Our Approach to Recovery

S.A. Lifeline Recovery Puzzle

A puzzle is not complete without every piece in its place. Likewise, every piece of the Recovery Puzzle is unique and an important part of a comprehensive program of working recovery from sexual addiction and betrayal trauma.

When we intentionally seek to incorporate each of these pieces in our recovery journey, healing from compulsive pornography use, sexual addiction, and betrayal trauma IS possible. 

S.A. Lifeline’s Recovery Puzzle illustrates the essential pieces that are required for lasting recovery. We can break this puzzle into two parts: the inner Heart & Mind pieces (e.g. willing heart, rigorous honesty, humble, accountable, committed, seeking spiritual connection) and the outer pieces referred to as the 4 Pillars (e.g. quality education, qualified therapy, boundaries and bottom lines, and SAL-12-Step work).

To learn more about each piece click on the associated links.

Recovery revolves around a willing heart. When we choose to have a willing heart, we finally let go of all the facades and justifications. Counter-intuitively, this letting go does not bring feelings of despair. Instead, we begin to see it as the golden doorway to hope. It is our experience that no matter how bleak our circumstances may be, with a willing heart, living in recovery is possible.

We choose to be completely honest, transparent, and hold our actions and attitudes up to the light of day. Living in recovery means practicing this open, humble, honest way of living one day at a time. When we are honest, we are ready to place our total dependence upon the God of our understanding as the foundation of our recovery.

Accountability is accepting responsibility for our actions. For those of us suffering from sexual addiction and betrayal trauma, accountability is critical to maintain sobriety and recovery. Accountability leads us to make wise and responsible decisions, which is crucial to living in recovery.

Humility is demonstrated when we actively listen to others- with no agenda, defensiveness, or need to prove a point.  It has been said that we can fake honesty, and we can even learn a script and fake accountability, but we can’t fake humility.  When we show up with an open and humble heart, others can feel this genuine energy.  A humble attitude is perhaps the most reliable sign that we are in a good place of recovery in the moment.

One must freely choose to step onto the path of recovery and stay on it. That path is narrow and may seem steep at times so a long-term commitment is vital. Without a firm resolve to do whatever it takes, discouragement may roll in during setbacks. Sadly, a return to illicit sexual behaviors or lasting trauma will likely follow. Our experience is that when each partner is wholly committed to working their own recovery, in due time, relationships have a greater opportunity to heal.

It is our experience that since sexual addiction and betrayal trauma have deep spiritual roots, recovery must be a spiritual process. We have found that the spiritual disconnection with God in our deepest pain and trauma is most effectively reconnected through consciously working the 12 steps with the support of a sponsor.

We need to understand the comprehensive nature of betrayal trauma and sexual addiction. When both betrayed spouses and addicted spouses can finally see their own weakness and their own powerlessness, they are better able to move forward on a proven pathway of recovery. The S.A. Lifeline Circles models illustrate the behavioral and relational dynamics of sexual addiction and betrayal trauma for both individuals and families, as well as the pathways for healing.

Healthy boundaries and bottom lines become a concrete way of defining who we are and what we need in order to live with integrity. They also help clarify what we are—and are not—responsible for. This is something that often gets confused in relationships affected by sexual addiction and betrayal trauma. Bottom lines are behaviors that we do not accept from ourselves and for betrayed spouses, they can also be behaviors that we do not accept from others. Boundaries are actions that we will take in response to behaviors and attitudes. Setting bottom lines and holding healthy boundaries helps us create defined, safe space where we can respond to our challenges with serenity and dignity. (Click here to download the free pdf on Bottom Lines).

Both addiction and trauma trap us in a state of isolation where we feel alone, ashamed, afraid, and disconnected from others. Though it may seem impossible from this mindset, we can choose to leave all this misery behind. But it means we must be willing to step outside of ourselves and find people who can support the changes we want to make in our lives.

Choosing to participate in the SAL 12-Step program is an important first choice on this path. It offers priceless gifts of connection and community. Any and all who suffer from the effects of sexual addiction are welcome here. In this fellowship, we feel accepted and uniquely understood by those who have walked this road before us. We discover the freedom of authenticity as we shake off the burden and shame and hidden secrets. 

A qualified, licensed therapist is best suited to treat the specific issues that pertain to recovering addicts and betrayed partners. Without qualified therapy, there is a risk of inflicting additional trauma and offering advice that can be damaging. While other sources may offer comfort and support — clergy, life coaches, or well-meaning friends and family members — they typically lack the critical educational background and experience that effective therapy requires. (Click here for a free download of Questions to Qualify a Therapist).