Is it possible for someone to recover from addiction?
Or is it so ingrained that only a select few are able to do it?
Thank you for your honest question.
I think number one, the answer- the simple answer, is yes. It is possible to recover from addiction. It happens all the time.
Now when we say recovery, I think it‘s important to also understand what recovery means.
I think many years ago if you were to go back, say 15-20 years- even maybe from the last 10 years – you‘d probably find a lot more definitions of recovery.
Some people would say,
“Well, you know, you sort of graduate from the process of dealing with that addiction and then you never face that again.”
More and more studies and more and more experiences show through the therapeutic process that the reality of recovery is a lifelong management process.
“Yes recovery can happen, absolutely it can happen.”
Process of Recovery
There are great people who recover or are in the process for recovery throughout their lives and feel like they‘ve definitely accomplished amazing things in that process.
Meaning that they can manage that behavior. I think that it‘s important to know that, especially dealing with something like sexual addiction that it involves such a core element of our human limbic processes, that the ability to manage that behavior is a lifelong requirement because it‘s ingrained in us.
The sexual response is part of who we are and knowing that this is part of being a human being can help us to understand the nature of it being a long-term lifelong process.
But definitely, I think what really is important to know about in terms of recovery is that you can find peace.
The bottom line that I think most people would say that actually defines recovery, is
‘Can I manage the behavior?‘
‘Can I find peace?‘.
I would definitely say, without a doubt, you can find peace and you can find the ability to manage IT.
You will be able to balance those brain-oriented, you know the limbic responses that come with that sexual behavior and that sexual instinct, to feel good about it, to feel positive, to feel like there‘s hope and there‘s progress; a lifelong process that can happen that brings great peace and balance in your life.
You can essentially manage it to the point where the negative consequences that come with addiction can be essentially mitigated so that there is great peace, balance, and happiness in life.
I think that comes with a lot of concern that individuals who struggle for a long time are not able to feel like they‘re making progress.
Some of that, and I guess I would kind of branch over into another area to answer that question, some of that has to do with the idea of willpower.
Many people will struggle with willpower.
Willpower is useful to an extent but it has limitations. We can sort of white-knuckle it, as we call it, to do our best to get through something, sometimes we may be successful and other times not.
The idea behind recovery, in a therapeutic sense, is that it‘s not just a matter of holding tight and using willpower to get through a trigger or a situation that‘s difficult. It‘s definitely gaining abilities beyond just willpower to be able to find greater peace.
I have been helping people online for several years, I’ve seen tremendous, absolutely tremendous success with people who say that they weren’t going to be able to do it.
How could we help them?
I told them, ‘Give us a try! It‘s not going to hurt you!‘ And they did.
Some of these individuals have two, three, four years sobriety of not actually even acting out – which is phenomenal! Especially with somebody who’s gone 52 years of continuous acting out.