By Floyd Godfrey, LPC, CSAT candidate
After working for fifteen years with sexual addicts and their spouse, it becomes enormously clear that attachment and connection is broken. Sometimes the issue of attachment stems backs into childhood. There may have been disruptions in primary attachments for both the addict and his partner. When this is the case, then healing needs for attachment must necessarily become a part of the recovery process.
I like what Dr. Gabor Maté said about this topic: “Children have an overriding drive to attach. The attachment brain is the most important part of the brain. This is why it’s so upsetting to lose close relationships. It is even more important for children because they cannot survive. A duckling hatches and imprints to the mother duck, follows her, emulates her – in order to survive and become an adult. However, the duckling still has to imprint to survive. Sometimes anything is better than nothing: perhaps a toy, a dog, or even a teddy bear. Human children are the same way. Nothing in the brain tells them what to attach to” (IITAP symposium 2015).
This process of attachment leads us to believe that even humans will find alternate possibilities for attachment when the primary needs have been left unmet. A computer screen or magazine with nude photos may become the alternate for a young boy who feels alone or rejected. Strip clubs or massage parlors may become a short-lived substitute for real connection with human beings. When you add to these counterfeit sources a rush of oxytocin (the bonding hormone secreted during sexual activity), the superficial attachment to these sources becomes more deeply engrained.
Don’t be fooled – attachment wounds are not an excuse for sexual behavior outside the committed relationship. However, they are often part of the root issue. These sources of attempted connection are counterfeit for the real thing. It will be a slow and painful process of restoring the addict’s ability to connect both with his spouse and others generally. Likewise, it will be a slow and painful process for the partner to restore her ability to connect with her spouse and others generally.
Take time to work through recovery in a programmatic way. Find good books and literature to support you in this process. Locate counselors who have experience with attachment counseling as it relates to sexual addiction. Attend support program where you will be encouraged to share. It is not uncommon to hear addicts describe sexual temptations diminishing as they heal attachment wounds.
If you’d like a free 15-minute consultation with one of our counselors who specializes in sexual addiction recovery in Mesa Arizona, then please call us. We’re happy to discuss your situation and help you determine the best course of action. (480) 668-8301.