Sex Addiction As An Illness

Sexual addiction is an illness. It’s solitary, dehumanizing, and satisfies only itself. Contrary to love, it’s fleeting. It causes people to abuse their bodies. It distances us from our emotions, destroys good feelings about ourselves. It therefore causes people to be broken and alone.

Dr. Patrick Carnes, sex therapist and author of “Out of the Shadows: Understanding Sexual Addiction,” provides an operational definition of sexual addiction: “a pathological relationship with a mood-altering experience.” Contrary to real love, the sex addict obsesses over and depends on sex for comfort from inner pain. He or she uses it for nurturing, relief from stress etc.

Once, I heard a married man saying that he has sex with multiple women because “God is love.” Indeed, the notion of sexual addiction can be confused like that! It’s also confused with what is positive and legitimately pleasurable in married love enjoyed by the “normal” population. As life unravels, the sex addict despairs, helplessly stucked in the cycle of shame, degradation, and danger. Like a broken car, the sex addict needs a mechanic!

Nowadays, people need education and a clearer perspective about sexual addiction as an illness. Often this is obscured by media and by our reluctance to face sexual issues – personally, professionally, and publicly. The illness is further masked by secrecy and shame that inherently characterizes it.

The world is full of helpless sexual addicts in need of help.

Money and Mental Health

Howard, a senior citizen, hoards. He stashes money in the bank, which he says is for his future. He does not want to let his adult children know about it. So when he flies away, his children will not be aware of any of their father’s huge savings.

In the meantime, Howard makes his children feel obligated to give to him a monthly allowance. He always feel insecure and worried regarding his material needs.

Money often reveals your state of mental health. Money “drug” can be like sex, power, alcohol or marijuana. The more you lust, the more you become dissatisfied!

It never stands still. It keeps grasping. It is addictive. To be fulfilled, you’ve to keep increasing the dosage of this drug-of-choice. That’s when it develops into a kind of mental health problem we can call “greed.”

In Howard’s case, the problem is not the saving of money. There are indeed times in our lives that need economy. The problem is the greed that motivates the saving of money.

This greed is both psychological and emotional as much as it’s also spiritual. The anxiety over money that underlies the hoarding has much deeper roots that need to be attended to.

Signs of Life Healing

If you’ve been reading my site, it means you’re open to search your mind and heart. It means you’re open to look at the process of recovery that could enhance your life rather than limit it. If you’re reading this blog, it’s because of what’s right for you, not what’s wrong.

It had taken John five years to get to this point. He found himself counting his blessings and feeling good after coming from work. Days afterward, it occurred to John that not once were the reminders of his wife’s infidelity and abandonment a painful experience any longer. His recovery had given him a wonderful sense of acceptance, freedom, and new meaning in life helping others heal.

Definitely, recovering from a significant emotional trauma wound is not comfortable work. It requires commitment, consistency, a level of open-mindedness, much courage and willingness. And above all, a determination to take the needed series of small steps and actions that must be made by you. No one can do life recovery for you but you. Nobody else can recover you. With the right tools and support, you can discover and tap hidden strength within your self to recover.

When you’ve reached a certain breakthrough point in your life recovery, here are some positives that happen:

… you feel better
… you find new purpose for the pain without fears
… you start to be able to have memories without having them precipitate painful feelings of guilt, remorse, loss, or betrayal
… you become quick to forgive those who hurt you
… you realize that it’s ok to feel bad at times no matter how those around you react
… you begin to locate your security within your self
… you become skilled in claiming circumstances instead of your circumstances claiming your happiness
… you become free and equipped in helping others get through their loss or trauma

Room To Become

Like so many, I’m inclined to always be flying away. This solemn week spurs me to something healthy: stopping. Simple. Refreshing. Just doing nothing for the purpose of becoming more conscious. More aware of what may lie underneath memories.

Remembering Anne. I’m talking college here many years back. This classmate of mine was magnetic on campus. Pretty, confident, a free spirit. Her leadership influenced many students far beyond the perimeter of our class batch. Fluttering and flying, a quiet specimen of beauty, butterfly like.

Well, I myself, on campus, was news too. In the varsity champion limelight … clearly noted in the university papers. I was an influencer, a leader myself, like Anne. Does that imply I was like her spirit or I liked her? Am I leaving that impression? If so, I’m not fully communicating here. Anne was a butterfly, remember … I was a raging hawk! Though classmates, seeing each day, I snubbed her for no clear reason, even when she’s reaching out. Something must be wrong with my psyche.

But that’s long ago! The lessons about me from there on for the next decades have matured, tested by triumph and tragedy alike. Clearly, I was at one point in my life, when I was not free … limited, shy. A lonely, angry youth. My personality had rough edges. I was inside my cocoon, afraid of something. Anne, the secure, had no net around her, which was why she could do her own kind of flying. I missed that part for my self.

Have you been a fragile butterfly who needs room to become? Do you need space to spread your wings outside the cocoon of fear, anger, or timidity? Do you need to realize that you have color all your own, that you have beauty and grace beyond the fences surrounding your own garden? There is a way you know … it’s there waiting for you to see and discover. If you choose to emerge out of your cocoon eclipsed beneath the shadow of life … still, silent, slowly you learn to flutter and flourish, like a beautiful butterfly in flight, finally free.

OFWs and Parenting

I call some parents “ghost parents” because they haunt children and homes they neglect, deprive, or leave behind. Yes, they exist. But you and I may not easily know what it really is and their destructive effects.

Most “ghost parents” are male, but some are female. You heard of parents who didn’t become involved in the lives of their children. Some are distracted or distanced by money or work, others by affairs. Some are separated or divorced, some see child-rearing as beneath them. Some are abusive, emotionally and even physically.

In the Philippines, we have a social reality called the “OFW phenomenon.” I know of an OFW mother who had an affair and traded her three very young kids for that and an overseas job in the Middle East to join her affair partner. Emotionally traumatized, the youngsters grew restless and confused, waiting long hours every day by the house gate. They were simplistically told that Mom works abroad “for you” (omitting the adultery detail).

Reliable government statistics show a rising rate of broken marriages and families among OFWs. A number of years ago as head of a national association of colleges, Dr. Vicente K. Fabella studied the impact of OFWs’ family separation. His study showed that one in every four OFW spouses separate. And up to two in five OFW children drop out of college because of lack of parental guidance.

Am I stepping on some toes as I write this? Very good! I join a global mental health battle to save the seed. “Ghost parents” are definitely one of the frequent and most damaging sources of psychopathology among individuals, marriages, and families today. I bled for all the children of “ghost parents.”

Healing Infancy

Yesterday, I was sharing with a couple that the first stage of trust begins inside the mother’s womb. Not after birth, based upon current research in prenatal psychology. Inside the mother’s womb, the fetus-child is already sensitive to the love of both mother and father even long before actual birth.

As I continued processing with the couple, I discovered how much their own individual histories of conception, infancy, and childhood have been hurt by inadequate parental love and trust. As a result, due to incomplete healing of ancient hurts, this couple find themselves continuously hurting themselves and each other in the present.

Psychotherapists R.D. Laing, David Cheek, Frank Lake, and D.S. Winnicott believe that most mental disorders begin in the womb. This includes psychosis, a most serious form of mental illness in which a person has completely withdrawn from reality, as well as the less serious one, neurosis, which characterizes a lot of many others. They did find a direct one-to-one link between severe stresses in the mother during pregnancy and later psychopathology and emotional problems in the child.

One of the most dramatic illustrations of this is the work of psychotherapist Dr. Andrew Feldmar. He had patients who each attempted suicide every year, which he discovered would be the anniversary of their 2nd or 3rd month in the womb. When Dr. Feldmar investigated their histories, he discovered that the dates of their suicide attempts were when their mothers attempted to abort them during conception.

Dr. Feldmar also discovered that, not only was the timing of each patient’s suicide attempt a “Deja Vu” of an earlier maternal abortion attempt, but even the methods used were similar. One patient whose mother tried to kill him with a needle attempted suicide by razor blade. Another, whose mother had used chemicals, attempted suicide with drug overdose. When Dr. Feldmar helped his patients to realize that their suicidal attempts were really long-hidden memories of their mothers’ attempts to kill them while in the womb, they begun to heal and be free of the compulsion to commit suicide.

A Secret Key To Life Change

Every time we sleep, there is no absolute certainty that we shall wake up. It’s simply outside anyone’s human control.

Life ebbs away ceaselessly. Days and nights reek with the smell of necessary endings. We all die after we live this fleeting life on earth.

Yet, despite this inevitable fact, lots of us remain in denial. We prefer to think of death as a farfetched possibility. It happens to others, not to us.

In contrast, something therapeutic happens when you accept and prepare for this sure reality. By accepting that life on earth is temporary, you begin to heal and grow.

You do, for each day could be the last you have.

By accepting death as a looming possibility, trivial pursuits and problems lose their importance. They are no longer killing. Addictions shed off their seductive power.

And finally … All things that have long been difficult to give up are suddenly easy to let go. You become who you truly are. Your real, growing self.