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 which represent the active work needed for recovery (e.g. quality education, qualified therapy, SAL 12-Step work, boundaries and bottom lines for safety, and practicing surrender).

S.A. Lifeline Recovery Puzzle

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

The work of recovery and living in recovery revolves around a Willing Heart. When we choose to have a willing heart, we become willing to come out of isolation and step on the path of recovery.

We choose to be completely honest and transparent, and hold our actions, attitudes and/or circumstances up to the light of day. Living in recovery means practicing this authentic way of living, one day at a time. Part of rigorous honesty is to humbly acknowledge to ourselves and others how we have been affected by unwanted sexual behavior and/or betrayal trauma.

Generally, being accountable involves being ready to own up to our choices and how our actions and attitudes affect us and others. This quality is essential not only for maintaining sobriety and navigating recovery but also for those grappling with betrayal trauma, as it guides us toward making sound and accountable choices.

Humility is a foundational piece of recovery. It is a natural characteristic of a truly willing heart. True humility is often misunderstood and even shunned in today’s society. Though perceived by some as a weakness, we find humility to be the acknowledgment of our true selves, embracing both strengths and flaws, and acknowledging our reliance on support from both Divine & human sources.

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, and sadly, a return to illicit sexual behaviors or lasting trauma will likely follow.

Learning to live in recovery from sexual addiction and betrayal trauma takes time. Just like healing from a physical injury takes time. Accepting a more patient cadence is a sign that we see the work of recovery more as the marathon that it is not a sprint.

It is our experience that since sexual addiction and betrayal trauma have deep spiritual roots, in essence, recovery must be a spiritual process. Spiritual connection is not related to a specific belief system or faith tradition but is about seeking to gain a greater understanding of and connection with the God of your understanding.

We need to study and understand the comprehensive nature of the roots of betrayal trauma and sexual addiction. For example, the SAL 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.

Setting bottom lines and holding healthy boundaries helps us create a defined safe space within which we can respond to our challenges with serenity and dignity. Bottom lines define certain behaviors that we choose to abstain from or that we will not tolerate from others for safety and protection. Boundaries support and enforce established bottom lines. (Click here to download the free pdf on Bottom Lines).

Choosing to participate in the SAL 12-Step program is an important first choice on this path; it offers priceless gifts of connection to the God of our understanding and to our brothers and sisters in recovery. Any and all who suffer from the effects of sexual addiction and betrayal trauma are welcome here. Find a virtual or in person meeting at SAL 12step.org

A qualified, licensed therapist is best suited to treat the specific issues that pertain to recovering addicts and betrayed partners without inflicting additional trauma. 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).

Surrender is the essential recovery practice that lays the foundation for an aspiring spiritual connection. For most of us, surrender will feel entirely foreign to our natural inclinations. Surrender invites us to let go of our temptations, worries, and fears, and turn them over to God. When we recite the Serenity Prayer, asking God to grant us “the serenity to accept the things we cannot change, and the courage to change the things we can,” surrender is the tool that allows us to put this principle in motion.