Blog Entries

…Into the Light


Welcome to my website and blog.  This blog started as a vision.  I am proud to finally make it reality.  Similarly, many who struggle in addiction have a vision. The vision is one they can’t quite realize and make reality for themselves.  This blog is an effort to help others actualize the vision they may have for a life free from addiction, free from the chaos that often accompanies addictive process, and help achieve the vision of recovery.  A sober life begins living with intention (and an admittance of powerlessness).

As a Marriage and Family with chemical addiction credentials, I often help people recover from the chains of their substance addictions.  In recent years as I helped people heal from chemical addictions, I would notice internet pornography, excessive masturbation, or other sexual behaviors creeping in as an attempt to self-soothe. I noticed increased presentation of betrayals felt in the marital relationship with discovery of hidden internet use of pornography, chat rooms and emails or texting of sexual nature.

As a therapist I felt helpless to point people in the direction of similar resources that I had referred people to for years in the struggle with their chemical addictions.  I vowed to change that.  This blog is the beginning of that process towards my vision to create resources, answer questions, and create tools to help individuals, couples, and families heal from sex addiction.  The name for this website came to me on a 7-mile run as I trained for a half marathon.  It was a day of intense heat.  I was alone when I would normally have a partner with me to endure the struggle – similar to those in recovery – the power in the group to help endure and support.  As I climbed the hill, fretting about whether I would make it, I began to let my mind wander.  I tried to focus on anything besides how difficult the task was at hand.  I decided to think about the things I wanted to accomplish for resources to help others heal in the struggle with sex addiction.

As I passed a place I had twisted my ankle on a previous run, I had website names swimming through my head, trying to find just the right site name to carry my ideas, allow others to find me, and find my ideas.  I became aware I needed to pay attention to the pine cones that caused me to trip previously.  But just as popped into my head, something physically HIT my head.  I turned in anger because I was sure that something was thrown at me.

One doesn’t do endurance sports without an occasional mishap from a passerby. Similar to the addict, I looked for something to blame. There was no one or no vehicle nearby.  I saw a pine cone rolling across the sidewalk and I laughed.  I turned around to pick it up.  It was a perfectly shaped pine cone.  I said to myself….”that’s perfect”, meaning the pine cone…and then I thought, “that’s perfect!”  Yes, the NAME of the website I was thinking was PERFECT!  I ran home in excitement knowing I must investigate if that web domain name was available.  I considered it a God-moment.  Those, too, are necessary in recovery.  The moment of insight when you know you are on the right path and what you must do.

Dr. Patrick Carnes wrote Out of The Shadows.  The name for that book was a God-moment for him.  It was a book he knew he must write.  This blog is an effort to take those who struggle with sex addiction and the relationships that they are attached to out of the shadows of shame, denial, and suffering and bring them into the light. Living a life free of shame and addiction means living transparently.  In addiction we hide in shame.  In healing we live transparently in the light.

I trained for a year with Dr. Patrick Carnes and his daughter Dr. Stefanie Carnes, foremost authorities on the subject of sex addiction, learning the clinical wisdom in treatment of sex addiction.  Dr. Patrick  Carnes has written over 200 clinical articles and 25 books on the subject. In my year of training, while procuring my CSAT credentials, and realizing the dearth of resources, I wanted to understand more about how Dr. Patrick Carnes does what he does!  He offered to take 30 people on a year long mentoring journey to teach us his process.  I applied and was accepted into this mentoring program. I joke he has become my addiction!

This blog and this website begin the reality for creating the resources I envision.  This website is the first step in bringing the ideas in my head, from the depths of internal vision, and out into the light (in the hopes of helping others heal).

Blog Entries

Is Sex Addiction Real?

Since the news reports that surfaced regarding Tiger Woods and speculations about his life, as a Certified Sex Addiction Therapist (CSAT), I am often asked:  “Is there really such a thing as sex addiction?”  Yes, in my training and in my observation, there is such a thing as sex addiction.   As a CSAT I sit with many people whose lives have been negatively impacted by unwanted, continued behaviors that they feel powerless to stop with regards to pornography, internet pornography, and/or sexual behaviors.  Their lives, their marriages, their relationships, and the productivity of their lives are impacted in severe and dramatic ways as a result of their sexual-seeking behaviors.

Sex addiction is not about sex.  Sexually directed behaviors become the vehicle to avoid one’s pain in the way an alcoholic might use alcohol to check out from the pain of daily life.  Sex addiction is an intimacy disorder, a relationship disorder, and a family of origin disorder that manifests itself in sexual acting out.

There is a criteria for screening whether or not one has a sex addiction.  To meet the criteria one must struggle with 3 or more of the following:

  1. Loss of control.  There is clear behavior that one spends more time doing what they intend to be doing. 
  2. Compulsive behavior.  There is a pattern of out-of-control behavior over time. 
  3. Efforts to stop.  One has made repeated attempts to stop the problematic behavior and these attempts to stop the behaviors fail.
  4. Loss of time. Significant amounts of time are lost engaging in the problematic behavior or recovering from the behavior.
  5. Preoccupation. One spends time obsessing about the behavior or obsessing because of the behavior.
  6. Inability to fulfill obligations.  The behavior gets in the way or takes priority over work, school, family, friends or other obligations.
  7. Continuation despite negative consequences. The behavior continues even though one knows they are having problems in social, legal, financial or physical realms of their life.
  8. Escalation.  There is a need to make behavior more intense, more frequent, or more risky.
  9. Losses. One has experienced losses, or limiting, of valued parts of life in such things as hobbies, family, relationships, and work.
  10. Withdrawal.  Stopping the behaviors causes considerable distress, anxiety, restlessness, irritability, or physical discomfort.

Source:  Patrick Carnes, PhD,  Don't Call It Love pp 11-12