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Wednesday, 01 October 2014 17:52

Unity and Recovery in Sex Addiction Treatment

Amy Sohler, MPA, MA, LMHC, CDP, MHP, CSAT c, EMDR

Unity is our most cherished quality. We find a greater personal freedom than any other society knows. In that sense, our society is a benign anarchy. The word 'anarchy' has a bad meaning to most of us… But I think that the gentle Russian prince who so strongly advocated the idea felt that men would voluntarily associate themselves in the common interest.
— Bill Wilson, co-founder of Alcoholics Anonymous, 1957

In the practice of mutual aid, which we can retrace to the earliest beginnings of evolution, we thus find the positive and undoubted origin of our ethical conceptions; and we can affirm that in the ethical progress of man, mutual support — not mutual struggle — has had the leading part.
— Peter Kropotkin, Russian Prince

Introduction

In 12-step meetings it is repeatedly said, “keep coming back,” and people do. People of different ethnicities, spiritual paths, opinions, perspectives, sexual orientation, and gender feel included enough to do so.

Why is this? The answer to that could take many forms, but it is my intention to strip the question of inclusivity down to its core principles, in the spirit of “keeping it simple.”

Anonymity is a great equalizing factor. Anonymity creates equality, addicts are all bound together by a common purpose, no matter where they come from or who they are, there is no power grabbing, no charismatic leadership in the seeking of common welfare: recovery. Here at Gentle Path at The Meadows, this takes the form of confidentiality; of the name, geographic and vocational identifiers, and bottom line behaviors. What we all see here, and hear here, stays here, and that’s for life. This is the place to leave all your secrets in the heart of the Sonoran Desert, come clean, reduce core shame of your addict behaviors, and work on recovery.

Other concepts in the therapeutic milieu of inpatient treatment which create a safe space to heal are mutual aid and voluntary cooperation: codified in early 12-step history so strongly that it created a mini-social transformation; the creation of a community, culture, and society which actively disengages from power differentials. The ‘common good’ is recovery.

Using The Meadows Model, addicts are educated and do therapeutic work on their early trauma which created relational difficulties in adulthood. Children who have been emotionally neglected are not modeled or taught the concepts of being cared for and caring for others (mutual aid) for the betterment of the whole. Children who came from enmeshed families did not learn cooperation—they were not allowed to develop a sense of self or have natural consequences to their actions. Everything may have been done for them, or there may have been no incentive to cooperate other than financial. Sex addiction is a family disease, and prevalent in family styles that do not value voluntary cooperation and mutual aid. These are crucial elements of successful adult relationships, and if your family of origin did not prize them, it’s time to learn and practice.

Sex addiction, in particular, is a devastating relational disease. Symptoms of poor attachments to primary caregivers in early childhood, the effects of which keeps us separated and isolated within our addiction, are successfully mitigated to a significant degree through learning and practicing mutual aid and voluntary cooperation. A unique experience in treatment is practicing of new relational skills; a key component of which is egalitarian relationships, or not using a ‘one-up’ or ‘one-down’ style of communication. Patients practice authenticity; work actively on reducing conflict avoidance, lack of accountability, rage, and dishonesty, all of which are the hallmarks of the addictive relationship style.

Patients at Gentle Path at The Meadows are immersed in Sex Addicts Anonymous (SAA)—a 12-step program focusing on the particular issues of sex addicts. These 12-step experiences are one of the rare instances in our era of being a part of a transformative community, created upon and still utilizing an egalitarian, mutual aid structure.

Sex addiction treatment gives you solid tools upon which to build a new foundation and create harmonious relationships.

Contact Us Today

Every journey begins with one step. To learn more about Gentle Path at The Meadows, or if you have an immediate need, please contact us at 855-333-6076.

Last modified on Monday, 24 April 2017 19:53

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