Category Archives: sex addiction

Rationality Can Equal Control Issues

Addicts are attracted to chaos. Although we crave stability, many of us find it extremely uncomfortable. Despite what we believe to be the case, we find chaos and lack of control normal, because it reflects the conditions in which we grew up: lack of autonomy, capricious decisions and behavior by others, and no stable foundations for our lives.

Who’s running the show?

Whether we came from dysfunctional families where complete chaos was the norm or equally dysfunctional roots where all the reins were held by others, the effects are the same. As kids and in adulthood we continually tried/try to gain control of our lives by controlling others or by acting out. By attempting to control others we unconsciously create the familiar conditions of our childhood in an adult setting. By acting out, we stifle our lack of control beneath drugs, eating, sex, shopping or what have you. In either case — usually, both — we are attempting to control feelings and/or situations that we find uncomfortable or intolerable.

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Narcissism and Addiction

The following is a quote from the July 29th entry in “Beyond Belief…” by Joe C.

Narcissism and addiction are often synonymous with each other. Seeing others as individuals separate from our needs and our agendas is essential for contentment. When we are in a healthy mental state [other people] are separate individuals. A healthy understanding of their roles in our lives and our role in theirs guides our interdependent relationships. We see the boundaries. Some lines we created and we are mindful of what those lines symbolize. Other lines are boundaries drawn by others, which we respect. Either way, we don’t look at people as things to control or avoid being controlled by, to use or be used by, etc.”

Thanks Joe. I needed that.

Projecting

A First Date Question:
How aware are you of your traumas and suppressed emotions, and how are
you actively working to heal them before you try to project that shit on me?

How much pain could be avoided if only we were able to approach our potential relationships with that kind of clarity! Sadly, that’s rarely if ever the case. We have all sorts of notions about what a relationship should be, programmed by modeling when we were children, unconscious desires to re-live relationships with abusers and get them right by proxy, cultural ideas of how the good life should be lived, what a good relationship should look like, and on and on. As F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote in the last lines of The Great Gatsby, “And so we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.”

Projection is used differently in the recovery rooms than it is by therapists. In the fellowships we often use “projection” when we might better say “anticipation,” referring to looking ahead and trying to figure out what the future will bring, often with concern about an undesirable outcome. In the world of psychotherapy, however, projection is normally used to refer to situations similar to that in the introduction above: when we project on another the feelings, pressures, dislikes and resentments that we are actually feeling ourselves but prefer not to recognize.

If I am unable to express my anger I may project and accuse my partner of being angry, almost as a sort of proxy. I may allow myself to become annoyed about the behavior of an obnoxious drunk, failing to consider that I am drunk and being obnoxious myself. I may become unusually obsessed with another’s tardiness when I’m frequently late myself, or become upset with someone’s rudeness or failure to respect my boundaries when I’m equally guilty of those things, if not worse.

Essentially, projection of this kind refers to the same thing as the old aphorism we hear from time to time in the rooms: we tend to dislike most in others the traits that we most dislike [or fear] in ourselves. This is a perfectly natural way to protect our own already poor self-esteem. It’s a subtle form of denial, similar to “Look how she is . . . and they say I’m bad!”

Just as with over-the-counter nostrums, the fact that something is “natural” doesn’t mean it is healthy or harmless. We are not responsible for the way we were programmed or the sick defenses we developed on our own, but as recovering people we are responsible for discovering these traits in ourselves and doing something about them. That’s where the Steps–particularly Steps Four, Six and Ten–come into play. Therapy is also a help, as is a conscious desire to be as honest with ourselves as possible. Like a competent carpenter, we need to master our tools and use those that are appropriate to the situation, instead of complaining how the other guy bends every nail he tries to drive.

A Secular Form Of The Twelve Steps

Some readers may find this helpful.

https://whatmesober.com/a-secular-form-of-the-twelve-steps/

Friendship In Recovery

As active addicts many of us had friends who were that in name only. Our mutual interests in acting out, trying to prolong our adolescence, and using each other for one end or another were often the sole basis of those “friendships.” How many of our using buddies tried to encourage us to continue our addictive behavior? “Hey, everyone does it!” “Oh, you’re not that bad.” “You just need to ____. You don’t have to ____!” Any of those sound familiar?

And just as tellingly, how many of our willing partners in excess stuck with us when we showed that we were serious about changing? Not too many, I’m guessing. Continue reading

Sharing: What’s your point?

When we share, do we want to understand, solve a problem,
self-justify, elicit sympathy or just hear ourselves talk?
~ Joe C. Beyond Belief 7/2

I have a friend, a great guy, easy to like, warm, friendly — the kind of guy you’d like to kick back, eat pizza and watch a ballgame with, or go for a walk and just talk.

He drives me nuts! Continue reading