Trauma is common to most sex addicts. It may have been emotional, spiritual, physical or sexual abuse and/or neglect. Trauma comes in many shapes, sizes and forms. It is a very important piece in your psychological recovery.
Being a victim of trauma, abandonment and neglect myself, I have had to work through trauma personally and it has been healing to do so. I find my clients are ready to work on their trauma issues after about 45 days clean in recovery.
A common clinical term used in the treatment of addictions and traumas is disassociation. Disassociation simply means that the addict disconnects from himself. Many sexual abuse victims survive the pain of their past through disconnecting. These victims most likely disconnected during their trauma as well. Disconnecting while growing up in a dysfunctional home may have been a survival tool where the environment was not supportive.
If you are a victim of trauma, there are techniques you can use to address trauma. First, identify what your trauma was. As you go through your feelings, you may go through some recall of what has been traumatizing to you. As a person whose feelings are frozen, you may not realize what actually was trauma, but as you thaw out in your recovery, trauma may become more obvious to you. As you complete step four and step five from the 12-step program, you will discover more information that will lead you to believe there has been trauma in your life.
When you identify the trauma, make a list of the incidents so you know what you are going to be dealing with. You will need a competent professional to help you through your trauma. You can visit aasat.org for help in finding a trained therapist to help you heal. There are cognitive exercises as well as writing exercises to work through the trauma.
I believe if you deal with trauma early in your recovery, you will be more successful. Trauma work is essential for successful sex addiction recovery. Without it, you keep the psychological pain. With that pain, you keep the drive to medicate within you. This is not what you need to do to yourself. You are worth recovery, and having the best life possible. But you will need to open up the secrets you have kept inside. Secrets can keep you sick and in your addiction. If you are keeping a trauma secret, it is important that you get honest. Many sex addicts have been sexually abused by older women, men or a family member and don’t call it abuse or neglect. I have had clients who could not acknowledge events as abuse; they ended up expanding the length of their recovery considerably. Once you have identified these traumas, you will want to begin working on them.
Sadly, trauma is one of the several reasons someone can become addicted. The trauma-based sex addict has experienced trauma(s) as a child or adolescent. This trauma becomes the major repetitive behavior in their sexual addiction.
You are worth recovery! It may be hard work at times to peel through some of the layers you might have, but you are worth the final freedom.
Doug Weiss, Ph.D., is a nationally known author, speaker and licensed psychologist. He is the executive director of Heart to Heart Counseling Center in Colorado Springs, Colorado, and the author of several books, including The Final Freedom. You may contact Dr. Weiss via his website, drdougweiss.com or on hisFacebook, by phone at 719-278-3708 or through email at firstname.lastname@example.org.