Congratulations! If you have committed to attending 12 Step meetings, you have decided that you want a life in recovery. Using the 12 Steps is an excellent way to regain control of your life, but it’s not enough. While being close to a group that shares your problems can be a rewarding experience, there are areas of your life that are not addressed in 12-Step meetings. Additionally, the people in your Tuesday night sexual recovery groups are not equipped to deal with your unique circumstances. For that, you need a qualified sex addiction therapist.
Here’s why a sex addiction therapist is needed:
• Group therapy sessions may seem to be the same as 12-Step meetings, but there is one very important difference. In 12-step meetings, addicts share their stories, and feedback is discouraged, whereas, in group therapy, advice and suggestions from others in the group are strongly encouraged. While sharing happens in both groups, only in group therapy is it reciprocal, supplying valuable coping skills for the addict.
• The second promise of the 12 Promises of AA states, “We will not regret the past nor wish to turn our backs on it.” Exploring the past is essential to recovery. Sex addiction often has its roots in trauma, and it is necessary for a sex addiction therapist to help you handle that exploration.
• Disclosure to your partner is vital to your recovery. This must be handled with the greatest of care and a lot of preparation is necessary before you attempt it. Many therapists recommend that disclosure be performed in their presence in order to help handle any possible reactions from your partner.
• Porn addiction has a compulsivity component that needs to be addressed by a mental health professional. Talking about it in meetings will help, but not make it go away or help you to control it entirely.
• Re-establishing trust in a relationship takes time, patience, as well as the guidance of a sex addiction counselor. Without the tools a therapist can provide, the relationship may flounder and die.
• Oftentimes, partners need therapists to help them understand their own co-dependence with their sexually addicted partners. A sex addiction therapist is eminently qualified to handle your partner’s issues.
The bottom line is that it’s unwise to choose between using the 12 Steps and using a sex addiction therapist. Instead, use both. In 12 Step meetings, you will gain the community that you need to help you continue in your recovery, and therapy will give you the tools to uncover your core issues as well as how to handle the many aspects of recovery.