The 12 Steps To Recovery From Sex Addiction

Recovering from a sex addiction requires adhering to a 12 step program. Such programs have become synonymous with people’s efforts to change their lives and behaviors, and have been applied to everything including over-eating, sex, compulsive gambling, and drug addiction.

The original 12 step program was published by Alcoholics Anonymous in the late 1930s to treat addiction to alcohol. Since then, it has been adapted and directed towards other forms of addiction and compulsive behaviors and has been recognized by the American Psychological Foundation. Small details within each 12 step program change depending on what’s being treated, but all follow the same template. While there is debate on what defines addiction, many agree that the brain becomes dependent on chemicals either imbibed (alcohol) or produced naturally through a behavior, such as sex or gambling.

The 12 Steps:

Step one is the sex addict admitting they have no power over their sex addiction and that their lives have gotten out of control. This step essentially defines a sex addiction, a situation where a person no longer can control their sexual behavior despite it causing them problems. This may sound facetious, but if a sex addict could control their behavior, they would not be an addict. Admitting powerlessness also opens the door to getting outside help. A person with a broken leg does not try to mend it on their own, they call a doctor because they do not have the skills to heal themselves. It is no different with a sex addiction.

Step two is acknowledging there is a “higher power” that can help the addict with their addiction. This and the next step may be two of the least understood, as “higher power” generally refers to God. While many going through the 12 step program turn to the Christian faith, anything can serve as the higher power. A person can look to the sun, a favorite object, anything they can mentally equate with a power above themselves. Some neurologists have said the human brain is hardwired towards religion, and because of this it can be used as a powerful tool in influencing behavior.

A higher power plays the role of a neutral yet supportive third part in the sex addict’s life. It is not the addicts themselves, nor is it their therapist, nor is it a loved one the addict may have wronged or someone who will judge them.

The third step is giving themselves over to that higher power, as they understand it. Many sex addicts begin reading the Bible and attending religious services of their faith. Others will take up a different spiritual text as their understand of their higher power. The book or the faith or belief is not important here, what is important is that the reliance on self get turned over to a reliance on a higher power. Most religions have set guidelines on sexual conduct, as well as other aspects of life, and make for a ready made code of conduct a person can adhere to, at least until their lives are under their control once more.

Step four is where the sex addict gets to the “nitty gritty” of their problem and comes to see what it looks like from the outside by completing a “moral inventory” of themselves. This inventory documents their life and how and when their sexual habits, failings, and other common behaviors began in an effort to see the big picture and have an accurate understanding of what it is. Typically, a deadline is put on this step, as many addicts tend to get hung up on it, either because they find it difficult to examine themselves this way, or feel the need to be too thorough.

The fifth step involves taking that inventory and showing it to someone else, either a spouse, sponsor, clergy or trusted confidant, or even another sex addict further along in their treatment. This is done for a number of reasons. If a sex addict can share this, it means they are comfortable with it to a degree and will be able to open up further because seeing the behavior inventory may not be enough to let the sex addict truly see their problem or recognize patterns in their behavior. When it comes to the familiar, an addict sees what they intend rather than what really is. It’s the same as when an athlete needs a coach to check their stance or swing or attitude for their sport. So the sex addict needs another pair of eyes on their moral inventory to catch things and gain feedback from a different perspective.

Steps six and seven of the original Alcoholics Anonymous version are asking the higher power or God to remove the addict’s defects and to forgive them. Other, more secular minded versions describe these steps as similar transition periods. The sex addict goes from identifying the problem to recognizing that they, themselves, are now past that stage and can now expend energy enacting change. The addict is taught to see that the mistakes have been made cannot be unmade, and wishing to change the past is a waste of energy. While it’s not a “clear slate,” it is a shift of focus onto the present, which can be affected by the sex addict.

Step eight, while at first may seem like a look back, is actually for the addict to compile a list of people their sex addiction has harmed. This may be family they’ve neglected, spouses cheated on, and in extreme cases, victims of their sexual abuse. This step is sometimes broken down into smaller segments, identifying the types of relationships harmed by the sex addiction. In the case of deceased loved ones or people the addict cannot have contact with, this step serves as an emotional release by further letting the addict see the extent of the damage their behavior has caused.

The ninth step is an extension of the eighth, and involves making amends with the people identified in that step, when possible. It could be something as simple as a verbal apology, and may not be something that can be accomplished in a moment, a day, or even months. This step is distinctive to the individuals involved, and not completely possible in all cases.

Step 10 is continuing the list from step five, and admitting when a mistake has been made. This can expand beyond sexual behavior and include any kind of non-desirable actions or emotions. Negative feelings are what led the sex addict to compulsively seek the numbing behavior to start with. And being able to identify those trouble spots and handle them in a way that doesn’t feed a new addiction cycle is key. Sex addiction often comes with other forms of addiction, or can spin off into those other forms if the root cause is not being monitored.

Prayer and meditation are Step 11 in the program. Many call prayer and meditation one and the same, but whichever route the sex addict chooses, they should set aside time each day for quiet reflection. A daily pause is used as an anchor to keep the complexities of the addict’s outside world from becoming overwhelming. This step lets the sex addict remind themselves of their progress and the tools they have to fight their compulsions.

The final step is working with other sex addicts, or passing on some of the knowledge the addict has gained. The selfless side of this is ensures a pool of experienced teachers well versed in the subject matter who can perpetuate the program. The benefit to the addict doing the teaching is the same as to teacher; the one imparting the wisdom in turn learns more about what they’ve come to know. Having to articulate to another person what one has learned makes a person think about benefits in ways they hadn’t before, and leads to greater understanding.

Those are the basic 12 steps found in addiction recovery programs. Many are closely related, but together they show a progression. It should be noted this programs not a “do these 12 things and you’re cured” prescription, but at the higher levels are a lifelong set of behaviors. They may play a less active role in the recovering sex addict’s life as time goes on, but the inventory, meditation, and teaching tend to be in the background for a long time.

Overcome Weed Addiction With These Three Tips

To overcome any addiction you need a plan, a strategy that will allow you to deal with all the problems and cravings that will challenge you along the way. Without a proper plan most people succumb to their addiction once more and continue their habit making it even harder to quit the second time with the feeling of failure that comes with a failed attempt. To overcome weed addiction you must understand, plan and act to quit your habit for good!

Understand Your Addiction

If you do not understand your addiction in depth you will never learn to overcome it. Since marijuana has no chemicals that addict you like cigarettes have nicotine it means that smoking weed is a psychological addiction where you are addicted to getting the high, you want it and the cravings are a deep seated want not a physical need. This is just like alcohol addiction or a gambling addiction where the action becomes something you keep going back to again and again until it starts to take over your life. This is the end result though, the important thing is to understand the root cause and the triggers associated with your drug abuse. By understanding the root cause, why you started to smoke and why you continued you get beyond the simple “I like to get high” excuse, you also need to know what triggers your cravings, there are often events in your life that make you want to go have a smoke, isolating these incidents and knowing what causes them allow you a depth of knowledge you need to combat your addiction.

Have A Plan

Once you develop a good knowledge of your addiction you need to have a plan. You need to know what you need to do when a trigger event happens and how you can stop yourself giving in to the cravings, there may be many ways to do this but you must make this plan and stick to it whenever you are triggered. Only once you can avoid giving into cravings can you focus on overcoming your addiction fully.

Act On Your Knowledge

Only by acting on this knowledge and having a plan for countering triggers can you work to solve the root cause of your addiction, the seed of all your cravings and need for the drug will always be there luring you back unless you find some solution or peace with yourself that can allow you to truly be free.

While these tips are only a simple overview on how to overcome weed addiction they can still provide a structure for fighting back against the controlling forces of addiction that can dominate your life and lead it to ruin.

Are You Suffering From Addiction?

Many researchers believe that addiction is a behavior that can be controlled to some extent and also a brain disease. And since some testing with functional magnetic resonance imaging (FMRI) found that all addictions tend to cause nearly the same reactions inside the brain, there could be one type of control model for addiction health-related issues.

Others express the opinion that some of us have an addictive personality and therefore are more likely to have problems than others.

In other words, just as there is one disorder or disease labeled asthma, there would be one for addiction, covering all addictions; gambling, smoking, overeating, drugs, etc. Then one main treatment strategy or plan could be used to treat all addictions.

How addiction works in a nutshell is like this. The brain, the center of the body’s nervous system, handles addiction by increasing dopamine levels in response to increased reactions from behaviors, also referred to as compulsions, like gambling or over eating, and / or in response to increased repeated episodes of substance abuse, like from cocaine or alcohol.

And this addiction affects the three functioning processes of the nervous system; sensing, perceiving and reacting. How? Let’s take a quick peak…

Dopamine, the chemical transmitter to the “pleasure center,” the place where survival instincts like eating and reproduction focus in the brain, activates cells individually or energizes them. Each energized cell in turn energizes another cell, and so on down the line, resulting in a spontaneous process of ecstasy or feelings of elation.

The problem is the brain doesn’t realize what it is that is causing the ecstasy reaction. So when this flutter of activity increases the creation of dopamine for the negative behaviors and substances like drugs, alcohol, gambling, etc., it neglects the natural survival instinct reaction mechanisms, replacing them with the ecstasy instead.

Depending upon the addiction, nervous system functions are altered. So sensing, perceiving and reacting functions of individuals are impeded. For example, alcohol is a depressant and slows down all of these functions. So a drunk driver facing an immediate collision will in all likelihood react slower than a healthy, alert driver.

And whether or not the addictive substances are inhaled, going into the lung system; or injected, traveling via the blood system; or swallowed, entering the digestive system, also affects different bodily reactions, responses and overall health.

One long-term effect is an increased tolerance level with dopamine reaching out into other brain areas that cloud judgment and behavioral considerations and choices. And ultimately depression results, even amidst opposing or negative stimuli, like the negative effects of narcotics on behaviors and on the body / mind and like trying to withdrawal or discontinue use.

Other long-term effects can include changing of the brain’s shape and possible permanent brain damage, depending upon the addiction and length of compulsive activity. And other health problems like cancer from cigarette smoking can result.

Addiction summed up is: compulsive behavior despite negative consequences.

I’ve Been In And Out Of Addiction Rehab – Now What?

If you have been diagnosed as addicted to alcohol, drugs or gambling and have been admitted to an addiction recovery clinic, you are given utmost support to recover from your addiction. The staffs of the rehab centre, as well as your family and friends, are also there to help you get through the addiction treatment process. Now that you have finished your detoxification and addiction treatment, what’s next?

What lies ahead of you? If you are serious about living life anew, you should totally put your addiction to past. You should avoid getting tempted to your addiction again. Don’t get into drugs, alcohol and gambling. The temptation can be strong but you can surely battle it out. These after-treatment pointers will help you out:

o Be committed to change. Unless you personally commits to recovering from addiction, you will go back to your old habits again and again. So tell yourself, that you are finally quitting and there is no way that you are getting back to it.

o Attend an after-treatment therapy. Some addiction recovery clinics offer after-rehab treatments. This is their way of helping the users face life with bright hopes. Sometimes your own experience can serve as inspiration to others who are trying to recover from their own addictions as well. So spend some time sharing your experience at the rehab centre.

o Treasure your health. You should understand that maintaining a healthy body is a prerequisite of happy living. When you start to become conscious of your health, avoiding your addiction – drug, alcohol and gambling – will come naturally. Also start prioritising healthy eating habits. When you eat healthily, your body functions well and you will feel content and happy. No need for drugs, alcohol or gambling to keep your well being high.

o Continue detoxifying. The best way to detoxify the body from all harmful chemicals is to drink plenty of water. It is also believed that water contributes in calming a person’s mood.

o When the craving for alcohol, drugs or gambling haunts you, divert your attention to something else. Try exercising or going out with friends (no drinking alcohol involved).

o Maintain a strong spiritual life. The spiritual aspect of a person is also taken cared of at most addiction rehab centres.

Staying away from your old addiction is easy if you are serious about it. The support which your family and friends give you plays an important role as well.

Addiction, The Silent Killer

The word “addiction” is derived from a Latin term for “enslaved by” or “bound to.” Anyone who has struggled to overcome an addiction or has tried to help someone else to do so understands why.

Addiction exerts a long and powerful influence on the brain that manifests in three distinct ways: craving for the object of addiction, loss of control over its use, and continuing involvement with it despite adverse consequences.

Addiction is a condition that results when a person ingests a substance (e.g., alcohol, cocaine, nicotine) or engages in an activity (e.g., gambling, sex, shopping) that can be pleasurable, but the continued use/act of which becomes compulsive and interferes with ordinary life responsibilities, such as work, relationships, or health. Users may not be aware that their behavior is out of control and causing problems for themselves and others.

The word addiction is used in several different ways. One definition describes physical addiction. This is a biological state in which the body adapts to the presence of a drug so that drug no longer has the same effect, otherwise known as a tolerance. Another form of physical addiction is the phenomenon of overreaction by the brain to drugs (or to cues associated with the drugs). An alcoholic walking into a bar, for instance, will feel an extra pull to have a drink because of these cues.

People with an addiction do not have control over what they are doing, taking or using. Their addiction may reach a point at which it is harmful.

Addictions do not only include physical things we consume, such as drugs or alcohol, but may include virtually anything, such abstract things as gambling to seemingly harmless products, such as chocolate – in other words, addiction may refer to a substance dependence (e.g. drug addiction) or behavioral addiction (e.g. gambling addiction).

However, most addictive behavior is not related to either physical tolerance or exposure to cues. People compulsively use drugs, gamble, or shop nearly always in reaction to being emotionally stressed, whether or not they have a physical addiction. Since these psychologically based addictions are not based on drug or brain effects, they can account for why people frequently switch addictive actions from one drug to a completely different kind of drug, or even to a non-drug behavior.

Addiction, often referred to as dependency often leads to tolerance – the addicted person needs larger and more regular amounts of whatever they are addicted to in order to receive the same effect. Often, the initial reward is no longer felt, and the addiction continues because withdrawal is so unpleasant.

When referring to any kind of addiction, it is important to recognize that its cause is not simply a search for pleasure and that addiction has nothing to do with one’s morality or strength of character.

Experts debate whether addiction is a “disease” or a true mental illness, whether drug dependence and addiction mean the same thing, and many other aspects of addiction. Such debates are not likely to be resolved soon.

The Dangers Of Gambling Abuse And Addiction

So, how do you know if you or someone you love have a gambling problem?

First of all it’s important to note that compulsive gambling is a psychological condition that makes people unable to control their desire to gamble. Many crave the feeling they have when they gamble and seek this experience on a daily basis, no matter whether they’re on a winning or losing streak.

Compulsive gamblers may start betting small amounts, but sooner or later start to wager higher bets in order to get the same feelings of excitement they had when they first started playing. Compulsive gamblers often feel agitated and restless if they are unable to gamble and can feel a strong desire to gamble when other aspects of their lives are weighing them down. Compulsive gamblers may also believe that gambling is the only way to pay off debts and keep believing that it’s only a matter of time before they hit the elusive jackpot. Some compulsive gamblers may find themselves lying to friends and families and in some cases stealing money or goods to pay for their gambling habit.

Not all compulsive gamblers will exhibit each of these qualities, but if you recognise just a few of these in yourself or someone close to you then it could be time to seek help.

Compulsive gambling is treatable and there are a number of wonderful organisations set up to deal specifically with this problem.

Gamblers Anonymous is probably the most well-known and widespread and is based on a 12-step program similar to that of Alcoholics Anonymous. Members meet on a regular basis to share experiences and listen to each others stories and you will find that there are literally hundreds of Gamblers Anonymous groups situated all over the world. Go to the Gamblers Anonymous website for more information (www.gamblersanonymous.com) or check your local newspaper.

Gam-Anon is another well-respected self-help organization whose motto is “serenity, courage, wisdom. “Their website provides a solid resource into the issues surrounding compulsive gambling and meetings are held regularly. (www.gam-anon.org).

The National Council on Problem Gambling is a government sponsored organization with branches across the USA. The website also has a lot of information which you may find useful. (www.ncpgambling.org).

Other countries will also have their own groups and organizations which may be publicly or privately run. Again check your local newspaper or phone book for more information.

Remember, compulsive gambling is a mental health issue for which there is help and support. If you feel that gambling is dominating your life in a way that is harmful or unhealthy, then perhaps its time to talk to someone about it.

How to End a VLT or Slot Machine Addiction

“Like a vampire seducing its prey, the VLTs were, at first blush, sexy and alluring. They were shiny, flashy, fast, and exhilarating and unfortunately for me, it was love at first sight-not the romantic, beautiful, and healthy love you’d witness in The Notebook, but the obsessive, destructive kind that you’d see in Fatal Attraction.” Gisele Jubinville

Do you or someone you love relate to this quote? The gaming machine addiction, or in other words, an addiction to VLTs or slot machines, is unlike any other gambling addiction. There are very few treatment programs that recognize this. As Gisele Jubinville outlines in her book Dismissed: How one woman’s intuition ended her addiction and exposed a government cover-up, one of the most important elements missing from treatment programs is a basic understanding of how gaming machines work. Losing control of time and money, continuous and excessive play, the inability to make controlled, informed and rational choices, and losing touch with reality are all COMMON and NORMAL experiences for regular VLT and slot machine players.

Let’s look at this statement and how it affects your addiction. One of the most common reactions after a gaming machine binge is self-loathing. Normal healthy internal dialogue switches from compassion and understanding to anger, impatience and judgment. You think, “Why am I so weak?” “What just happened to me?” “I’m such a pathetic mess. How am I ever going to get my money back?” “If someone finds out, they’ll hate me for sure.” “Why do I keep losing my money on these machines? I have no will power. What a failure I am.” These thoughts roll around in your mind, dampening your mood and infesting your self-esteem. Pretty soon, you start to believe them. You believe your addiction is your fault. You determine that you are the only one to blame for your actions and therefore you deserve the internal abuse you put yourself through.

But what if this isn’t the case? What if you are not the only one to blame? What if there are factors that contribute to your addiction that you weren’t even aware of. Did you know that millions of dollars a year are spent by manufacturers of VLTs and slot machines to increase time of play? Psychologists, behavioural scientists, doctors and researchers are hired to sharpen the program inside the machine to undermine the regular player’s ability to play responsibly. If you can’t stop playing the machines, perhaps it’s time you understand that the very ones who designed the programs you are playing actually wanted it that way. They want you to insert your money into their machines and they have done everything they can to achieve this goal. Everything about the machine has been consciously designed to hook you in and keep you there. It is a manipulation that most players are not even aware of.

Most new players are attracted by the potential of winning a jackpot. It’s why new players find VLTs and slot machines entertaining at first. But, over time entertainment turns to entrapment. Regularly playing the machines affects your thinking. Your controlled, rational mind is replaced with an irrational thinking that fools itself into believing you will actually make money on the machines. This is what the program inside the machine wants you think. It has created a scheduled system of reinforcement to condition you to expect, hope for and want the elusive winning jackpot. And it has you thinking it is just around the corner, just another $20 oughta do it. When you play regularly, your normal thinking is replaced with this insane rationalization and you end up chained to the machines.

So yes, take ownership of your addiction. You cannot heal until you do. But consider also that perhaps you are more a victim than you are an addict. When you let this sink in, your internal dialogue will begin to change. Instead of beating yourself up for losing control again, you’ll think, “I am doing exactly what the machines are programming me to do. When I sit in front of a VLT or slot machine, my mind is being affected. The program inside the machine is created with the purpose of keeping me at the machine for as long as possible. Losing control of my time and money is a NORMAL reaction for regular players of these machines.”

As your internal dialogue changes, so too will your actions. The urge to play the machines will start to disappear the more you understand how the machines work. Instead of unsuccessfully trying to force yourself to stay away from the machines, you will naturally want to stay away. Knowledge is freedom. It is a natural and harmonious path to recovery and I encourage you to start researching. It could potentially save your life.

Slot Machine Addiction

With modern slot machines there’s a greatest potential for a dangerous side effect; gambling addiction as more people are addicted to slots than any other form of gambling. The modern slots are like hightech video games that play music and scenes from TV shows. You can play hundreds of lines at once and instead of pulling a handle you bet by pushing buttons which means each bet can be completed in as little as 3.5 seconds.

It looks like great fun but it can be dangerously addictive. Whether or not it’s their intention the gambling industry is designing machines that can addict people.

One MIT Anthropology Professor had studied gambling addiction for over 15 years. She’s interviewed gamblers, casino owners and slot machine designers.

One question we put to her was – Do you think that most people would even think that a machine could addict you, that a machine can do the same thing that a drug could?

Answer: What addiction really has to do is with the speed of the rewards and these machines they’re packing 1200 hands per hour into play. You’re being exposed as you can see that being exposed to a higher dose because all that speed means more bets and that means more excitement.

Another core aspect of their addictiveness is their continuous nature. You’re not interrupted by anything. You’re not waiting for the horses to run. You’re not waiting for the guy next to you to choose his card to put down. There’s no one in that wheel spinning it’s just you and the machine. It’s a continuous flow without interruption.

Researchers at the University of Waterloo in Canada measured how players respond physiologically while they gamble and show that the new machines can make them think they’re winning even when they’re not. The gamblers almost always get some many back. If he puts in a dollar he might get back 50 cents but the sounds and flickering lights trick his brain into thinking he came out ahead. “The constant feeling of winning creates so much pleasure”. The regular players can slip in a trance like state, a place she calls the zone.

So if you want to play the slots or the electronic roulette machines please take precautions by limiting the amount of time spent playing also the amount of money you risk. Play moderately for enjoyment rather that the financial gain.

Signs of Online Gambling Addiction – Find The Truth About Signs Of Online Gambling Addiction

Everyone has the power to exercise their right to participate in betting activities, whether online or offline. There are existing rules, laws, and mandates to most of these websites, but the legal prospect are still not that comprehensive. In fact, it is quite difficult to control these websites for one reason or another.

No matter how stringent the policies may be for online gambling restrictions, there are still underground sites that operate with no cares in the world. If the business is quite lucrative, like gambling is, and can operate with very minimal costs, companies would do anything to tempt people into joining in on the fun and fad.

Because of the heavy internet traffic, the online dealings may be construed as suspicious. It has been said that some illicit acts of money laundering are known to come from online betting sites. This is actually a very minor crime compared to the other forms of illegal activities in the web. Again, the internet is impossible to monitor amidst millions of people using it for almost anything imaginable.

Another ongoing debate is the ease of access to these online gambling sites. The problem is that these sites encourages gambling right inside the home. Once this happens, the home gets into a financial crisis brought about by debts from gambling. In addition to this, family relationships are bound to get broken and friends are sometimes forgotten.

The most obvious sign of online gambling addiction is when a person keeps hounding the family computer to play online. Some people are very open to other members seeing what he or she is doing in the computer. However, some may be addicted already without anyone else’s knowledge.

These types of gamblers already know that they are addicted to online gambling but they are not ready to let go of the addiction yet. Telltale signs are, being fidgety and always in hurry to be somewhere else, lack of hygiene, always late for appointments or work, always coming home late, being reclusive and always hunched in the laptop. These are just very few signs that you can take note off for future reference.

Does Hypnosis Work To Treat A Gambling Addiction?

Hypnosis definitely does work to treat a gambling addiction. I know people who have gambled away their life savings because they never took control of their subconscious mind which is where a gambling addiction starts. If you wish to make gains in any area of your life, you should start at the subconscious level. You can’t genuinely change behavior patterns at the conscious level.

Nearly everything you do stems in your subconscious mind. The subconscious brain holds all of our hopes and aspirations. One can use hypnotherapy to re-configure the conditioned life experiences. The brain is the only factor that limits us from accomplishing everything we wish. Your brain can be your closest friend or your worst enemy.

Many people think a lot of strange things when it comes to hypnosis. During hypnosis you are simply in a laid-back state of mind. While undergoing hypnotherapy, none of your morals will be compromised. The unconscious is a tool that enjoys taking in positive information.

Hypnosis works because it reaches our feelings. One has to be careful not to dwell on stuff you don’t want. You need to program your mind to stop your gambling addiction. Subliminal messages are one good way to reach unconscious. You can listen to subliminal audio programs in your car or while doing daily tasks for supreme effects. I do not even listen to the radio any longer, I simply listen to self development and hypnosis audio programs. You can beat your gambling addiction hypnosis if you just “put your mind to it!”.