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If you are struggling/have struggled with sex addiction or porn addictions, you know how difficult it can be. My clients' capacities to take a stand for themselves and choose to win continues to inspire me. I think this story of sex addiction recovery will inspire you too.
For me, the final piece of the puzzle goes like this: all the tricks and techniques that I’ve learned will amount to nothing if I don’t decide, once and for all, that I am going to run my life and not let my addict run my life. All the dialoguing, all the sex addiction therapy sessions, all the chapter summaries, all the emails…can only take me so far. At the end of the day, I simply have to decide that enough is enough. This can be summed up in a simple word: WIN.
TAKING A STAND WITH MY SUB-PERSONALITIES
I have learned that now that I am an adult, I can choose the standards I want to live by. I can choose whether I want to live with the same old coping strategies developed in childhood (which have never worked and have only served to create further “meta-shame” for me) or whether I want to take a stand and say “never again” to those addictive coping strategies and start living a real, genuine life. You tell me that I also should take a stand in my amphitheater, telling each and every addictive sub-personality that it is game-over.
You suggest that I reward myself once I have clearly taken a stand because my life is going to start reaching new limits. Those new limits themselves can be the reward, or I could get something I have always wanted. Because for the first time in a long time, I feel like I actually deserve it.
THE BIGGEST RISK OF MY LIFE
In a way, I took my stand against my addict on the day I finally decided to tell my wife everything — this time truly everything. That moment was different than any other previous attempt I had made in my sex addiction recovery. In that moment, I took a leap of faith and bet the farm. I took the biggest risk of my life – the risk that I may not be able to raise my own kids because I knew that if I didn’t tell my wife what I had been doing, we would never truly know each other, and our entire lives would be wasted in a relationship that was only a facade. It was the most significant turning point in my life. It was then that I took my stand.
MY LINE IN THE SAND
Since that day, I have felt very different than I had other times I have tried to stop. Since that day I have had virtually no addictive urges at all. I go to SLAA groups and people are talking about withdrawal and urges and slips and relapses and while I can relate to them about the shame of being a sex addict, I can’t relate to them on those other things. Because I have already taken my stand. The thought of going back is just as bad as the thought of jumping off the Brooklyn Bridge.
I am 42 years old, and in a way it seems pitifully late to finally take this stand, to finally grow up. But now that I have, each day is such a unique, beautiful eternity which I appreciate so much more than days of the past. I feel so much more, and so much more deeply. I am seeing new possibilities open in my life. I am seeing my relationship with my wife blossom. We are discovering a level of intimacy we had never known even as we continue through the rough patches of her pain.
I feel I am no longer living behind a fake self. I feel I am no longer waiting for some ambiguous time in the future to “start living life”. I feel completely satisfied with the present moment almost all the time, instead of feeling dissatisfied with the present moment most of the time.
I need two hours less sleep per night than I used to, but I feel more awake and alive. I have woken up and realized I have a spectacularly good life, a perfect wife, two beautiful kids. We both have secure, good-paying jobs with amazing benefits in a time of global economic insecurity. We live in a great city that is perfect for families. I get to work in an amazing field helping to settle international disputes.
I have opened my eyes and realized I am married to the woman of my dreams. With each passing day, it is seeming more and more like she is actually going to forgive me for this, or at least stay with me despite this. I get to take her on dates and enjoy an incredible closeness together, which we had never truly experienced before.
The line in the sand has been drawn. There is not one good reason to go back and a million good reasons to stay. WIN.
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