Discovery to Recovery Part 2: Emotional Impact and Emotional Restitution
Couples who have struggled with the enormity of damage caused by sexual addiction often feel hopeless and helpless. When they think of the long road from discovery of the problem to recovery and reconnection, it can seem daunting and endless. However, many couples do find help and they find recovery and they reconnect in ways that are beyond what they ever allowed themselves to believe possible.
Disclosure is the first step to relationship repair, however, it often feels more damaging than reparative. The honesty involved in disclosure and the willingness to hear what will undoubtedly be hurtful information about betrayal are important parts of healing for most couples. What happens after disclosure is just as important, if not more so. Emotional impact and emotional restitution work are the next steps supported by experts in the sex addiction field.
Emotional impact provides a chance for the partner to express the impact that the addict’s behaviors have had on them. Partners often do not feel truly heard and do not feel as though their emotions have been a priority in the addict’s recovery. Emotional impact work is the chance for the partner to really be empowered in having time that is solely dedicated to their emotions being genuinely heard.
Emotional restitution work provides a chance for the addict to demonstrate that they have heard and fully understand the emotional wreckage their behaviors have caused. Addicts have a chance to show that they are able to respond to the emotional needs of their partner. This goes beyond the making of amends, to a deeper emotional comprehension and an honoring of the betrayed partner.
These important recovery tasks need to happen in an environment that is safe, and in a way where both parties feel supported. Rio Retreat Center at The Meadows, in collaboration with Dr. Ken Adams, has designed a workshop that accomplishes these tasks and more. The Discovery to Recovery Intensive Series for Couples Healing, Part 2 focuses on the necessary work of emotional impact and emotional restitution. Here are excerpts of feedback provided about the workshop from two recent partner participants:
“We were supported with the entire process of identifying how we felt, really felt, as a result of our experiences. We were helped in finding our words to express what we hold inside and made to feel safe in sharing. Our hurt, our pain, our betrayal, our vulnerability was all validated; we were allowed and encouraged to feel. We were guided in the process through dialogue, ‘lectures,’ tools, and strategies on how to construct our impact letters to convey and prepare to share the message we needed our partner to hear, to feel, and to process. We were supported and prepared in being able to receive the response and emotional restitution letters of our partners. Most importantly, we were able to see each other as people, and as the partners we once fell in love with and shared so much with, while still being allowed to hang on to and own our pain.”
“I want to express my gratitude for the Discovery to Healing workshop you created at The Meadows. I struggled with whether or not I should attend – concerned that I was either going to be met with more roadblocks to healing or, worse, be further traumatized. But, instead what I found was a sacred space, one in which I could feel protected and safe enough to show up, be seen and get beyond my “go to” responses/feelings of anger, betrayal, and grief. And what I also found that was completely unexpected was the path back to me – the person that I had lost somewhere between the confusion and pain of sex addiction.”
“The care, wisdom and enormous commitment that went into creating this experience is obvious. I will forever be grateful.”
“I would very highly recommend this program to any and every couple going through the traumas of sexual addiction. The experience is equally valuable and necessary for both the addict and for the partner. The experience of a week-long intensive workshop is probably equivalent to a year’s worth of one hour 1-1 therapy visits in that you discover, understand, and work on so much in a short, intensive period of time”
This work requires embarking on a journey that makes no promises and has no guaranteed outcome. It requires courage, willingness, trust in the process, and faith in yourself. If this sounds like the next step for you and your relationship, contact our intake department at 1-800-244-4949 or you can find more information about the Discovery to Recovery workshops here.