First Steps for Sex Addicts
If you’re beginning to realize you have a problem with sexual addiction (or are heading down that road) or you’re already certain you need help, here are some first steps you can take.
Talk to someone about your problem.
According to a slogan from the Twelve Steps, we’re as sick as our secrets. Tell someone else about your struggle and ask for help. It’s not enough to just confess your sin to God. Simply being honest with someone helps relieve the shame and start a healing process.
Learn more about the problem and the solution.
Reading is the best place to start. If you’re male, get Healing the Wounds of Sexual Addiction by Mark Laaser; if you’re female, get No Stones: Women Redeemed from Sexual Shame by Marnie Ferree. Other great books are by Patrick Carnes: Out of the Shadows and Don’t Call It Love. Check out the Resources section for an extensive list of suggested reading.
Set behavior boundaries.
Make any changes you can think of to curb your acting out behaviors. Put your computer in a public place and install an Internet filter. Eliminate contact with an affair partner. Don’t carry cash to spend at a strip club. Change your cell phone number. Most people find it hard, if not impossible, to maintain strict boundaries early in recovery. Don’t give up if you can’t do these kinds of things by yourself. Using the other tools of recovery will help you succeed here.
Attend a Twelve Step or support group.
No one can recover alone or with the help of just one other person. Being part of a community is key – and not just any community. At least several people in your support system need to be successfully abstaining from inappropriate sexual activity. Find a 12 Step group like Sexaholics Anonymous or Sex Addicts Anonymous or a faith-based program like a L.I.F.E. Goup or Celebrate Recovery. Attend regularly. Several times a week is best.
Find a counselor who understand sex addiction.
Many counselors (including Christian ones) aren’t trained in treating sex addiction, and they can unintentionally do more harm than good. Find a counselor who understands addiction and its root causes.
Decide to postpone any major decisions.
Agree to defer important decisions like getting a divorce or running off with an affair partner. Until you’ve been sober for several months, you aren’t thinking clearly.
Consider coming to a workshop.
It may feel like a big step, but a workshop provides a HUGE jumpstart into recovery. It quickly gets you way down the road to healing. The Healing Workshops section has complete information.