When recovering from SSA (Sexual Stimulation Addiction – masturbation, pornography, and/or sex addiction) and Betrayal Trauma, there are going to be things that get in the way. Many times, when we talk with clients and potential clients struggling with SSA & BT the very objections they share are the reasons they are not moving forward.
The most common reasons you’re not moving forward in recovery is the sick cycle carousel, time, money, and priority being your objections. What do all those things have in common? It’s you. I don’t want to necessarily offend you by this, but I also don’t want to let you believe that you don’t have the choice to recover. You choose recovery on a daily basis or you don’t. Recovery is important to you or it’s not.
My husband and I were there too. It took him a year of trying to quit secretly alone failing and then some months of dragging his feet before he committed to recovery. It took him understanding that he was going to lose me if he didn’t “get his shit together.” That is an example of the Hermès’ Hiatus stage for the addict, which is the time between a discovery of a betrayal, D’Day, until the end of transgression of boundaries; the beginning of recovery. It is that delay that starts on D’Day and ends when genuine recovery effort begins.
1. The Sick Cycle Carousel
This is where you are on this carousel going around and around, endlessly in circles. You think things are going better because you’re also going up and down while going around and around. Those “ups” are not real. They feel real, you think progress is happening, only for there to be another down (betrayal a week/month/year down the line) and you realize recovery never started.
As the addict, you’re the one controlling this Carousel. You think things are going well when you don’t have an urge, and you relapse, and of course you don’t want to tell your partner, and they’ve been questioning you lately. You then decide to throw some amazing gesture in there (flowers, a date, sex, etc.) to make your partner think you’re getting better; all the while, you’re not moving forward.
In this stage both the addict and the betrayed partner are living in fantasy and in denial. In this stage the betrayed genuinely has no idea, until a couple months/years show a pattern of this and then they realize what’s going on, but sometimes they feel they don’t know how to get off the Carousel. As the addict this is where you feel safest – you get to keep your addiction a secret and you get to keep your partner.
In the end, if this Carousel doesn’t stop turning (i.e. if the addict doesn’t choose recovery) and if the betrayed doesn’t get off of it (i.e. doesn’t choose recovery) this will be their fate until it leads to further abuse and divorce. Either the addict stops it and the betrayed gets off, or the addict walks away from it and the betrayed gets off, or the betrayed will get thrown off and someone else will ride the ride.
Life should be a Ferris Wheel; not a Carousel. You want to be in the same seat with your partner to handle life’s ups and downs, not one partner creating and controlling the ups and downs. -Chloe Sutherland
I can’t tell you how many addicts and betrayed tell us they just don’t have the time for recovery. I feel so saddened and just want to scream, “Don’t have the time?! Are you serious?!” But I am the soft-hearted coach at The Mod and usually approach it with, “addiction is a progressive disease. If you don’t address this now, things will get worse.”
People who say they don’t have time for recovery are most likely either scared or recovery isn’t a priority. If they are scared of change and growth, well that’s normal! But that should not stop them from committing. Scared isn’t an excuse not to change. And if recovery truly isn’t a priority to them, basically it means they are willing to live with the current situation.
Are you really willing to live this way for the rest of your life? No, the better question is are you willing to live with this, and much worse, for the rest of your life? Without recovery things will go downhill from here. If you think your current situation is unlivable, try fast forwarding a couple years with no help and you will see that today is a walk in the park compared to the damage and devastation this addiction will bring in a couple years without intervention.
I can tell you that nothing in this world will come for free, and recovery is no different. For those who complain or object to the money it saddens me because it means they are limiting themselves.
People spend money on things that are important to them; end of story. I am usually frugal, but if it’s something important to me, like recovery, transformation, family, etc., I will invest the money (even if I have to use a credit card and spend months paying it off).
At The Mod we believe in team approaches because team approaches get shit done. I cannot tell you how amazing it is to have a team of experts there for you in your recovery. When I was in treatment for anorexia, I had dietitians, therapists, psychiatrists, doctors, etc. They all helped me heal. Without any one of them, it wouldn’t have worked or stuck.
Same goes for SSA & BT, if you have a team of doctors, therapists, psychiatrists, and coaches, and you’re committed to recovery, nothing should stop you. But as you can see there are a lot of professionals listed, and that means, not spending, but investing in yourself and your partner.
If you’re not spending money on recovery, ask yourself this: “Do you not believe you will change, or do you not believe in the professional you’re seeking help from?” Which one is it?
For me, the treatment center I went to cost $90k the first time around, $45k the second time around and $30K the third time around and $30k the last time around if I didn’t have insurance, and whether I had insurance or not my family and I were willing to get me better. So why did it take so many times? For one, the first time around I was in denial that I had a problem. Second time and third time around, I was motivated but their approach was not working for me as a patient. The fourth time around, I went to a different treatment center and their approach worked for me.
The treatment centers without insurance were $1k/day in OUTPATIENT treatment. That meant I went there either for a full or half day depending on where I was in my recovery. But here is the thing, in the end it worked. I still have my rough times, but I have the skills, knowledge, and the ability to not fall into relapses anymore, and to continue to work on my health and mindset. My family and I were willing to pay whatever it took, whether we had insurance or not for me to get better. Anorexia was a life or death. My life mattered!
What would you do if this was your child suffering from this? Would you not find a way to invest in recovery?
My husband’s life mattered too! When we were in the early days (only months after Discovery Day- D’Day), my husband and I invested in recovery. We invested money we didn’t have to make sure my husband had a chance to recover and for our relationship not to end. We went into debt, and I can tell you that no amount of financial stress wasn’t worth every penny we paid for where we are today. My husband is over 3 years clean. When a SSA hits over 5 years, they are considered recovered, and only 5% of SSA’s make it there. Think about that! Can you imagine how that percentage would change if people invested and committed themselves to recovery?
Your life matters, too! This addiction and trauma are also life and death. I’ve known addicts who have attempted suicide over their shame. I’ve known partners who’ve attempted suicide as well. This is no laughing matter. So, what are you willing to invest in your life and your health? That’s really what it comes down to at the end of the day. Are you not willing to invest in yourself because you feel you’re unworthy? I am here to tell you that you are 100% worthy of help and getting better.
What is This Costing You To Do Nothing?
As the addict, what are you losing right now? Are you losing the ability to get an erection and have sex because you’ve got PIED (porn induced erectile dysfunction)? Are you losing money because you’re not committed to your job/career because you’re too busy getting off in the bathroom at work or in your car? Are you losing money because you’re spending hundreds or thousands of dollars on pornography and cam girls? Are you losing money on your physical/emotional affair? Are you losing time with family because you’re isolating yourself out of shame? Are you losing support because your addiction is taking over? Are you losing your family because they’ve had it and this is the last straw? Are you losing your marriage because your addiction is more important than your partner?
As the betrayed, what are you currently losing? Are you losing sleep because you wake up in a panic because you know your husband sneaks off in the middle of the night to use? Are you losing/gaining weight because of you’re inability to regulate eating? Are you losing money because you have to take more mental health days because you simply cannot get out of bed in the morning? Are you losing yourself not able to recognize the person right before you? Are you losing your sanity staying in this abusive and isolating marriage not reaching out for help? Are you losing your children’s innocence because they were the ones to bring “daddy’s dirty pictures” to your attention? Are you experiencing physical symptoms like vomiting, hair loss, chronic pain, anxiety because of all of this? Are you losing your marriage and stability because you don’t know what to do? Are you losing your sense of self worth because you’re not standing up for yourself?
The Take Away?
When we talk to potential clients we tell them all the above when they have objections. Objections are merely psychological defenses that rise to “protect” yourself from change and the unknown.
I can tell you that the unknown is better than what you’re living with right now. I can tell you that committing to recovery today means you won’t experience the escalation of this addiction and trauma. I can tell you that if you make the decision to commit to recovery today, you’ll be thankful years down the line when you look back and say, “My life could have ended had I not chosen recovery.”