A Model of Recovery and Healing
God is at the center of each individual and His power is the foundation of recovery and healing.
We are spiritual, physical, psychological and social beings with agency. Healing = Courage + Action + Grace
Humility, accountability, honesty and a willingness to surrender are fundamental attributes for individual recovery and healing.
Recovery and healing is self-directed, but must be supported by others through participation in qualified therapy, education, actively working the 12 steps and accepting spiritual guidance.
Gaining and education about pornography and sexual addiction and betrayal trauma is an essential part of our recovery.
When we direct our learning by reading books, articles, pamphlets, watch DVD’s and video clips, and attend professional conferences and classes; we become experts on ourselves and on our own needs for healing. We must direct our own recovery and in getting an education we are better able to work towards our healing one day at a time.
Working the 12 Steps
12-Step provides a special blend of help in that it covers healing from each of the parts of the self. It helps to heal the social and physical self as we physically attend groups, get outside of our box, and meet with people. It helps to heal the spiritual and psychological parts of the self as we work the steps regularly which are spiritual and psychological in nature.
Although attending 12-step to work on our healing and self-care is essential, it can be scary and uncomfortable at first. You may have tried it a time or two with no success. We encourage you to continue to go back when you are ready and try other groups until you find the healing you seek. 12-step work is essential in the recovery process.
Working with a therapist is critical to recovery and healing.
When we choose to, reaching out and working with a therapist will help us to heal the psychological, physical, and sometimes social parts of the self. In working with a therapist we learn to trust, open up honestly, and learn different ways to heal from our addiction and trauma. In order to get the help we need we must meet with someone who is qualified and specialized in treating sexual addiction and betrayal trauma.
Working with a spiritual leader is critical to recovery and healing.
As we reach out to and work with a spiritual leader to help us to recovery our relationship with a higher power, honestly disclose our experiences, and find advocacy and help we will find recovery.
Our spirituality is the connection we have with a Higher Power. This can be the God of our Understanding, Nature, Life, Karma, Humanity, or any other greater life force that we believe is greater than us. Spirituality can be connected to a particular organized religion, but does not necessarily have to.
The spiritual part of the self will be damaged by addiction and can be damaged by our trauma. In addiction we come to believe that we are the greatest power that exists with the most important needs. We may not have had an opportunity to build a spiritual connection in a healthy way, or we may have chosen our behaviors above our spiritual health.
For those of us who have experienced betrayal in a close relationship we often spend all of our emotional energy focused on changing the offending partner that we neglect our spiritual self. We may also have felt so betrayed that we do not feel we can trust any being, including a Higher Power.
The spiritual part of the self must be healed and brought to a healthy place in order to truly recover and heal. The next set of petals represent the four resources that are essential for our spiritual self to heal.
Honesty is the foundation of healing and recovery. Honesty with one’s self, with God and with those who are closely affected by our behaviors is critical.
Without honesty we cannot be true to ourselves and ultimately to anyone else. To be trusted is better than to be loved. Without honesty there is no trust.
The physical part of the self represents our physical health. Although sexual addiction does not damage our physical bodies in the same way that chemical addictions can, our brains are damaged as a result of addiction.
Our minds were not built to see the level of sexual content that is now available to us today. Our brains can quickly become wired in an unnatural way towards sexual content. Our brains send all of its electrical energy and hormones to the pleasure center of the brain. This center, although essential, can become overwhelmed and over time lose function. Likewise with so many resources being spent in the pleasure center, our prefrontal cortex, or the part of the self that can make rational and centered thoughts does not receive enough energy. Thus we may find ourselves making “juvenile” decisions, acting impulsively, or having a difficult time making emotional connections because our brain is literally damaged.
Those experiencing trauma over time can experience a rewiring of the brain as well. When we experience trauma we go into fight/flight/freeze mode regularly. This is a natural response to hearing of a close partner’s sexual addiction, but if we continue in this trauma without finding healing, our brains will rewire to prefer feeling “crazy” or over stimulated than feeling peace and serenity. We must learn ways to gain validation of our traumatized state and also cope with the pain we experience as a result of sexual addiction in our lives.
Beyond the damage done to our brains, both those addicted and those traumatized are vulnerable to other physical disorders such as eating disorders (over or under eating), exercise problems (over or under exercising), sleep problems (over or under sleeping).
The physical part of the self must be given attention to and healed and brought to a healthy place in order to truly recover. The next set of petals represent the four resources that are essential for our physical self to heal.
Accountability is defined as a willingness to accept responsibility for one’s actions
Recovery requires a daily self-evaluation that keeps us from slipping into denial or complacency