Effective treatment of sexual addictions involves addressing both the addiction AND the underlying trauma. It is true, one may be treated in lieu of the other. A person may resolve much of their past trauma and still struggle with compulsive, addictive behaviors. Additionally, they may cease the specific sexually addictive behaviors, which brought them into treatment, while maintaining their trauma wounds and propensity to self-sooth compulsively in other areas of their life. They become the classic “dry drunk,” meaning, I still have the issues, I just don’t use sex to deal with them anymore.
I have found, depending on the nature of the trauma, ceasing the addictive behavior becomes the “easy” part of recovery, if there is such a thing. The individual’s trauma, fueling underlying feelings of fear, hurt, loneliness and other emotions difficult for them to handle is the truly difficult work. It may be a tongue and cheek statement, but I have mused with many clients that quitting the “sex” part of the addiction was the easy part, to have them smile and agree fully.
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