By Floyd Godfrey, LPC, CSAT candidate
After working fifteen years in the field of sexual addiction, the addicts who seem to be most successful in recovery have clearly defined bottom lines. This is something they establish right away in the beginning. When bottom lines are created it provides a baseline for the work.
Your bottom line is what defines sobriety for you. In other words, it’s the line you draw that you will not cross. You place certain addictive behaviors on the other side of the line that you decide to eliminate from your life. This doesn’t mean perfection. It doesn’t mean you might not have a slip across one of your lines. But it does provide an important baseline.
This baseline is extremely helpful for you sponsor, your spouse, your therapist, your church leaders… and ultimately for yourself. It provides clarity. It sets the direction for goals and recovery behavior. And although not every addict shares the same bottom lines, addicts must determine what they are.
Let me illustrate how this might look. Let’s use Bill as an example. He struggles with pornography, prostitutes and masturbation. He outlined the following bottom lines:
1. “I will not have sex with myself.”
2. “I will not use pornography.”
3. “I will not surf the web for lingerie ads, nudity, or suggestive photos.”
4. “I will not have sex with anyone other than my wife.”
Think of the bottom lines as the boundaries of the game. If someone is playing basketball, they must keep the ball within the lines. These boundaries provide an even playing field for everyone in the game. Similarly, you will be keeping your behavior within the boundaries of the game. When you cross your bottom lines, the whistle blows and you pause the game to regroup.
These bottom lines help you to commit to recovery behaviors. It will help you see progress and become better accountable. Later on you may increase your bottom lines to include behavior that helps you avoid triggers or temptations.
As you begin, start simple and identify your basic bottom lines. You can do more later. Resolve to stay committed and use your bottom lines as a platform for future recovery work.
If you need help with sexual addiction counseling services in Mesa Arizona, give us a call for a free 15-minute consultation with one of our specialists. (480) 668-8301.