By Floyd Godfrey, LPC, CSAT candidate
After working with over a thousand men and youth who are burdened by sexual compulsions, I have witnessed a sadness that comes from good recovery. The sadness is not about moving into healthy directions, but rather about what it takes in order to move into healthy directions.
Men who are working hard in recovery usually get to a stage of realization that some of their friendships have been less then helpful. In fact, some friends have actually encouraged the addictive behaviors. The following are a list of ways that so-called friends might make your recovery harder:
1. Diminishing misbehavior: In other words they encourage you that things like pornography or strip clubs are just no big deal. They say that your wife should just get over it; that every guy does it.
2. Frequent exposure: Sometimes friends might acknowledge your desire to get healthy, but then turn around and bring pornography to a party. Perhaps they invite you to the strip club on the weekend. They might tell off-color jokes that create sexual tension inside you.
3. Outright negativity: Periodically men in our program will report friends who frankly discourage them from recovery. They tell you to quit counseling or stop wasting your time and money with support groups. They say your workbooks and reading material are money down the drain.
When friends are not encouraging your recovery, they are not your friends. When you can identify these people you will have an important decision to make – Can you stay in recovery and associate with this person? More times than not your answer will be “No.” It will be time to cut the ties and develop new friendships that are more meaningful and supportive.
Remember also that when you are married, your spouse will be easily triggered by poor friendships. People who are discouraging your recovery will feel very unsafe to her. She will wonder why you are playing with fire. So if you want to help your wife feel safe and less traumatized, then pull away from the unhealthy friends.
Call us if you need help. We have specialty programs for sexual addiction recovery in mesa Arizona. We can provide a free 15-minute consultation to discuss your individual situation and give you some feedback. (480) 668-8301.