The Escape Factor and Sex Addiction
- Written by Joe Zychik
The process of escape begins with experiencing an uncomfortable feeling, like anxiety, fear, guilt, boredom, stress, etc. The options for relieving uncomfortable feelings lead to two separate experiences. One is beneficial; the other is far from beneficial. The most effective option is to face the discomfort and work your way through it.
You can stop addictive behavior any time. The real test of success is whether or not you stay in control. Effectively dealing with the escape factor is necessary for long term success.
The ineffective option is escape. That's where addictions come in. Addictions are escape mechanisms used to temporarily relieve uncomfortable feelings. For the addicted person to really overcome an addiction, he or she needs to learn how to face uncomfortable feelings rather than trying to escape them.
Conventional, licensed therapy and the 12-step program fail at this requirement. Therapy encourages you to blame your problems on your childhood. In other words, "Escape responsibility by blaming it on your parents." Or it encourages you to rely on psychological medication, which means, "Numb your feelings rather than deal with them." The 12-step program fails at dealing with reality because you are encouraged to rely on the group rather than yourself. In effect, the group becomes your new escape mechanism.
To overcome the escapism that causes sex addiction you need to learn how to:
Face your feelings for what they are rather than rely on psychological medication to block them out.
Realize you are responsible for your problems. Mom and dad did not cause you to become sexually addicted.
Use an approach that encourages self reliance.
Let's apply these principles to real life. Bill, George, and Larry just got fired from their jobs. Bill goes home and indulges his sorrows through masturbation with porn. George spends hours on the phone with his 12-step sponsor talking about how badly he wants to go to a hooker. When they hang up, George calls an escort service. Why? Because being with a hooker would be more pleasurable than talking to his sponsor again.
Larry comes home desperate to hit his favorite porn sites. He knows that the cause of his addiction is not in his childhood because his best friend, Tom's, parents were both alcoholics, yet Tom never developed a problem with alcohol or drugs.
Larry had tried psychological medication. It emotionally numbed him and it caused him to lose sexual interest in his girlfriend. He has also learned through good counseling that nothing is as effective as facing reality.
He struggles through a long night of feeling depressed, angry, and confused. But he has one thing going for him – the human mind. As he allows his mind to face the problem, he realizes that losing his job was not the end of the world, even though it felt that way at first. He knows he can recover from it because the human mind is built to survive much worse crises than losing a job.
Bill and George wake up the next morning feeling disgusted. Larry wakes up feeling what every person needs to overcome sex addiction: the confidence that he can rely on himself and that he can make the best of life no matter how bad things get.
Sex addiction is the symptom. Escape is the cause.
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