Every human being comes into the world wanting to be loved. Without love, we are left with heartache, pain, grief, regret, shame and guilt. This is not how I wanted to live my life.
At 26, I set out on a journey to help others as a licensed psychotherapist. I set up shop in Seattle and attempted to do the best work I could possibly do. I wanted to help heal others of heartache, pain, grief, regret, shame and guilt. It was a challenge that I wanted to overcome. “How will I do this?” I often pondered. I hadn’t yet healed my own wounds.
Trying to be present for other people’s issues was the most challenging effort of my life. I was not only a therapist but a teacher. My clients looked to me for education, guidance, and reassurance that life wouldn’t always be so cruel. I couldn’t offer much reassurance, but I could offer one thing: I would be present as long as they showed up and did the work. And they did…
As my clients were showing up and my practice was starting to take off, I felt this nagging sensation buried deep inside. Something was missing. I still didn’t feel like I was loved. This was a deeply rooted feeling that I couldn’t shake. As I tried to fight it so I could stay present for my clients, I sunk into an abyss of shame.
The shame told me “I am not good enough”, “I don’t deserve to be loved”, “and I will be a failure in this business”. How was I supposed to manage now?!
I hit bottom and realized that I didn’t love myself. That was what I was missing. I had no earthly idea how to genuinely love myself. With the guidance of a therapist, I ventured into a space of self-discovery.
I came to understand that several of my negative thoughts and behaviors were caught up in an addictive cycle. I am codependent person and a sex and love addict. First, I placed my value dependent on what other people thought about me. I was raised in a less than nurturing and sometimes abusive household. I grew up believing that I was “worthless”, “only good for taking care of others”, and “never going to be loved”.
Secondly, I spent most of my life caught up in other people, places, and things that were distracting me from my goals of finding love and happiness. The shame that was deep-seated kept me believing that I would never, ever be loved, by anyone.
Lastly, sex became my most important need, because I learned that if I had sex I would be appreciated and accepted. These false beliefs almost cost me my life.
It was all bullshit. I had to learn that I am worthy of love. I found out I was lovable, loving, and loved by trusting in the power of 12-Step meetings. I found a community that accepted me for all my traits, including my flaws. I found a sponsor that guides me on a journey of self-discovery that is natural, loving, and healing.
Through my own work, I have been able to truly be present at my practice. I now help others find out who they are and determine who they want to be. No fairy tales here; just real life work by real people wanting to be loved.
I chronicled my life and journey to healing in my latest book, I Just Wanted Love: Recovery of a Codependent, Sex and Love Addict, available on Amazon and BarnesandNoble.com. For a limited time, I Just Wanted Love is available on a Kindle for a reduced price. Get it today http://bit.ly/ijustwantedlove
I often see articles asking wether sex addiction is real or not, and in my opinion it is very real. I identify as someone who has struggled with sexual addiction. It is as debilitating as diabetes and insidious as cancer. I am grateful to be alive. So, for me, sexual addiction will always be real. The pain I suffered was real, and, so is my recovery. I say those who don't believe are those who have not suffered. It doesn't mean your suffering or my suffering isn't real.
So, what is sex addiction?
The Society for the Advancement of Sexual Health (SASH) defines “sex addiction” as “a persistent and escalating pattern or patterns of sexual behaviors acted out despite increasingly negative consequences to self or others.” (www.sash.net)
Out of control sexual behaviors can include:
2. Simultaneous or repeated sequential affairs
4. Multiple anonymous partners
5. Partner sexualization, objectification
6. Sexual aversion
7. Cyber sex, phone sex
8. Unsafe sexual activity
9. Strip clubs and adult bookstores
Those struggling with sexual addiction typically present in my office with anxiety about the type of sex or amount of sex they are having; relational difficulties around sexual dysfunction; depression related to low self-esteem about sexual difficulties; or they already have awareness about sexual addiction and they are referred to me by a current or former client.
I always feel a great deal of empathy and compassion for anyone struggling with sexual addiction, because I know exactly what it feels like. And sometimes, people seek me out because they have heard my story of recovery from sexual addiction.
Seeking treatment, whether for sexual addiction, or the presenting issues of depression, anxiety or trauma, is a courageous act. No one is immune to sexual addiction or addiction in general. The disease doesn't care who you are or where you are from; if you are experiencing pain or have experienced trauma in your life, and have limited coping strategies, addiction or numbing can become an unhealthy coping tool.
You don't have to fight the battle alone. Schedule an individual therapy or coaching session with me today. I can help you navigate the complexities of sobriety and recovery. There is a solution; just ask for help.
You may also benefit from attending 12-Step programs for sex addiction (Sex Addicts Anonymous, Sex and Love Addicts Anonymous, or Sexual Compulsives Anonymous).
This entire website is about me. I think you know just about everything you could ever possibly want to know. If not, here goes: