“The ‘freedom’ to define our own addictive pattern could not be used in a self-serving way. Our addictions are a reality that persists regardless of any short-sighted, convenient definition. If we were leaving out of our personal definition some behavior that was addictive, it would certainly pull us back into the pattern again.”
I was at a meeting last night where (for reasons that escape me) the ladies outnumbered the gentlemen by a noticeable margin. It was cool. It was also remarkable how they – and the men – reported the same problems withdrawing from unhealthy relationships.
Psychologists in general tend to agree that repetitive relationships with the same kind of unsatisfactory partners seem to relate to unresolved childhood issues – perhaps with an abusive or neglectful parent or other caretaker. The theory is that we find similar, confortable-seeming relationships in our later years in which we unconsciously try to “get it right” this time. The results tend to be fairly predictable, since we’re not only choosing the same kinds of people, but also because we’re not really capable of having a good relationship with ourselves – let alone anyone else. Whether or not that’s entirely correct in all cases I’m certainly not qualified to say, but it is interesting how these stories tend to run the in same patterns, over and over again.
These are not the sorts of issues that we normally discuss in the “mainstream” 12-step fellowships, but which are pretty common in the codependency groups and extremely common in the “S” fellowships that deal with sex and relationship addictions (SAA,SA, SLAA, etc.). I mention this simply to let anyone who might identify with the serial relationship story know that there are places out there where folks do understand, and where help is available in a non-shaming, caring environment.
If you relate, Google “sex addiction groups” and see what’s available near you. You don’t have to stay, but you could be cheating your future if you don’t at least check them out.
Our society is obsessed with sexuality. It’s used to sell, to convince, to attract, to capture, to control, to compel, distract, comfort and sometimes to destroy. We live our lives saturated with sexual images and imagery: literature, TV shows, advertisements, magazines, clothing, and — last, but by no means least — the Internet. Preteen children have access to pornography and other sexualizing influences that were totally unknown to previous generations. A recent study on pornography planned by a Canadian university had to be cancelled because the researchers couldn’t find a sufficient number of students who had not viewed porn to make up a control group.
Whether this is a good thing is moot. Like it or not, the US (and Western societies in general) are saturated with sex. Barring a complete political and social upheaval, it’s not going away. Despite that, for the most part we have failed and still fail to give our kids and young adults, dealing with raging hormones and rebellion, the information they need to navigate this morass of temptation. Instead, our leaders take the “moral” route, keep them ignorant, and then point fingers and cry “Shame” when the ignorance that was forced upon them gets them into trouble. Continue reading →