Talking to a stranger about your sex life is not easy for any of us, but if your behaviour feels out of control and is causing other difficulties in your life, then it’s even harder. That’s why I’m never surprised when people cringe at the idea of doing any kind of group work as part of their recovery. So how come so many addiction specialists recommend joining a group. In short, because it works. As one guy said recently:-
“The only real treatment of sex addiction I have come across and the only thing I know that really works.”
As I’ve talked about many times before in my blogs, sex and porn addiction thrive in secrecy and shame and one of the most powerful ways of breaking through that shame is to meet other people who struggle with the same problem. Ordinary people. People with every day jobs who love their partner and their kids, who walk the dog and sit on the train. People who no-one would suspect of being a sex addict. In other words, people like you and I.
Sex addiction can affect anyone, people of any age, race, faith or sexual orientation. But a common denominator in many people who struggle with this addiction is that they feel different. They fear that they are weird or abnormal in some way. And as much as an individual therapist may try to reassure them that their problems and situation is commonplace, it can feel hard to believe.
People who join a group, whether that’s one of our recovery programmes or a 12 step support group, see first hand that they are not alone. They see others who struggle like they do – ordinary people. Furthermore, a group provides long term support and friendship. Another client described it like this:-
“The course was a life affirming, life changing experience that started with 6 disparate, scared, lonely blokes who all underwent a journey of self discovery and ended with 6 comrades so much better equipped to deal with the challenges of life and addiction.”
Group work is not an alternative to individual therapy and many people feel they benefit from receiving both. Individual therapy provides the space to explore personal issues in depth, whereas the group offers a breakthrough to the isolation and shame as well as providing a diversity of shared experiences and learning that can’t be gained individually. It takes courage to join a group, but it’s a decision that many hundreds of people have found life changing. I’ll leave the final word to another client. But if you want to find out more about what happens on our recovery courses, do have a look at our new video.
“Having tried one-to-one therapy on a number of occasions without long term success I found out about Paula’s group therapy and decided to set aside my initial reservations about discussing my problem with others. This undoubtedly proved to be one of the best decisions of my life and the cohesiveness of our group has provided invaluable support to me in my recovery, which as I write, is in its sixteenth month. Group therapy allows you to contribute to, and benefit from, a valuable long term support network of people who truly understand the nature of sex addiction”