My work with men and with couples who have been impacted by sexual brokenness has shown me that recovery programs (support groups, 12-step programs, etc.) can be powerful sources of fortification to the work we do in therapy. In fact, Dr. Patrick Carnes has asserted that, “the probability of relapse is extremely high if the addict does not attend 12-step meetings.” The therapy room is a good place to work on yourself and to process the issues that are causing concern in your life. But there are limits to the amount of life-changing work you can do in a counseling setting. For most of my clients, we only meet for one hour per week (or every other week). Moreover, the ethics of counseling and the laws of Washington State dictate that we have little day-to-day contact outside of the counseling room.
You Are Not Alone in Your Struggles
In contrast to counseling, a recovery group can provide a network of relationships and accountability that you will be hard pressed to find in any other medium. Because of the sensitive nature of dealing with sexual integrity issues, even the local church is usually not a very good place to find the structure and support you need in order to fully heal and recover. But the attendees of these groups have a common background and many of them currently experience very similar circumstances. Some of them have years of familiarity with recovery work and can offer wisdom, hope, and guidance. In fact, recovery groups are uniquely equipped to give your counseling work a certifiable turbo boost.
An Opportunity for Growth in Relationship
The stories you hear and the people you meet are only one of the helpful aspects of support or recovery groups. If you choose to actually work through the recovery program offered by the group, you will be offered yet another level of opportunity for compelling introspection and growth. In particular, the relationship that can develop between an addict and his mentor or sponsor during the step-work phase provides a powerful impetus for change and growth. Many of my clients have commented on the fact that their relationship with their sponsor was one of the first relationships in which they experienced non-judgmental acceptance and love.
How to Find a Sexual Addiction Recovery Program
If you are intrigued by the possible benefits of a recovery group in your own life, there are several local groups you can participate in. I always recommend that it is best to try out more than one group – and maybe several groups – until you find one that fits you best. Every group is unique and every group has its own culture. Don’t be afraid to kick some tires before you settle on a home group.
If you’d like more information on some possible recovery groups in the greater Puget Sound area, you can peruse the links below for information:
- Homecoming groups for men
- Partners in Process groups for wives/partners of addicts
- Celebrate Recovery
- Sex Addicts Anonymous
- Sex and Love Addicts Anonymous
- 7 Pillars of Freedom
Christian Counseling to Overcome Sexual Addiction
If you are one of the people struggling with sexual behavior, it is very important to know that you are not alone. You are just one of the rare individuals who actually has the courage to be honest about it and to reach out for help. There is hope for you and change is possible.
G. K. Chesterton said that “every man who knocks on the door of a brothel is looking for God.” Christian counseling has the unique ability to direct that “search for God” in a more appropriate, healthy direction. Whether you are looking for individual therapy, couples therapy, family therapy, or 12-Step work, Christian counseling is an excellent place to begin the journey to freedom and healing. With the help of a good Christian counselor, you (and your spouse) can begin to find the solutions you are seeking. I would be delighted to partner with you as you enter this challenging and important healing process.
Carnes, P. & Schneider, J. (2000). Recognition and management of addictive sexual disorders: guide for the primary care clinician. Primary Care Practice, 4(3), 302-318.Photos
“Coffee Break,” courtesy of Andre Freitas, photo-1418479631014-8cbf89db3431.jpg, unsplash.com; “Sunset,” courtesy of Jordan McQueen, photo-1428604467652-115d9d71a7f1.jpg, unsplash.com