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The Case of Anthony Wiener (Part 2): Why Does His Wife Stay?

As I listened to CNN cover the aspects of the Anthony Wiener story, two questions stuck with me from the various reports:

1.    Is Sexting Cheating?

2.    Why does his wife stay?

This post will explore the second question: “Why does his wife stay?”

(See the previous post: The Case of Anthony Wiener – Part 1 for “Is Sexting Cheating?”)

Anthony Weiner’s wife, Huma Abedin, has come out in public statements maintaining that she forgives her husband and chooses to stay by his side.  csmonitorThere is much discussion about the shocking reports that he is doing his sexting thing ….AGAIN. There are questions about why his wife would stay.  She is an intelligent woman who has gone on record to say she forgives him and he is a good man.

Why does she stay?  While I can only speculate about the Weiner-Abedin marriage, or go on reports in the press which report that she forgives him and can’t leave because of their 19-month old child, I can make comment on the couples I see in my practice. 

Why would a woman want to stay with a man who betrays in this way?  Should someone stay in a marriage when this type of betrayal is involved?  There are no easy answers, especially when a child is involved. 

I think of three different cases for consideration.


When people exhibit type of behavior exhibited by Mr. Weiner, there are negative consequences, and when it is repeated, we must consider the possibility of addiction.  If this is the case, healing is possible for people who struggle in this way.  Properly diagnosed and treated, people can change, and change can be sustained.  One of the hallmarks of living a changed life is humility.  Addictive behavior is a very selfish act.  Those acting in humility have the capacity to understand their that actions have an effect and impact on others around them. They show remorse.  If there is addiction, there is a recovery plan.  While there are no guarantees, when one is working a recovery plan there is hope for sustained long-term change.


What if the offending spouse begins a recovery plan and the person has trouble sustaining that recovery process?  This presents a dilemma for the other spouse to consider.  At first, recovery can be a shaky proposition.  “Slips” require an increase in treatment plan and / or the recovery process to create a sustained recovery.  Should a spouse stay now?  The health of a marital system is sustained by the ability to hold healthy boundaries.  If one’s boundaries continue to be crossed, we have to begin to question, Why would one stay?  Only the person whose boundaries are continued to be crossed can make a determination of when enough is enough! By setting boundaries we teach others how to treat us. 

The following are examples of boundaries a spouse might choose to set with their spouse who is struggling with addiction:

·        “After the infidelity in our marriage, if I find out about the betrayal of infidelity again, I may be forced to file for divorce”. 

·        “I will not live in a marriage impacted by addiction without a commitment to therapy and an ongoing recovery process.”

·        “If you continue the offensive behavior without being accountable to your recovery plan, I may be forced to leave.” 

Boundaries are not set to control another – they are set to teach others how we will, or will not tolerate being treated. 


This leads us to a third consideration.  What If one stays in a relationship where there are repeated boundary violations?   If an offending spouse is not working a recovery process when working a recovery process is a condition of the marital contract to continue, and the spouse stays in the relationship, the spouse is in essence saying:   “it is o.k. for you to cross my boundaries.  You can continue your offending behavior and I will stay regardless.” In essence: “I do not mean what I say”.  Often the spouse hangs in hoping that change will happen.  They stay focused on the hope of change rather than the reality of what is. They might believe the relationship will change when it actually is not changing as evidenced by the repeated boundary violations in this way.  A spouse who is betrayed has to be prepared to follow through with the boundaries they set. 

If there are repeated boundary violations in a marriage, I would wonder why one stays.  Sometimes this willingness to tolerate intolerable treatment is a result of a condition called Trauma Bonding. Trauma Bonding, a term developed by Patrick Carnes, is the misuse of fear, excitement, sexual feelings, and sexual physiology to entangle another person. Trauma bonding is an unhealthy emotional attachment.  People who stay in troubled relationships often were in emotionally or physically abusive relationships growing up.  It was their early experience of love growing up.  In Al-Anon this is what is referred to “as the comfortable slipper”.  It feels familiar, even if it is unhealthy and it was our primary experience of love. 

If you find yourself unable to leave a troubled relationship and are trauma bonded, there is help.   You don’t have to tolerate intolerable behaviors, you can learn healthy relationship behaviors, you can attempt to make change in your relationship, or if need be, you can learn how to get strong enough to leave. 

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The Presents of Presence in Sex Addiction Recovery

Recovery wisdom advises: Never allow yourself to get too hungry, angry, lonely, or tired, (HALT).  On this morning’s 6-mile run, with my run partner out of town and running on less sleep than normal, I was hitting 2 out of 4 of the precautionary directives.  If I let my mind wander to “I have to do 6 miles today” the run seemed like an impossible task.  I wanted to walk.  I wanted to slow down.  My thoughts entered the realm of “stinking thinking” and the dreaded “I can’t do this”.  Ughhh.  I was tired.  I was alone.  I didn’t have my music.  I was becoming bored.  All the tell-tale signs of the wheels falling off the bus were at-risk for coming into play. 

I began to change my focus.  First, I HAVE to do this.  This 6-mile run today is part of a bigger plan to reach my goals for a 15k race in January.  I do not want to let this long run slip by today.  One step at a time I have to keep my focus.  One step at a time I have to keep going.  I began to look just slightly ahead.  I looked at a leaf a few steps ahead – and made it to there.   I looked at a crack in the asphalt just ahead.  I thought to myself, you can make it to “there”!  I looked at my watch.  I could make it another 40 seconds.  See how it feels.  With each successive small goal and re-focusing my mind to just stay present to the small task at-hand, I made it the whole 6-miles. 

Recovery is like that.  If one focuses on the whole plan of sobriety and recovery, it can feel hugely overwhelming. If one says to oneself:   I can’t drink for the rest of my life again, ever.  I have to stay sober and not act out.  I am not sure I can do this.  I have all these meetings to attend.  I have to work steps.  I have to get a sponsor.   I have to make phone calls to peers.  I have to…on and on and on…we’d stop before we ever start.  If you are employed and thought about all you would have to do day-in and day-out for your employment, you might not want to show up!  Heck, if you are married, who would stand at the alter thinking ALL that one has to do to stay joined in a committed relationship for the rest of your life?

Just as I began to focus on the present moment at hand, one increment at a time, recovery needs an adjustment in the same measure. “Half-measures avail us nothing.”  Just as I have a vision of my race in January and a weekly plan to get there, recovery vision is necessary, too.  In the paradoxes of recovery, one must focus one step at a time but be guided by an overall vision and goal. 

In the marriage impacted by sex addiction, sometimes one is not sure how they can continue.  How can the betrayed partner trust again?  How can they stay in if they are so unsure?  One might not know if they can do the “whole run”, but changing the focus to smaller short term goals can help break it down and give information that feeds an overall plan one day at a time.

I finished my run this morning.  Bringing my mind to the present gave me presence of mind.  Just for this week I am on task.  Just until the leaf and the crack in the asphalt, I can do this.  What a gift!

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That First Call for Help

The demand for my services for the treatment of sexual addiction has grown over the past several years. Even with the increased frequency of phone contact, I do not think the pain I sense in the clients first call will ever lose its impact on my heart.  For the person whose life has been plagued by secret shame and finally has the courage to make the call for help, the pain is palpable.  For the spouse who has stumbled upon information of a secret life kept hidden by their partner and now questions the reality of an entire relationship, the level of pain has profound impact on this therapist. 

I have heard Patrick Carnes, PhD. speak about “the calls” we would rather not get in life.  We all have calls we would rather not answer when you think of it.  Yet, within the trials of the call, exists the fertile ground for growth and transformation.  Many times we avoid the calls and ultimately we cannot outrun them.  The fact that transformation is possible is beyond comprehension in those very early moments of discovery or the revealing a secret life of shame. 

As a therapist that sits with that early pain, I wish I could play a video of the future for the person to see. I wish I could show this client their future selves if they would heed the call and do the very hard work they are being called in to discover.  The journey is formidable and seems overwhelming at that moment.  I wish people could know the rewards of an answered call for the invitation into recovery are even greater.

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Sex Addiction Creates Rough Seas in a Marriage – SOS! May Day!

On my visit to San Diego, while attending the SASH conference, I took some time to be a tourist when the conference ended.  My husband had a meeting at the same time close by so we made a rendezvous to enjoy some outdoor activities in the area.  My wish for outdoor activities included cycling and sea lion watching.  My husband was up for sea lions, but preferred to add ocean kayaking to the list of fun.  With limited time we compromised by deciding on ocean kayaking that would include a trip by a peninsula that sea lions were known to inhabit. 

This excursion was my first ocean kayaking experience.  My husband has a passion for the water.  While I grew up on the Atlantic Ocean, I am more comfortable on land, but I do love the sea from the distance (or on a fast speed boat!).  We began our trek in the kayak out towards the sea lions off in the distance.  As we ventured out, the Pacific Ocean was quite calm.  The stillness of the water was a real selling point for me to agree to this activity.  I am not the strongest of swimmers and have a healthy fear of water.   After a while my anxious feelings began to settle.  It was even becoming quite enjoyable as we approached the sea lion area.  We were in an alcove of limestone cliffs but were warned not to get close to the shore in that area as the ocean could carry us in pretty quickly and possibly slam us into the rocks.  Occasionally a few swells would come along that would serve to gently rock our kayak in a bobbing fashion.  All of a sudden, seemingly out of nowhere appeared a guide which cautioned us that some large swells were coming in and to get prepared!  Oh my, this was not in the plan!  I turned to see that I could no longer see the horizon and could only see what felt like a wall of water coming towards us!  We knew that we had to face into the direction of the swell to keep from being toppled.  Thankfully we were able to maneuver properly.  Along came another large swell that prevented us from seeing the horizon. It was so tall if felt as if it would break over top of us.  For me, this was very frightening.  I didn’t panic, but I found myself going through a protocol of water safety “what if” scenarios in my head.  A third very large swell came along.  I thought my husband would better know how to take care of himself than I would if we toppled, but I am sure I could make it, but there was a lot of trepidation!

Being out in San Diego for my professional conference I thought of the couple faced with sex addiction and the parallel to this excursion.  Often we enter marriage with the idea that it will be smooth sailing.  Rough seas are a possibility but they remain out of our minds.  The metaphor of us in the kayak is we are in this together, like it or not, and we are two different people with different skillsets!  When sex addiction is revealed in a marriage, it can produce a panic similar to the large swells we encountered out there on the Pacific Ocean.  At that moment, one cannot see anything except the crisis at hand the way we could only see the wall of water.  It is large.  It is ominous.  It feels like one might not live through it.  There are waves of it coming and waves of it passing, seemingly without warning, and rhyme or reason.  One feels an eminent danger. There is a need to find a way from being toppled without the ability to see the horizon.  Couples faced with sex addiction are forced to come up with safety plans for safe passage through deep, murky and dangerous-feeling waters.  Couples need a plan, a set of safety regulations, and a set of skills to guide them to safety.

A CSAT therapist specifically trained in Sex Addiction can be a helpful guide to teach skills and navigate to safe waters in marriages that find themselves in the swells they feel like they might not survive.

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The Big Year – An Allegory Tale of Sex Addiction in Relationships?

Spoiler Alert:  This post is about the recent movie The Big Year starring Steve Martin, Jack Black, and Owen Wilson. If you want to see it, reading further could ruin it for you.  I thought it was a pretty good movie, however, our American viewing audiences might not agree.  This movie does not have copious amounts of violence, sex, or action other than obsessed men on the hunt in competition to view the most species of birds in one year.  Three disparate men, each facing unique personal and relational challenges, try to outdo each other in the ultimate bird-watching competition.

I watched the plot unfold on how each man’s obsession affected their love lives, familial relationships, and their relationships with each other.  I found my mind wandering to the parallels of those I treat with sex addiction.  Three men obsessed, hunting, searching and driven.  Each has a back story which shapes their quest.  Steve Martin’s character is driven, achieved success, but has not quelled the need to continue to search for fulfillment and drive.  Owen Wilson’s character has reached the title once in his life, but can’t let another man beat him this year.  The El Nino winds have made weather patterns hold promise that he could beat his own record!  He can’t resist the temptation to better his own ultimate peak experience. He fails to make good on promises to his wife and the infertility clinic schedule for the bird viewing obsession.  Jack Black’s character hopes to escape his doldrums of 9-5 existence. He is stuck in the rut of discordant family relations.  He has an unsupportive father who has not realized his own life’s potential.  Jack longs for a life of passion in any form.   The disrespecting father is void of his own life’s passion and ridicules his son for these crazy efforts. The big year could be Jack Black’s big break at the chance to heal all his psychic ills.

Sex addiction is a disease that hides.  Many who struggle with the addiction report a feeling of doctor Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. I watched the movie with interest as conquest, compulsion, and secrecy affected the characters' family relationships and their relationships with one another.  Each man in competition with the other tries to hide their true motives from one another.  This act of secrecy shapes their relationships, as well.  We watch secrecy shape their relations with one another and their primary relationships. And so it is with sex addiction.

Sex addiction is an intimacy disorder and leads to a life out of balance.  Steve Martin, restless for more achievement, is transparent to his wife about his goals for The Big Year.  His obsession drives him, yet, his wife can support him because she recognizes the importance to him.  She encourages him to follow his dreams.  His corporate staff is frustrated for the inability to reach him through this obsession.  Steve Martin also appears nurturing to Jack Black’s character, yet hides his true motives from him.  Jack Black, endearing himself to this father figure on his journey, is honest about his intentions for The Big Year and feels betrayed when he finds out Steve Martin has hid the truth about his intentions for The Big Year. Owen Wilson promises to meet his wife and her needs of a baby which involves scheduled infertility treatments.  The obsession for the call of the birds is greater than the biologic clock that ticks away within his wife.  Owen and his wife are single-minded and self-obsessed. They ignore, or fail to recognize, what the passion is within one another. They live in parallel focused environments frustrated for the other’s inability to meet their needs.  A similar dynamic often exists in the sex-addicted marriage. 

Sex addiction is a family of origin disorder.  Jack Black lives in a home enmeshed with his mother and a father who fails to recognize either his wife’s or his son’s emotional processes, let alone his own!  The mom overextends herself to her son’s wishes almost to make up for her husband’s criticism and disengagement. 

Obsession kills relationships.  As Terry Real presented at the recent SASH conference I attended, “The ‘cure’ for addiction and emotional problems is emotional connection. We hide our true selves in addiction fearing we would be unlovable. Intimacy (into-me-you-see intimacy) is the fix for addiction.  Steve Martin, supported in understanding, comes to understand what his obsession is costing him as his first grandchild is born.  He realizes the obsession is keeping him from the ones he loves.  Jack Black’s father meets an-end-of-life-health crisis head on.  Faced with his immortality, the crisis wakes him up to the importance of life.  In this crisis he and his son begin to learn caring and a shared intimacy.  He even goes out with his son on his quest for the elusive Great Gray Owl.  Jack Black in his obsession, but feeling cared for, realizes he neglected to care for his ailing father.  He panics thinking his father might have a heart attack and circles back to find him- a brilliant metaphor.  Not only does he find his father, but he finds his father has found the elusive thing that he seeks – the Great Gray Owl.  Intimacy is created over time by shared experiences.

In the end, Jack Black healed with his dad’s love and respect, is freed up to be truly intimate with others in his life.  His opportunity for love, previously elusive, appears and he is ready to take it. Owen Wilson misses the chance to meet the need of his wife one more time.  She can no longer endure the rejection and they both cannot turn off their respective obsessions or resentments for each other.  Steve Martin and Jack Black, feeling healed in their life and relationships, hope that Owen Wilson can live with the choices he makes and the consequences of his actions.

I sat with a man recently who attempted to reach his father his whole life.  When all was revealed about this father’s obsession and addiction, the father said to his son I do not want to give up what I am doing.  It is a painful realization when one knows they are picked over for the addiction.  Some people choose to remain isolated and die “in their disease”.  Some realize what is important. Some choose the hard work of intimacy and connection.  Steve Martin and Jack Black demonstrated the rewards of a connected life with the decision to live consciously and it was heartwarming. 

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New Information on Sex Addiction

This past month I attended the SASH conference (Society for the Advancement of Sexual Health) in San Diego.  The list of professional presenters and topics these professionals lectured on were quite impressive.  Presenters included such industry standouts in the field of Sexual Compulsivity, Addiction, and Trauma included:  Dr. Patrick Carnes, Alex Katehakis, Rob Weiss, Terry Real, Dr. Janina Fisher, and Kelly McDaniel.  There is exciting research coming out of a field which is working together to help those in need of healing from this addiction.  I was grateful to spend time with those in the industry on the frontline of research at a national level. These clinicians and researchers help further knowledge, understanding, and help alleviate the pain and symptoms of those who struggle.

I also had the chance to spend time with staff and clinicians that own or work at top-notch treatment centers and Intensive Outpatient Centers from a variety of places in our country.   Knowing how others work, what level of treatment they offer, and seeing their professionalism firsthand, gives me confidence to refer a client when there is a higher level of care necessary than the outpatient services I offer.  There are a couple of reasons clinicians will look at what level of care a client needs.  Safety issues (harm to self or others) and difficulty in maintaining sobriety are a couple of factors to be examined when selecting the appropriate level of care necessary for achieving successful sobriety.

My clients often suffer from more than one addiction.  Many tell me they have kicked their cocaine or alcohol habit in the past, but sex addiction is a much harder addiction to tackle.  Dr. Carnes speaks to that point when he looks at possible reasons behind this fact. The neural networks for sex and love are related to our survival needs.

I will be highlighting recent presentations, research, and components of treatment gleaned at this conference in future posts.  

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The Two D-Day’s of Sex Addiction

"To do anything in this world worth doing, we must not stand back shivering and thinking of the cold and danger, but jump in, and scramble through as well as we can." 
– Sydney Smith

D-Day.  The mention of D-Day usually conjures up the invasion of the Normandy Beaches on June 6, 1944, bloody battles that ensued, and ultimately liberation from German occupation during World War II.  In Sex Addiction treatment with addicts, spouses, and couples that I sit with, we sometimes refer to two D-days.  The first D-Day we refer to as “Discovery Day”.  The second D-Day is “Disclosure Day”.

The Discovery Day, in my mind parallels the initial invasion. The D-Day invasion in 1944 involved 5,000 ships carrying men and vehicles across the English Channel, 800 planes that dropped over 13,000 men in parachutes, and 300 planes that dropped bombs on German troops that defended the beaches.  The result was 100,000 Allied troops made it to shore that day.   I wish no disrespect to  those who physically endured the battle of WW II, but in my mind of sitting with couples in sex addiction, there is a metaphorical parallel.  Can you imagine the power of this assault?  When discovery happens for the spouse there is an invasion.  Life, as they knew or thought it to be, changes in an instant.  PTSD from the trauma continues as they lose so much in the transaction of the discovery invasion.  The spouse of the addict loses their way, their orientation to life, and the things they thought that were, aren’t.  They lose the feelings of specialness to their spouse that was felt in the marriage.  It is a betrayal like no other.  For the addict there are casualties, as well.  The addict is often caught by a surprise attack.  They are left to defend the territory of addiction.  They are lost in a world of disorientation from the occupation of the addiction and the shame of being discovered.  It is a difficult labyrinth for both sides of the war at this point.  I have both spouses and addicts contact me in the aftermath of discovery.  I can assure you it is painful and the wounds are severe for both soldiers in the opposing armies.

Scholars of WWII note that D-Day probably referred to Decision Day.  The success of the campaign of 1944 involved pushing the front of the occupied forces back after the initial invasion. The Second D-Day of sex addiction is Disclosure Day.  Disclosure Day has the possibility of the same purpose.   The success in sex addiction treatment also involves pushing the front of addiction back so the occupation of addiction no longer continues.  Disclosure has the potential to create liberation for the addict and possibly the relationship.  It certainly helps to begin pushing the fronts of addiction back so that freedom from living in the occupation of addiction can begin.  Disclosure helps the addict begin to reduce shame, shed long-held secrets which feed a shame spiral that feed addiction, and liberate one to a life of living transparently.  For the spouse, disclosure helps them understand what has been long-held in secret behind the front.  They can decide if they wish to work on the relationship after they hear what the addict has had to say.  Disclosure can lay the foundation for a new foundation of intimacy in a relationship.

Disclosure is not for everyone, but it is highly recommended for most treatment plans. Disclosure is not recommended until sobriety is established to give the addict a chance to gain his bearings, develop a supportive network to deal with shame, and give a full account of acting out from a sober mind.   Disclosure is not just coming clean in confession after the discovery.  Disclosure must be planned and executed as carefully as the Normandy Invasion was planned for.  To haphazardly just rush in could be disastrous for the campaign of winning the war.  Disclosure should be done purposefully with the skill of trained therapists with experience of how to structure disclosure for the maximum chance of success.  Certified Sex Addiction Therapists (CSAT’s) are uniquely trained in facilitating disclosure processes. 

Wars rage on when both sides fight for an impossible ideal.  Sometimes when one retreats from an ideal it gives the opposing army a chance to re-evaluate.  For healing with couples and sex addiction treatment, we have to arrest the addiction first.  Everyone must look at how they engaged in the battle previous to discovery.  Addiction has raged for a variety of reasons that must be addressed. Couples need to be helped with how to put down their weapons.   They need help to assess  their wounds, and evaluate the ideals that are worth fighting for.  They need to negotiate openly post-disclosure rather than be on the attack.  Recovery is a process of new skills, new boundaries on the frontier, and new ways of empowering oneself.  It can be very liberating for all.

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Sex Addiction, the Partner’s Mistrust and Recovery

"To know what people really think, pay regard to what they do, rather than what they say."  
– Rene Descartes

The betrayal and discovery of sex addiction in a relationship is a betrayal like no other.  As a CSAT, I sit with people who have felt that very unique betrayal.  Sex addicts are great at hiding and living very compartmentalized lives.  Rare is the sex addict that comes forward to proclaim that they have a problem and need to seek help or treatment.  Once the addiction is discovered, there is a dynamic in the relationship that ensues.  Trust is blown.  The partner feels like the only way to be sure that offending behaviors are arrested is to keep tabs on the offending partner.  In shock they feel if they had not discovered, or happened upon evidence of sorts, then they would have never known.  Continuing to seek the evidence results in what is commonly referred to “pain shopping” in recovery circles.  Pain shopping keeps one stirred up internally and as agitated or “crazy” as the addict is with their addiction. Pain shopping is a straight pipeline to enacting the codependency dynamic in the couple impacted by sex addiction.

I teach spouses and partners of sex addicts that one of their duties of recovery is to stop pain shopping for the addict’s behaviors and to focus on themselves. The fine tuning of their radar that starts from the inside out, rather than looking for the evidence on the outside, to inform within.  If one thinks back really did they know something was amiss in their gut, but couldn’t put their finger on it? Often “No, you don’t understand I had NO IDEA this was going on” is the initial first answer. Upon working through the issues in a way that allows an autopsy of life in active addiction, spouses can begin to recognize there was chaos, tensions, unexplained agitations, that didn’t quite fit the situation. The addict threw out a smokescreen to get the partner off the trail of suspicion. Conflict was often high. They didn’t know WHAT was going on, but often they can now look back and see that the relationship was not right.

Once the addiction is discovered it is an opportunity for recovery. Addicts and partners of addicts MUST both enter into fixing their parts of the broken relationship.  If the addict does start a strong program, one will begin to adopt a transparent lifestyle that results in much less chaos and conflict.  Addicts will begin to act with humility rather than avoid relationships for fear of shame and being found out.  They will be engaged in healthy endeavors that support their care like 12-step groups, therapy, and be accountable to others in their recovery circle.

I advocate betrayed partners begin to use that information gleaned.  I teach partners what recovery truly looks like, for the addict as well as themselves.  I teach betrayed partners to look for those things that give information and wisdom without pain shopping. Pain shopping results in a parent-child marital dynamic.  A parent-child dynamic does not work for any marital relationship and is particularly problematic to the relationship impacted by sex addiction.

A person in recovery acts with humility and kindness.  The addict and the partner in recovery take responsibility for how they contribute to the chaos.  Not only do they apologize or acknowledge mistakes, but they DO things differently to not continue the same mistakes.  I teach the offended partner to sit with their gut. Their gut, their body, their sense of impression knows even if they don’t have the hard evidence.  This gives new meaning to “actions speak louder than words”.

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…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).