attractive, or valued, the person may accumulate an entourage of admirers. Though the person may become obsessed with sex, the real need is to feel good about themselves. Without support, the person is doomed in their relationships because one person will not be able to satisfy their need.

    The fifth addiction relates to smoking. Though many people find it hard to believe, smoking is the easiest of the addictions to break. Unless a person has been smoking in excess of about 40 cigarettes a day (depending on their weight and sex), they will not have a physical addiction to nicotine. Withdrawal can take just one week for the physical need to disappear.

    The psychological need for smoking is greater. People smoke to relieve pressure, for social reasons and to help them relax. In reality, smoking does not help with relaxation, but the person thinks it does and that is what matters. In order to stop smoking, the person must identify why they smoke.

    Smoking is interesting because it is also a subject of fashion. Only relatively recently introduced to the world, smoking is now in major decline in developed countries though it is still growing in the third world. The only sector in the western world where smoking is still strong is with teenage girls who use smoking as an aid to weight control.

    The sixth addiction relates to gambling. This is an unusual addiction because there is no physical need. All the other addictions appeal to one of the senses, gambling does not. The psychological obsession is powerful, with the person spending well beyond his ability to pay. Beneath the obsession is a belief that the person will win something. This belief in winning takes the person well beyond what could be regarded as entertainment. Even after winning, the person remains compelled to carry on gambling.

    The seventh addiction relates to food. This is a common addiction; any food can be the target though often chocolate is the favourite. There are two main addictions. The first is a food allergy addiction where the person has an allergic reaction to a food. When the body learns how to cope with the reaction by metabolising it, the body then requires the specific food even though it is allergic to it.

    The second addiction is more general where the person no longer eats to obtain nourishment. The person eats for comfort, out of boredom or out of stress. Food provides a method of coping but the person is rarely aware of the source of the stress.

    Very rapidly people become obsessed with food. They will know every diet and cook book. Food may be in their mind almost all of the time. Chocolate is slightly different in that it contains a substance called PEA that induces the brain to release endorphins. This is endogenous morphine which makes the person feel better and also acts as a pain killer.

    There are a number of common denominators regarding addictions, though smoking does not always fit the pattern.

    1. The psychological addiction is always stronger than the physical addiction.

    2. The addiction is not the problem since it is just a coping mechanism. The real problem is what the addiction is masking.

    3. Though the activity appears to be destructive, it actually helps the person deal with an underlying problem.

    4. The vast majority of people are unaware of the cause of the addiction.

    5. The addiction becomes an obsession that excludes everything else in life.

    6. Most addictions eventually destroy the family unit.

    7. The only way to successfully remove the addiction is to deal with the cause first.

    As mentioned, dealing with an addiction means finding what the addiction is masking. It may be an abusive childhood, a broken family or parents that were too protective. No matter what the cause, if it is not found, the unconscious mind will not give up its method of coping without a real fight. Why would anyone give up painkillers until the pain has gone?

    Once the cause has been found and dealt with, there remains another problem. Once the unconscious mind has discovered that alcohol can reduce psychological pain, it will remember and use it again in the future. It is also important to explain to the unconscious mind that the next time a problem arises, it is better to work it out rather than head for the bottle.

    There is no need to be afraid of people with addictions; they are just ordinary people that have a problem that they find difficult to deal with. Given some time and usually professional assistance, they can all be dealt with.

    Addictions do not take years to remove; the physical need can be removed in weeks. The psychological need takes longer. For those wishing to resolve their addictions in a shorter time period, they can attend a residential clinic where they receive intensive psychological help. In choosing a clinic, it is important to ensure that psychological help is provided and it is not just for a “dry out” centre.

    For anyone interested in using Psychotherapy to resolve an addiction, call Grahame on 96 540 5631 or visit the website http://www.san-luis-clinic.co.uk. Anyone wishing to attend a clinic providing full psychological support, they can call The Sanctuary at the above number.

    Massage Addiction – Are You at Risk?

    As a massage therapist, I work hard to earn repeat customers by way of offering a great service at a price that reflects value for money.

    Getting to know a customer and their likes and dislikes over time makes the massage much more easier. Massaging is a highly personal service so any familiarity built over time, helps both the massage therapist and the client relax into what is a very enjoyable experience.

    Where there is no ‘standard’ rate of frequency for being massaged, most Massage Therapists would suggest one massage per month is a standard rate of frequency for a repeat customer. More sessions may be required depending on whether an injury or health concern is being treated.

    So what happens when a customer starts booking massages weekly, or twice per week, for no reason other than they just ‘like being massaged and massaged by you in particular. In any other profession, accelerated frequency of a customer is a welcome event. In the world of massage, it may actually cause concern to the Massage Therapist.

    Could this customer be addicted to massage? If they are, is this a negative thing?

    One often associates addition to what are regarded as negative habits – smoking, excessive alcohol consumption, excessive gambling, etc. Or, addiction is often associated to events that give people a ‘rush’ of sorts. High impact sports, bungee jumping, sky diving, etc. But massage? The act of being pampered into slumber!

    If we break it down, my belief is that our society has become one where ‘touching’ others is at the very least, avoided – think about the discomfort of standing close to others in an elevator, or how one says ‘sorry’ when they accidentally touch by someone in the street (well most of the time). Consider how we bustle for our own patch of turf on public transport. How we act in the workplace is highly regulated and ‘touching’ of any type may point toward sexual harassment. I don’t disagree with the need to protect all in a workplace against any form of discrimination.

    Human beings are programmed to be social – we seek community and we seek the company of others.

    Now think about a person, who is either single or in a non affectionate ‘non touching’ relationship. They wake up and go to work and in every instance where they have ‘touched’ someone albeit accidentally, they apologise.

    It is actually possible that some people in our society today go through whole days, or even months and never get ‘purposely touched’ in a positive, healing, way by someone.

    Could some be using massage as a way of simply being touched? Where does someone go who yearns being touched in a non sexual, healing, pampering way go?

    In a society where touching is avoided, discouraged or legislated against, one can see how easily some may become addicted to what in its essence, is a basic human need – being touched.

    12 Steps to Divorcing a Drug Addict

    1. Put Your Trust In Your God. The Universe is controlled by a divine power. Put your trust in the power of prayer and listen to the answers. Throughout my marriage, I prayed for the strength to get through some very difficult times. Not being an addict myself, I cannot understand putting a chemical in my body and holding that chemical in a more important place than my family. I just don’t get it but in the end, if your spouse won’t seek professional help for drug and alcohol addictions, it’s probably time to go. I was so frightened, and I felt I had not option but to leave to protect myself (and the children). In the beginning, I was dumb-founded (I still am) that he would choose drugs over us, his family, but THAT WAS his choice. Although I can’t control his choices, I AM affected by his choices, and I CAN control HOW I will react to those choices. So, I pray…a lot.

    2. Get Legal Advice – Know that anything a drug addict says, no matter how sincere it seems at face value, is driven by the drugs. Whether the discussion is about the children or money, don’t trust anything an addict says. A professional told me that when you are divorcing a drug addict, you MUST face the fact that a drug addict is having an affair! You (and the children, if there are children) are no longer the primary focus for a spouse with drug/alcohol issues. An affair with the drugs is very difficult for the other spouse to “fight”. (A friend of mine went through a divorce with a partner that was a chronic “cheater”, she felt my situation was easier. Divorcing a drug addict is the same as divorcing a “cheater” – the trust is gone! Once the trust is gone – it’s gone!) So, unfortunately, you must have legal representation, unless the addict is willing to sign everything over and just walk away. If your spouse is willing to “give” you everything, you should still have an attorney and perhaps an accountant review and advise you on any short term, long term and/or tax implications. Check with friends or go online and get referrals from chat rooms, web forums or even Twitter can guide you to websites to help you do some research, but in the end, get professional advice.

    3. Get Support from Friends. A divorce is emotionally draining. Typically, your friends and family don’t want to hear it, but it’s really important to have someone that is willing to listen and just offer support. Not guidance, just support.

    4. Get Therapy. If you can afford to visit with a therapist, I would highly recommend that you do that. A trained professional can help you understand the inner brain workings of a drug/alcohol addict. AND, whether you want to hear it or not, at some level you have some responsibility in all this. A therapist can help you see the areas where you have to take ownership of this crisis. There are studies out now, that have revealed that people with addictions have a gene that can be identified. You may have to face the fact that, perhaps, you were an “enabler”. Ultimately, though, the responsibility for the addictions rest squarely on the shoulders of the addict. Unless, of course, you were the one that held your spouse down and physically forced the drugs into their body.

    5. Blog. If you live in a bubble, where you haven’t access to friends, family and therapists then I would suggest that you blog or at the very least journal. Even if you do have friends and family, these support systems, firstly, get tired of hearing about your indignations and hurts and secondly, your friends and family, unless they have been through it, may not know how to support you. It’s one thing to have friends and family that can support you in a divorce, however, divorcing an addict is NOT like going through a “normal” “irreconcilable differences” divorce. Go online and find others that are fighting the same dragons, find chat rooms and forums that can give you guidance in finding lawyers and therapists etc. in your area of the country. It will give you a chance to rant with someone that understands and you can compare horror stories, that, trust me, may eventually, with time, seem mildly entertaining. Maybe, even funny.

    6. Protect your Credit. Any divorce will cause disruptions with your credit score, and especially today with the current economic situation and problems with identity theft, it becomes even more important to protect your identity and your credit score. This is not just directed at outsiders, your spouse might try to hi-jack your identity, not just for their own self-serving practices but, sometimes, as was in my case, an attempt at causing you harm. In a divorce, both parties have the potential (and the motive) to cause harm to the others’ credit. Horror stories abound about credit catastrophes caused by angry spouses – like….. running up credit cards in the other spouse’s name and walking away. Enlist a service, that for a monthly fee, will monitor your credit score and advise you by email, if there are any changes to your credit score.

    7. Set Up Your New Separate Identity. If it’s not time right now, it will be soon. So, there’s no time like the present to start using your own name and identity. Start recognizing yourself as YOU. Separate and apart from your identity as a spouse, having others recognize you as a person standing alone will help you feel more empowered. Think about reverting to your single name.

    8. Take Your Time. Decisions made now, while not set in stone, are important and will have an impact. Whether you decide to move to a new home or city, whether you choose one lawyer over another. All these decisions are important. So make your choices wisely and be informed as best you can. Take advice from any and all sources you can, but remember you are the one that has to live with the long term impact of the choices. So make your choices and decisions wisely!

    9. Don’t Take Advice from Friends. All that being said, in number 8, recognize that you shouldn’t take advice from friends as “set in stone”. Take the input, weigh in out, balance it with information from searching the internet but just know that friends are biased. Unless your friends are trained professionals, and even then, while their input may be heartfelt, it might be totally wrong for your situation and they could be biased. Take all the input and apply what works to your individual situation.

    10. Insurances. Make sure all your insurances are up to date. Medical, vehicle, home, life. In my situation, for whatever reason (I surmise his processes were clouded by the drug/alcohol usage), the car insurance didn’t get paid and we were driving for months with no car insurance. In my state, that’s illegal and it was reported to the state and that opened another can of worms, which caused further damage to my credit score. So take responsibility and make sure ALL your insurances are current.

    11. Your Finances. Your finances are a very crucial part of a divorce. If at all possible, I would suggest that you should, unfortunately, preplan by tucking some money aside, before the divorce, in the event that things turn ugly. You will, at least, have access to SOME money to see you through some difficult roads ahead. Money in should always be more than money out, but particularly important during a divorce. Work diligently towards keeping credit cards in order. Continue, if at all possible, to add to your savings plan every month.. You really should be aware of tax ramifications and the long term impact – things that your lawyer may not have expertise in. Work with an accountant or a divorce planning financial expert. Hindsight is always 20/20 is how the saying goes and in looking back I realize that during my marriage, we lived off of one salary and banked the other. While in the marriage, I thought that was a great idea. Now though, when he closed the bank accounts and took all the money, I realize that wasn’t such a good idea. Get an accountant.

    12. Look After Yourself. The road ahead will be taxing and probably difficult, depending on how much of a time/emotional investment you made into your marriage. Take the time to relax, do whatever it is that brings some “you” time. Go for walks, play cards, ride horses, yoga, read, play the piano, it’s important to find time to experience the things that bring you stress relief. Stress can be difficult to manage at any time in your life, but particularly during a divorce. The point is that a divorce CAN consume you, IF you let it. So, take the time to take time for you. Make sure you still get your hair done, your nails, pamper yourself and just know, that no matter what someone else may be telling you – you are worth it. Looking after yourself reinforces your energy levels, your resolve and your determination.

    In the beginning of the end, (or the end of the beginning), I watched “Diary of a Mad Black Woman, I watched, “Enough”, I watched, “Sleeping with the Enemy” and while I recognized parts of each of those movies in my marriage, more than anything I recognized that the common element is a certain “system” of emotions that run amuck. First comes the rush of fear, then indignation, then anger, then, fear again. More indignation, anger and then acceptance and resolution. Through it all, runs the desire to “hate” – eventually you come the resolution that these negative emotions fuel more of the same – through the Law of Attraction – so it’s healthier (not easier – but healthier) to let it go. The Law of Attraction is very clear, whatever you focus on – whatever you think about you will bring more of into your life. Anger, brings more anger, conversely peace will bring more peace.

    Drug and alcohol addicts don’t do drugs and alcohol because of something you have done, they do drugs and alcohol because of something going on in their own reality. I used to get upset every time I opened an email offering to supply me with drugs without a prescription – somehow I was able to easily hit the delete button. I can’t say the same thing for everyone – otherwise these websites would not survive. You give yourself too much credit if you think that you had anything to do with turning your spouse into an addict. At some level, even the addict can’t control the behavior. Hopefully, at some point, the addict will realize and reach out for the professional help that will help them heal.

    Another tidbit that I will impart, I have been told by the drug addiction doctors that the drug addict will tell you that they have recovered. This was certainly the case in my personal story. Most drugs cannot be controlled by the addict going “cold turkey” on their own. Usually, these drugs have to be “de-toxed” out of the body using other drugs and a course of therapy and these things cannot be done on an out-patient basis. Once an addict has “recovered”, that person’s life will, forever, be “in recovery”. Whatever the addiction gambling, drinking, drugs, on and on the list goes…… once the addiction has been “conquered”, it will always be a challenge AND one addiction can be replaced for another! It’s really important that addiction issues be dealt with by a licensed professional, under controlled settings.

    So, let it go – don’t take their choices personally, and as hard as it may seem, let them go…and pray for them.

    I am not a professional, I encourage you to seek the advice of a licensed professional to help you make critical decisions.

    Common Themes in Addictions

    It doesn’t matter whether the addiction is to substances, gambling, alcohol, shopping or sex. All those with an addiction share common things:

    1. Strong Feelings – Everyone has a wide range of feelings that can be positive or negative. People who lead with their feelings, however, often end up living in the ditch! I have found, over the years that many of my clients who suffer from an addiction state that their anxiety motivates them to turn to unhealthy coping strategies. Their unmanageable feels often play a key role in their addiction pattern.

    2. Lack of skills – Those who don’t know how to deal with their feelings in a healthy way, look for alternate methods. For example, someone who has problems with relationships and doesn’t have a good self-image, might be a likely candidate to become a workaholic. They might become very valuable in the workplace and learn specific work skills but doesn’t solve their other personal problems.

    3. Enablers – Most people with addictions can name the person who first introduced them to the substance or activity that led to an addiction. They also usually have people in their lives who have contributed to or allowed the addiction to continue with their inappropriate behaviours.

    4. Fantasy and Cravings – When a person is thinking about the addiction in an obsessive manner and has cravings to use their focus is not available for their responsibilities.

    5. Detachment – Sometimes it may seem like the addict has two people living inside. There is the public person who presents well and the private person who is involved in a secret lifestyle. In many cases, the person has been able to detach one from the other and sometimes even doesn’t remember doing specific things because they have become so good at separating the two. This is common with a number of problem areas such as eating disorders and sexual addictions.

    6. Tolerance – Over time, the amount or strength of a substance or activity that is needed to produce a high will need to be increased in order to get the same effect. Those who begin by looking at pornography, for example, may increasingly require more frequent or more powerful images. Some may advance into chat lines and affairs, begin hiring prostitutes or add violence to their sexual experiences.

    7. Withdrawal – Distress can occur when the addiction is not fed. A person may become frustrated, angry or unable to function when they are abstaining. Withdrawal can be physiological and/or psychological in nature.

    8. Consequences – Those with addictions often also experience relationship problems, financial and employment issues, legal encounters, deteriorating health, shame and self-loathing. Over time, their lives can become unmanageable.

    9. Defense Mechanisms – Denial, projection, blaming, repression, rationalization, intellectualization, minimization, deflection and manipulation are some of the ways that the person avoids facing reality and getting treatment.

    10. Temptations – A person who is addicted has formed a life that promotes the addiction. Their friends, activities, schedule and habits all revolve around the addiction. S/he are able to get a shot-term “fix” easily as that has been their pattern. Recovery therefore involves facing one day at a time, knowing that commitment to change long-term will be difficult.

    11. Opportunities to change – It doesn’t matter where one goes in the world, there are supports and resources to help the person who is addicted. But that person has to be ready and willing to change. Alcoholics Anonymous, group therapy, public agencies and private therapists are only a phone call away. Employers offer Employee Assistant programs and insurance companies usually recognize addiction as a medical issue that qualifies for disability benefits.

    12. People who love them – If you are worried about someone who is involved with an addiction, you need help. You cannot change another person but you can work on yourself. The best thing you can do today is book an appointment with a psychologist who specializes in addictions so you can begin working on your healthy future.