Robert Weiss PhD, LCSW
Every new year, countless individuals pursue embark upon a pathway toward sobriety. And why not? After all, this time of year signals both an ending and a beginning. So making a resolution to quit engaging in an addictive behavior makes perfect sense right now.
Unfortunately, when you’re dealing with an addiction, making resolutions is not enough. Lasting change requires actions that back up the resolutions an addict makes. Some of the actions that sex, porn, and substance/sex addicts should take as the new year begins include the following:
- Tell friends and family about your addiction and your desire for sobriety. Becoming accountable to others in this way makes it much harder to slip up and return to old, addictive patterns. If nothing else, friends and family can help you keep an eye on your thinking and behavior and can support you in your weaker moments.
- Seek professional assistance. If you’re addicted and you’ve tried to quit and recover on your own, you know that doesn’t work. To establish and maintain lasting sobriety, addicts need a recovery-focused support network. Usually, that starts with a therapist. If you’re a sex, porn, or substance/sex addict, look for a CSAT (Certified Sex Addiction Therapist) designation after the therapist’s name. Treating these addictions effectively requires special training, and only CSATs have it. You might also want to consider (and your therapist might recommend) an inpatient sex, porn, or substance/sex rehab. These programs separate you from the people, places, and things that drive your addiction while grounding you in sobriety and reducing your risk of relapse.
- Seek secondary support from other recovering addicts. To establish and maintain sobriety from any addiction, including sex, porn, and substance/sex addiction, you need to be in regular contact with others in recovery. Options include the free online webinars and drop-in discussion groups provided by Seeking Integrity and Sex and Relationship Healing, and 12-step meetings like Sex Addicts Anonymous (SAA), Sex and Porn Addicts Anonymous (SPAA), and others. It is best to find a few support groups you like and to attend those groups regularly, so you and other members can build connections and better care for one another.
- Change your daily routine. Addicts almost always have identifiable patterns and routines that eventually lead them toward active addiction. If you are serious about getting sober, examine your patterns and figure out where things go awry—and then make a different choice in those moments. Instead of driving down the stress with all the strip clubs, take a different route. Instead of opening your phone when you get home from work and cruising social media, go for a walk. It doesn’t really matter what you do that’s different, as long as it breaks the pattern that leads to using.
- Find a new hobby. If you want to stay sober, you’re going to have to deal with the suddenly empty hours you used to fill your addiction. So, take an exercise class at your gym; join a local cycling club; learn (or re-learn) a musical instrument; landscape the yard; write a novel. For best results, choose an activity that you find fun that also involves other people. You may find yourself making some wonderful new friends.
There is no better time to begin or improve your sobriety than the new year. Giving yourself and those around you the gift of sobriety is a present you and they will cherish for the rest of your life. Of course, maintaining your New Year’s resolution of sobriety does not guarantee that you will have a perfect year. Life happens no matter what, and there’s not much that any of us can do about that. That said, life in sobriety is always better than life in active addiction. Sure, getting sober and staying sober takes a lot of hard work and effort, but it’s truly worth it.
If you find yourself struggling to get started with sexual recovery, consider inpatient treatment with Seeking Integrity. We offer 14, 21, and 28-day programming depending on client needs. Click here to learn more or call us at 747.234.4325.