Life is not as we know it

When we published our last blog 2 weeks ago, we never could have imagined how much the world could change in such a short period of time.  Like many other businesses, the Laurel Centre has cancelled all upcoming events and closed its offices and we have no idea when that situation will end.  And like everyone reading this blog, we’re social distancing, working from home, if we can, and feeling a heightened sense of anxiety, for ourselves, our loved ones and our world.

Staying connected to your recovery

In the work we do we talk so much about the importance of connection.  Whether that’s with our clients in recovery from addiction or the partners who have been damaged by its effects.  We know from years of experience that addiction thrives in secrecy and shame, and the best way of breaking that, is to connect with others.  We understand that the root of most sex and porn addiction is an inability to manage painful feelings and situations.  The sexual behaviour then become a primary coping mechanism.  So, with that in mind, how much harder it must be for some who aren’t yet secure in their recovery.  The old triggers and temptations are there, perhaps even more so if you’re isolated and working from home.  If you are new in your recovery journey, we encourage you to reach out for help.  Many 12 step groups have moved online.  The Laurel Centre also offers individual therapy via Zoom or the telephone.  If you have been in recovery for some time, then please stay connected with your sponsor, therapist and support network.  We are in this together.

We also understand the isolation that partners feel as they work through the trauma of discovery and disclosure and how important it is for them to know they’re not alone in their struggles.  A main part of recovery for partners is about establishing boundaries and personal safety, something that may be particularly challenging at this time if they’re trapped in the house with the person who has hurt them.  Our forum has a specific section for partners of sex and porn addicts which we hope can be a place of support at this difficult time.  Our group of sex addiction trained counsellors can also offer online support.

As we cannot offer our usual support through our one-day workshops, groupwork and face to face therapy, we are developing more online services beyond the 8-week recovery course…. more details to follow soon.

Connecting with your self

All of us are being forced to live in a different way; to change our routines and habits.  Life cannot continue as normal.  And as we come to terms with the fact that self-isolation may continue for many weeks, perhaps months, we also realise we can’t simply wait to get back to normal.  To survive this crisis, we must find new ways of caring for ourselves and for prioritising what’s most important in our lives.  Conversely, this crisis is also helping us to look beyond our own individual needs and circumstances.  Thousands of people are losing loved ones every day and many more may lose their livelihoods.  I read the other day that along with the rapid spread of Covid-19, there’s been a pandemic in altruism.  Thousands of people are volunteering their time to help support others.  Our communities have perhaps never been stronger.  This crisis offers all of us the opportunity to expand our capacity for gratitude, whether that’s the kindness of a neighbour, or managing to find toilet roll!!

The bottom line is this, whilst none of us would have chosen to be in this situation, each of us can choose how we get through it.  The challenges will be great, whether you’re someone with an addiction or a partner.  But we can use this time as an opportunity to practice greater self-care, to develop new healthy routines and past-times; to focus on what we have, rather than what we don’t have; to cultivate patience and sensitivity with those we share our homes with; to demonstrate compassion for those whose situation is worse than our own.

Recovery from addiction and betrayal trauma is never easy and it’s undoubtedly harder now, but it’s certainly not impossible.