Our last blog focussed on what help is available if you identify that you have an unhealthy relationship with sex and/or pornography.  In the blog we explained that the recovery journey from sex addiction cannot be travelled alone.  You can do a lot of research on your own, put internet software blockers on your electronic devices and be determined that you want to change your life and beat the addiction.  However, we have found time and time again that most relapses or slips have been down to individuals trying to fight the addiction on their own strength and in isolation.  This blog will go into more depth of the value of personal therapy, groupwork and 12 step groups.

We are not designed to live in isolation

Human beings were not designed to live alone.  Our survival instinct is to find food, shelter and community.  We need to find a safe group of people to live with.  If we travel together as a group, it is less likely we are going to be picked off by a roaming lion!  In 2020, we still have that primal instinct in us.  We are often unaware of this instinct as it is second nature to us.  We can walk along the high street or sit in a coffee shop and be unaware that we are scanning the people near us (assuming we are not on our phone!).  We will be making millisecond judgments about the person.  Are they safe? Are they coming towards me? Are they going to sit next to me?  Do I know this person? 

Remember being at school? Can you remember the different type of groups that existed?  There would be the popular kids, the drama kids, the sporty kids, the nerds etc.   We have a biological need to be in a group and it is painful when we are excluded.  Sometimes we are told why we are excluded, and other times, we are left guessing.  We can be filled with shame, thinking that there is something deeply wrong with us and we isolate ourselves from others to prevent getting hurt further.

Shame isolates us

Shame is a corrosive feeling.  It nibbles away at our self-esteem and tells us that no one will like us or accept us if they ‘know’ what we think, or what we have done.  Shame robs us of the joy of sharing our life with people who can help us and show us kindness.  Addiction of any kind will breed shame and will escalate in isolation.  The first step in breaking free of sex addiction is letting someone know you have a problem.  Finding the right person to talk to is key, as you will want that person to support you as you travel along your recovery journey.

Counselling

Most people looking to stop their sex addiction and/or porn addiction will start by talking with a counsellor trained in sex addiction.  Working one to one with a counsellor is an opportunity to tell your unique story and gain a better understanding of yourself and how sex addiction became part of your story.  The counsellor will work with you to help you overcome your compulsive sexual behaviour, understand your triggers and create a new vision of what your life can look like without the addiction.  Counsellors also recommend you receive additional support in your recovery journey in the form of groupwork and 12 step groups.

Laurel Centre Groupwork

As well as personal therapy, the Laurel Centre recognises the vital need for clients to receive peer support.  One of the best ways in providing peer support is encouraging clients to attend the one-day Kick Start Workshop and the follow up intensive course or the 6-day residential recovery programme.  All these courses provide the opportunity for people struggling with addiction to come together and talk.  They also learn more about their addiction cycle and implement tools into their recovery plan.  89% of attendees of the 6-day residential recovery programme felt motivated to recover and change their lifestyle.  Many attendees create friendships from the groupwork and keep in touch regularly after the course.  One of the attendees of the 6-day residential recovery programme wrote his experience in a blog.  

12 step groups

Counsellors are not available 24-7.  This is where 12 step groups can provide support.  The two key UK 12 step groups for sex addiction and porn addiction are SAA (Sex Addicts Anonymous) and SLAA (Sex and Love Addicts Anonymous).  The groups meet once a week as well as providing support outside of their meetings.  This can be in the form of a ‘WhatsApps’ group, choosing a sponsor or selecting a few people in the group to stay in contact with.  This extra form of support can be vital when you have a wobble and need to talk to someone.  Everyone at the 12-step group is in the same boat and will understand.

We hope the above gives you more information on what support is out there as you start your recovery journey from sex addiction.