Can Two Sex Addicts Heal Each Other?
anonymous Asks ...
Is it ever possible for 2 sex addicts to get together to heal each other? This sounds stupid but I met this girl at a Sex Addicts 12 steps meeting last week and I can’t get her out of my mind because it is like she is the first person I have ever met who understands me. People at the meeting are freaking like it’s the worst idea ever. We are doing it, of course. But I feel like we can help each other. She is 2 months into recovery and I am 3 weeks.
Mark Hughes Says ...
One of the things you will know about addiction is that it is incredibly difficult to resist, so having met this girl you will find it very hard to stop the addict in you from taking over.
Asking me if you might heal each other may mean you can see some real possibility of healing here, or it may just be you are wanting help rejecting the advice you are finding very difficult to accept. Maybe a bit of both? Who is in charge here - who is asking this question? Is it the addict, or is it a part of you that wants to heal? It will be easy for the addict to say it is a part that wants to heal. If it was genuinely a part that knows this is could heal, do you think you'd need to ask me about it, or would you just know to trust what is a genuine good choice for you, rather than the addict grabbing for the addiction?
I can't give you any reassurance about whether you might heal yourself. At some stage the healing would ideally involve being able to act in moderation, but three weeks into a programme I doubt you are anywhere near this. As an addict healing will mean overcoming the addictive behaviour, which means finding a way for you to resume control of your actions in situations where you are currently unable to do so. This needs to happen first, and the return to the source of the addiction done in ways designed to avoid a return to additive behaviour. The twelve step programme attempts to support you in this process, but you have abandonded it so I'm not optimistic about you gaining healing in this relationship.
Let's suppose this relationship plays out like others. On reflection you may judge one way or the other and decide to give the programme another try, or you might find it hard to return having ignored the advice unless they offered that advice in a sufficiently supportive way for you.
I know people who have benefitted from this programme in the UK, but I have not experienced it. I imagine it works well for some but not all. Either because you need to start it at the right time, or because you need something else.
Whatever is the case for you. You need enough will to want to change, which ultimately comes from the level of pain and other difficulty your current behaviour is causing to you and those you care about.
I suggest you give some attention to that. Are you ready for twelve step? Have you suffered enough or do you need one or several more addictive relationships? Ask yourself what it will take for you to really be ready to change and when you are, how will you you do it - could you do it on your own or are you going to need to listen to advice and ask for support when you struggle to follow it?
I can't answer those questions for you any more than whether you might get healing in an addictive relationship. What is your experience? Has it happened before? Do you believe it is happening now, and if so what is the evidence? Is your behaviour better than in the past or are the same patterns here again?
As a counsellor I respect your choices and encourage you to reflect and take time to examine how they affect you, and what will be the best for you in each situation, and ultimately help you to make better choices over time.
I think it is very encouraging that you want to heal - it means you can see the harm the addiction is doing and have a wish to change that. Going to twelve step even for three weeks takes some doing, so you can take credit for not just wanting to heal, but having a go. Each move you make towards healing may not feel significant, but they all count, so you can be proud of your achievement in getting this far and learning a little more will help you make the next move, whether that is with twelve step, this girl, or another way.
I wish you luck, and hope you find the healing you seek.