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Lacy Alajna Bentley

Sex and Relationship Healing is pleased to partner with Lacy Bentley, host of our Tuesday Women’s Sex/Love Addiction drop-in discussion group and our Thursday Women’s Porn Addiction drop-in discussion group, for our Summer of Love (Addiction). This wonderful series examining women, love addiction, fantasy, pornography, and healing is drawn from Lacy’s book, Addicted to Love.

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In my previous post to this site, we discussed how tracking and reporting your romantic fantasies helps you become accountable for your actions, while also helping you identify triggers so you can more effectively deal with them. This week, we are looking at the ways in which self-care plays into accountability.

Self-care is, perhaps, the most important skill you can learn in your recovery. I have seen many (perhaps most) recovery programs not give self-care enough attention, if it is addressed at all. Perhaps the fear is going overboard, but we can learn to manage this with everything else.

In the process of healing, it is critical that you not overbook yourself or become obsessed with recovery work. Even recovery work can become a distraction from the day-to-day needs of self and family. As recovery progresses, you will learn your limits and begin to understand how much you can handle. Early on, I like to recommend cutting out as much as possible the unnecessary running around, so your emotional energy is available for the mental recovery work you are doing.

Balance in all things is key. Recovery work needs to be a priority, but it cannot be your whole life. What can you let go of to clear space for both recovery and self-care?

When you check in with your accountability support, be honest about your self-care. What are you doing to recharge? How is your sleep? Are you taking breaks to have fun and build relationships? Above all, what are you doing to build yourself as a person and maintain the vital value of hope?

A major part of self-care for recovering love addicts is finding the right people to support you. These people are highly valuable, and not always easy to find. When I first started recovery, the only woman I had was my therapist, and I paid her to be my friend!

That said, I’m sure you have one or two people in your life that will fit. These individuals are kind, compassionate, validating, and honest. They are not afraid to get in your face, tell you the truth, and call you out on your excuses. They love you at your best and honor you at your worst. A friend like this loves you enough to give you the truth, straight from the heart, without beating around the bush. And that person always does it with love.

It is up to you to take the information, find the gems, and not get your feelings hurt by the other person’s honesty. That’s not to say you need to put up with being ripped apart. It’s quite the opposite, in fact. A support person may rip the bandage off quickly, but always has antibiotic ointment and a cleansing cloth in their back pocket. Because of this, you can be accountable to this person through your journey, checking in frequently. Having more than one of these people to lean on is even better. Today, I have multiple support people at all times.

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If you or someone you care about is struggling with love addiction, please check out the FREE Women’s Sex/Love Addiction Drop-In Discussion Group on this website, or, for males, any of the FREE Men’s Drop-In Discussion groups for addicts. (Most of the men’s group are listed as sex/porn addiction, but love addicts are welcomed and generally benefit.)