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What is Addiction, Really?

Uncategorized Jul 19, 2019

In my work as a sexual addictions therapist, clients often wonder if they’re really addicted to pornography or other forms of sexually acting out.  I think the word “addiction” freaks people out.  The idea of being an “addict”  usually kicks in the denial system and prevents them from ever looking at how serious their problem might really be. 

If you’re not sure, then consider the following thoughts:

  1. If you want to stop, but can’t, then you’re probably addicted.  In other words, if you cannot control the rate, frequency, or duration of the behaviors, it’s unmanageable.  (example:  every three months he looks at porn.  He promises himself he won’t do it again, but finds himself sneaking a peek for a few minutes and keeps it secret). 
  2. If you require more experiences to get the same effect, then you’re probably addicted (example:  he keeps looking for different images hoping to find the right one that will do it for him)
  3. If your behavior is causing life consequences or will cause life consequences if the right people find out, then you’re probably addicted.  Life consequences include relationship trouble, job trouble, loss of self-respect, etc. (example:  if his wife found out he was looking, she’d be very angry, probably leave, or maybe even divorce him).

If you answered “yes” to any of the following statements, then I recommend you start talking with someone immediately about your situation.  That someone should be a person that can help you.  Secrecy is the lifeblood of addiction.  Remember that having an addiction isn’t the worst thing that can happen to you.  Not doing something about it is.   


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