By Eddie Capparucci LPC, C-CSAS, CPCS
It’s difficult to hear new clients discuss their endless struggle with sexual or pornography addiction. So many have tried time and time again to stop the insanity only to find themselves crashing and burning for the umpteen time. They feel hopeless and believe they are nearly out of options.
But there is a path many have yet to explore when it comes to learning how to manage their addiction. And that path takes them on a journey to answer the why question.
“Why has this sex or porn addiction taken control of my life?”
I believe understanding why a sex/porn addiction manifested is the steppingstone to recovery. Because if we know why we do the things we do, we become empowered to learn how to manage our actions. And it all starts with answering the why question.
Answer Found in Inner Child
The answer to this simple yet complex question can be discovered in a very unlikely source—the inner child. The inner child is a storage unit filled with pain points from our childhood and teen years that we have repressed as adults.
When a negative event—minor or major—occurs in the daily life of a sex addict, his inner child immediately searches the storage unit to determine if the current event correlates with a past emotional wound. And if he finds a match, the addiction cascade is set in motion.
Why? Because the inner child is trapped in a time warp surrounded by frightening memories, and when one of those pain points erupts, the kid desires to seek comfort. And he has learned that sex is a remarkable source of comfort.
Managing the Inner Child
The Inner Child Recovery Process for the Treatment of Sex/Porn Addiction (ICRP) is a unique and exciting approach to helping individuals manage their addiction. ICRP empowers individuals with the ability to stay one step ahead of their addiction by:
- Being aware of what triggers their inner child
- Being mindful of when their inner child becomes activated
- Processing pain points that still haunt their inner child
- Utilizing rationale insight to resolve the inner child’s emotional conflict
- Making healthy decisions instead of escaping
The ICRP is the subject of my new book, Going Deeper: How the Inner Child Impacts Your Sexual Addiction, which will be released in February 2020. The book has been endorsed by many leaders in the sex addiction field, including Dr. Robert Weiss, who states, “Any traditional, trauma-driven male sex or porn addict will easily find himself in the chapters of this enlightening look at how the inner child impacts sexual compulsivity. This is an excellent and necessary examination of the ‘why’ of sex and porn addiction, helpful primarily to men in sexual recovery who’ve established initial sobriety and need deeper, longer-term work to heal and remain sober.”
Nine Inner Kids
To assist clients in identifying their core emotional triggers, the ICRP consists of nine inner children who impact an individual’s sex/porn addiction. Each child has his own core emotional triggers based on the pain points faced as a youngster. During therapy, clients identify the children they resonate with most, which leads them to compile their unique list of core emotional triggers that activate their addiction. It is not unusual for a client to associate with three or more of the nine children.
Here is a brief overview of one child from the ICRP—the bored child.
The bored child was raised in an environment that offered little in the way of positive interaction among family members or peers. Even if the child was surrounded by people, he was made to feel isolated and alone. Kids like this grow up learning to entertain themselves, and eventually find it more comfortable to be alone than with others. They led a low-key, quiet existence as children and teenagers. But at some point, they discovered sex and experienced a level of stimulation they had never felt before. They found it very powerful and captivating and it served as a mental and emotional rush that created a new type of stimulation for them. They became laser-focused on sex as they continued to feed their newfound desire for stimulation. As adults, they are now programmed to fill any dull and quiet moments with the quest to obtain the chemical rush that sex delivers. Among the core emotional triggers associated with this child are thoughts like: “I am alone,” “I am invisible,” “I feel empty,” and “Life has no purpose.”
Improving Emotional IQ
It is not uncommon for individuals who struggle with a sex or pornography addiction to have a low emotional IQ. They have a difficult time identifying their feelings, as well as emotionally connecting with others. An important component to the ICPR is assisting individuals in strengthening their emotional IQ. This includes helping them to identify emotions beyond anger, sadness, fear, or happiness. It also assists them in learning how to be vulnerable and express their feelings while demonstrating how to properly deal with the emotions of others.
ICRP also is extremely beneficial for the spouses/partners of the addicted individuals in providing them with valuable insight into the rationale why their partner has betrayed them. This helps to reduce the spouse/partner’s feelings of inadequacy and leads to the empathy that is needed to help restore relationships.
For those who have struggled to overcome their addiction with no success, the ICRP offers tremendous hope. And that hope centers on the inner child, because the path to recovery from sex and porn addiction goes through our childhood.
Eddie Capparucci is a licensed professional counselor and is certified in the treatment of sexual and pornography addiction with a private practice in Marietta, GA. Among his many clients, Eddie has worked with professional athletes including NFL and MLB players and television personalities. He serves as the clinical director for the National Decency Coalition, an organization working with state governments to help limit the access of pornography to minors.
He is the administrator of the websites www.MenAgainstPorn.org and www.SexuallyPureMen.com. Over the years, he has spoken to numerous organizations regarding the harmful impact pornography has on individuals, relationships, and society. He is the host of a monthly webinar entitled: Getting to the Other Side. Eddie can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. His new book, Going Deeper: How the Inner Child Impacts Your Sexual Addiction, will be released February 2020 and is now available for preorder at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Abebooks.com and other online book retail outlets.