Stopping the Addictive Cycle

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Addiction: When you can stop, you don’t want to, and when you want to stop, you can’t.

There are six stages in the cycle of sexual addiction: triggers (catalysts that create a need/desire to act out sexually); fantasy; ritualization (the process of moving fantasy toward reality); acting out; numbing (emotional distancing); and despair (shame and remorse). The cycle is best interrupted at the trigger stage. When we learn to recognize our triggers (emotional discomfort, certain types of imagery, certain areas of town, etc.), we can engage in contrary action by dealing with them in a healthy way. We can also stop the addictive cycle in the fantasy and ritual stages, but doing so becomes progressively more difficult. As we move deeper into the cycle, our addiction gathers momentum like a boulder rolling down a hill.

Just for Today
Try to figure out the tipping point in your addictive cycle—your point of no return.