Recovery from Sex Addiction - a Review

TheSpoon

Jedi
FOTCM Member
About 16 months ago I wrote a post where I said that I'd been caught having an online affair and that as part of a full disclosure a number of behaviours came to light that - when seen together for the first time - made it clear to both me and my wife that I had a sex addiction and needed help.

She found an online resource __www.RecoveryNation.com which was a godsend for several reasons:

1. We were in the middle of a move to a non-English speaking country at the time so there was little chance of finding a local marriage counsellor who spoke English, never mind them having any specific experience of sex addiction.
2. The site also provides resources (workshops and support forums) for Partners and Couples
3. The site's basic tools are free
4. The site also offers paid-for coaching which includes reviewing course submissions and one-to-one coaching calls, eg via Skype.

The addiction recovery programme consists of 73 lessons (most of which include some written exercise) and 15 additional topics. It took me 7 months to complete these, and I remain part of their online discussion forum where I try to help out people currently working through the course.

The partner's healing program consists of about 50 lessons, again with a supportive forum staffed by volunteers. The addiction recovery and partner's healing forums are part of the same board, but cross posting between the two is discouraged.

Most of the addicts in recovery on that site have issues with pornography and masturbation. I think most young men these days (from a poll of my friends) think that such things are 'normal' and that there's nothing wrong with them. I've not tried changing anyone else's opinion on the subject yet, but I'm very clear about the damage it's done to me and my marriage. We initially used some Parental Controls software, but the site warns about the use of such a crutch and I took on the responsibility for monitoring my own websurfing soon after. Which is interesting, especially on a website like YouTube where a panel of thumbnails is offered. I have to ask myself "am I drawn to that thumbnail because it looks funny/interesting or because there's an attractive woman in it?". As long as the question is asked, the direction to follow is clear.

Around the same time I started the program there, I also deleted my Facebook account which I found to be helpful. All these thoughts that pop into my head during the day I'm now sharing with my wife, instead of broadcasting them to the world - looking for that quick "attention hit".

Much of the focus in the site could be applied to any addiction. The original author saw addiction as a flawed method for dealing/avoiding unpleasant emotions; addiction as emotional mis-management.

The introduction to the site makes it clear that it sees itself as being quite distinct from a traditional 12 step program in that it puts the responsibility for recovery solely in the hands of the addict, and sees the end goal of recovery as "A healthy life" rather than a successfully managed addiction.

Something I've been very grateful about in this process of being caught, fully disclosing and working through my addition is that I've been given the opportunity to address a wide range of character faults that my wife was 'saying nothing about' because I sort of made up for them in other areas. Making things all about me, being selfish, sulking when I didn't get my way, getting highly distressed when I received criticism. So that's all come out into the open now, and - I think - much progress has been made.

I hope the above doesn't come over like I'm advertising. I had a problem, I found a resource, I found it helpful and I think it could help others in a similar situation. Laura said:

Laura said:
As Gurdjieff said, you can't come to The Work unless you are already a good obyvatel [householder]
And elsewhere (couldn't find a quote?) she said that this site wasn't set up to deal with serious psychological issues that would be better suited to a psychiatrist or counsellor. So in terms of dealing with such issues, should one have to deal with them, I hope my experience detailed here might be of some help.
 

Medulin

Jedi
Sex addiction, like many other addictions (but not all of them) for example pathologic gambling or impulsive shopping or impulsive over-eating
has been linked to over-activation of dopaminergic neurons in the brain and with overproduction of dopamine. (Mania and manic episodes
of bipolar disorder are another conditions with high(er than normal) dopamin)).

I had history of impulsive shopping.
I used to buy (too) many things (books mostly)...As soon as I got a book, it no longer interested me (there was no ''gratification/pleasing'' effect of prolactin release),
I just started thinking of getting another book.

In my case, melatonin was/is of great help.
Melatonin keeps my dopamine within (lower) physiological values, while it makes my prolactin float within the higher range.
My sex drive is low to non-existent (haven't had sex in five years), although from time to time I have erotic dreams (both are ''side effects'' of melatonin supplementation).

I remember a newspapers article from last year about ''a man taking dopamine agonists (he had to take it because he had Parkinson's disease) who developed an uncontrollable sex drive, including homosexual desire''.

_http://blogs.bmj.com/jnnp/2011/08/10/this-week-we-have-a-blog-from-dr-carinne-piekema-covering-the-potential-role-of-dopamine-agonists-in-the-development-of-pathological-gambling-carinne-is-a-science-journalist-and-neuroscientist-who-ha/

(Dopamine is also known as ''Prolactin Inhibition Hormone''.
Higher curve of melatonin is followed by a higher than normal releasing curve of prolactin, although with a phase difference of some hours).
 

TheSpoon

Jedi
FOTCM Member
In my case, melatonin was/is of great help.
Melatonin keeps my dopamine within (lower) physiological values, while it makes my prolactin float within the higher range.
Hi Medulin, thanks for that. I'm back in this area of working through addiction and wanted to check what I'd last said. I did try melatonin, mostly in relation to jet lag but I found it made me nauseous. Checking dosage...was 5mg. I understand it's mostly helpful for getting off to sleep, rather than staying asleep. I'm generally out not long after my head hits the pillow; it's more the waking up at 5am that's a problem. Well, not so much of a problem, it means I have some quiet time to myself to meditate and be useful.
 

Ant22

Ambassador
Ambassador
FOTCM Member
I did try melatonin, mostly in relation to jet lag but I found it made me nauseous. Checking dosage...was 5mg.
TheSpoon, 5mg is a very high dose, ideally you should start with 1mg and build up from there. When I take too much melatonin it actually results in interrupted sleep, waking up hours before my alarm clock, and grogginess that doesn't wear off during the day.

There is a thread on high dose melatonin therapy here, but as you may learn from this thread, after some analysis it was concluded that melatonin should ideally be taken in lower doses, amounts the body recognises.

Personally, I do best on fairly high dose of 4mg but having read other people's testimonials I seem to be an exception.

I hope you're doing well in general and that things have improved for you since you started this thread :-)
 
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