Research indicates that somewhere between 3.5% and 6% of the population suffer from compulsive sexual behavior. That is the same range as the percentage of people who suffer from addiction to illicit drugs.
Sex addiction, which can also be called “sexual compulsivity,” “hypersexuality,” or “hypersexual disorder,” is a pre-occupation with sex, often involving the obsessive pursuit of sexual encounters (pornography, casual sex, anonymous sex, prostitutes, compulsive masturbation, as examples).
Most often a pattern of urges, fantasies, and behaviors continues for a period of at least six months, or re-occurs after a period of abstinence despite:
• Attempts made to self-correct the problematic sexual behavior
• Promises made to self and others to change the sexual behavior
• Significant, negative life consequences such as relationship instability, emotional chaos, physical health problems, career trouble, and legal issues
This eight-week program is designed for people who either know they are struggling with compulsive sexual behavior or are worried about it. An online, self-assessment is available in the “Resources” section to help in the decision process.
The program is divided into 8 Modules, delivered over 8 weeks. This spaced learning approach is designed to help users develop traction in each set of new skills and through the weekly assignments.
This is a principle of brain re-building and neuroplasticity. A new foundation is laid based on repetition of healthy behaviors and newly acquired knowledge and tools.
In spacing the materials out, participants are encouraged to practice their new skills and establish new neural pathways.
Module 1 – A New Way of Living
By the time we arrive at this place, most of us know we have a problem. It may be tough to admit, but the evidence is all around and we may have had family members, friends, co-workers or our employers suggest they are seeing changes in our behaviors and we need to look at getting help.
This module helps us to examine our failed attempts at trying to control our sexual behaviors. We look at all the mental games we have played, the denial of how bad it has really become and where it has taken us.
We start to look at what a clean/sober life could mean for us and do for our relationships. There is hope for a new way of living.
Module 2 – Building a Support Network
Most of us have become quite isolated in our addiction. We may think we have lots of friends, but the reality is that the time we spend watching porn, hooking up, cruising or searching for and planning sexual encounters is robbing time from us we could be spending with friends and family or doing other healthier activities.
Meaningful relationships are few, and we might be at a point where real friends, family members, co-workers or bosses have either given up on us or are about to.
We need to find new people who understand and know how to get us on the road to recovery. In this module, we start to stress the importance of building a support network. We are not alone.
Module 3 – Taking Stock
This module is about self-examination and introspection. It’s not easy but wanting to re-build relationships starts with examining how we have hurt others so we can start a process of healing – for ourselves and others.
Sometimes in early recovery, it is hard to acknowledge just how self-centered we have become in our addiction. Most of us have cancelled plans, failed to show up, been unkind or unreliable. Friends and family members may have noticed and expressed concern and we have ignored them or made excuses. All of that needs to change if we want to re-build relationships or start new ones.
Module 4 – Underlying Issues
Being an addict was not something that any of us chose for ourselves.
In this module, we start to look at how some of our early history, prior to adulthood, played a part. It is kind of a good news/bad news type of thing. The good news is that there is something behind our addiction. The bad news is that there is something behind it – which means, we may have to do some ongoing work to examine the drivers.
Module 5 – Moving On
This module is about establishing new ways of dealing with situations which will come up from time to time. In order to grow we must first look at what needs to change in our behaviors and thinking.
We begin to transition from looking at the old to how we are going to start building the new.
We also learn about the process of learning to let go of the past and look forward, free from the old behaviors which will keep us locked in our addiction if we aren’t willing to follow the prescribed path.
Module 6 – Cleaning Up
This section is often referred to as “cleaning up the wreckage of our past”. In 12 Step terms it is making amends. As difficult as it might sound, it is the part of our recovery that our family and friends have been waiting for.
Nothing will go as far or do as much good for our relationships than admitting how our addiction has impacted others.
If our family, friends and associates know nothing else about the 12 Steps, they know about amends and many of them will see our willingness to take this step as an indicator (rightly or wrongly) of our progress.
Apart from what they want or need from it, it is tremendously freeing for us to set matters right.
Module 7 – Keeping it Going
In this module we will do exercises and acquire tools to help us maintain our sobriety. Simply having the head knowledge and having done the homework from the previous modules will not keep us clean and sober.
We build safeguards and strategies which help us to maintain the momentum we have established.
Our old behaviors, patterns and thoughts are deeply ingrained, so it takes continuing effort to establish new ones to take their place. As we mentioned in the overview above, we need to build new neural pathways, and this takes time and effort on our part.
Module 8 – Working Your Recovery Plan
We review the work of the previous weeks in this module and acquire some more maintenance tools.
We are always guarding against relapse, so we look at relapse prevention and learn that relapse is a process, not an event. Relapse is just the end result of not using the tools we have acquired.
We also build a Recovery Plan that we know if we follow it and apply all the lessons we have learned and use all the tools we have been given, there is little chance we will relapse.
We put the tools in your hands – Tools that have worked for countless people. It is up to you to learn how to use them, apply them to your recovery, to your life, and make a contract with yourself to work the plan.