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Key terms in sex

addiction recovery

  • Addiction: Compulsively engaging in a behavior to produce a stimulating, numbing, or fantasy-like state of being, 1) because it feels good and, 2) in order to medicate away pain and anxiety. This is true in the case of sex, drugs, alcohol, gambling, or food. It is characterized by mental preoccupation and out of control behavior and has two hallmarks:
    • Tolerance: Needing more and more of a substance or behavior to obtain the desired effect.
    • Withdrawal: Unpleasant physiological and psychological changes that occur after stopping an addictive behavior. This eventually becomes a third reason someone uses---to avoid withdrawal.
  • Acting out: Engaging in destructive behaviors.
  • Powerlessness: The inability to engage in a behavior moderately. Also, if a behavior must be stopped altogether, the inability to stop it by yourself. Probably a life-long experience.
  • Unmanageability: Unacceptable consequences of addiction.
  • Sex addiction: An addiction to a way of being sexual that causes a “high,” used to medicate away feelings of pain and anxiety. An intimacy disorder.
  • Love addiction: Compulsively giving up who you are in order to avoid abandonment and gain security and acceptance in a romantic relationship. Also an intimacy disorder.
  • Healthy romantic love: Passion and friendship based on genuine intimacy--not compromising friendship for sex.
  • Toxic state: A heightened emotional state that promotes acting out. It involves agitation, anxiety, depression, and feeling driven. The opposite of serenity.
  • Denial: Refusing to acknowledge dependency on an addictive substance or activity, as well as the current and potential consequences of it.
  • Sobriety: Minimal = avoiding bottom line behaviors. True = a lifestyle of embracing personal wholeness and appropriate sexual behavior. It includes avoiding bottom line behaviors and triggers, as well as engaging in nurturing experiences.
  • Bottom line: Major problematic behaviors that must stop for recovery to occur.
  • Triggers: People, places, things, thoughts, feelings and behaviors that make one toxic.
  • Intimacy: Being physically, emotionally, intellectually, and spirituality present with another an energetic level. It can be distinctly felt.