By Floyd Godfrey, LPC, CSAT candidate
One of the more difficult stumbling blocks of most addicts is that of isolation. This is also true of those who live with the addict. When addicts begin to feel anger, fear or other strong emotions, a common response is often to retreat. This could be a physical retreat like leaving a party or locking yourself in your room. It could also be an emotional retreat like not talking or bottling your feelings up inside.
Even though you may be an extremely social person, or perhaps spend many hours with friends or family, you can still isolate yourself in very subtle ways. It seems to be a common for addicts to “shut down,” and become unwilling to let anyone really know what they are thinking, feeling or experience on a deeper level.
The “Come Out of Hiding” tool simply means to quickly reach out. I would suggest finding a good therapist who has training and experience with sexual addiction, or partners of sex addicts. Additionally, many twelve-step programs can provide a format for open discussion and safe sharing of your inner world. Sometimes a trusted friend, family member, or religious leader can be a safe place to share. The idea for this tool is very simply – when you feel the tendency to shut down – quickly reach out and share.
Many addicts and wives will turn away from this tool because it flies against the current of addictive beavhiors. They may not be accustomed to this degree of vulnerability. I regularly hear statements like, “I don’t do the group-thing.” Also, “I don’t need anyone’s help… I can do it myself.” Most addicts are simply rationalizing. The problem cannot be healed in isolation. If it could, there wouldn’t be such things as support groups or group therapy programs.
If you are struggling with these issues, train yourself to quickly reach out and come out of hiding. You will find that through the vulnerability you gain strength. If you need help with these sensitive issues, and would like a free 15-minute consultation, give us a call. We have specialty programs and counseling services for sexual addiction in Mesa Arizona. (480) 668-8301.