How can journaling, mindfulness and disclosure help your sex addiction recovery?
Journaling for Sex Addiction Recovery
I am currently in treatment for pornography addiction. My therapist wants me to journal a lot. My thinking is that this brings up feelings of wanting to act out which seems counterproductive to me. I’d like your thoughts on the importance of writing.
First of all, good for you for seeking help. It’s the necessary thing to do if you are struggling. Writing—journaling or dialoguing—will bring up strong feelings and thoughts and that can be triggering. You need to consider what exactly is being triggered when you are alone with your thoughts—are you talking them through with your counselor?
There’s a saying that we act out what we don’t feel. Writing is a way to get to that underlayer, and, let’s face it, sometimes it feels better to just not conjure up hard feelings but if your intention is to really change your behavior then getting to the emotional pieces is necessary.
Discuss your concerns with your counselor and try to find the right balance of doing the hard work and tending to yourself too.
Mindfulness for Recovery
I keep reading that mindfulness practices are an important part of recovery. What exactly is mindfulness and how can these practices help me?
I recently wrote a blog on Mindfulness that you may find helpful. Mindfulness is a mental state achieved by focusing one’s awareness on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging one’s feelings, thoughts, and body sensations. In other words, you notice what you’re feeling, but learn how to put it into proper context.
Whatever helps you to become present, become still can prove to a big help to you in your recovery. That may be meditations, walks in nature, yoga or any activity that grounds you. Addiction is about living in response to our own personal history and listening to the ongoing chatter of our thoughts. Mindfulness practices building awareness to not get hooked by those thoughts…to be alert to the fact that they are there but that they may not be actually factual.
Start slow and further research this topic and explore where you feel most comfortable.
Disclosure of Your Addiction
I struggle with how much I should tell my partner about my problems with my sex addiction. I’m not sure he would understand and I don’t want to hurt him. Is it absolutely necessary to share everything?
There is a saying in addiction that you are only as sick as your secrets. If you are holding on to a lot of secrets, then your relationship will certainly suffer from it. That being said, deciding what, when, and why to share depends on your own personal beliefs and what you and your partner have discussed as reasonable.
Defining the boundary lines of how much to share is an important step. Sometimes over-sharing can have the same adverse effect as not sharing at all as the need to release our own burden can create a heavy burden for someone who was not ready to hear it. If you have not already talked to your partner about your problematic behavior, start there. You both can discuss then the levels of detail and regularity to which you both agree. What you don’t want to do however is turn your partner into a watchdog and encourage a codependent relationship.