Balance for a sex addict and their partner in active recovery refers to finding equilibrium and well-being across various aspects of their life. In order to maintain stability and avoid slipping back into addictive behaviors, finding balance involves addressing four areas of focus: physical, emotional, spiritual, and relational health.
Four Areas of Focus
We refer to these areas of focus as “Dailies” because of their importance in becoming part of a daily practice. Here’s a breakdown of each aspect:
- Physical Health: This includes taking care of one’s body through regular exercise, proper nutrition, adequate sleep, and avoiding anything that will jeopardize your sobriety. Physical health is essential for managing stress, reducing triggers, and promoting overall well-being. Engaging in healthy activities can also serve as positive coping mechanisms to replace addictive behaviors.
- Emotional Health: Emotionally, finding ways to fill up your emotional “cup”, so that both partners can weather the triggers and rigorous road of recovery and healing. Some examples of an emotional “daily” can be accomplished by doing something they enjoy or love to do such as a hobby, pursuing a passion or interest, and self-care. It is crucial for a sex addict and partner to develop self-awareness and emotional regulation skills. This may involve attending therapy or support groups to work through underlying emotional issues that may have contributed to the addiction. Learning healthy ways to express and process emotions can reduce the urge to turn to addictive behaviors for temporary relief.
- Spiritual Health: For some, spirituality or a sense of purpose can be a significant aspect of recovery. This doesn’t necessarily mean religious beliefs, but rather connecting to something larger than oneself. It could involve mindfulness practices, meditation, nature walks, or involvement in a community or cause. Spiritual health can offer a sense of grounding and provide an anchor during challenging times.
- Relational Health: Repairing and building healthy relationships is an essential part of recovery. This may include rebuilding trust with loved ones who have been hurt by the addiction, improving communication skills, and setting healthy boundaries. Engaging in healthy, respectful, and supportive relationships can contribute to overall well-being and reduce the risk of relapse. It is also encouraged to find healthy support through recovery groups such as S.A.B.R., 12-step programs, etc. It’s important to build a network of support that can both the addict and partner can reach out to when struggling. Sex addiction is defined as an Attachment Disorder which can be very isolating due to the high levels of shame. While authentic connection is the answer, which can feel counter-intuitive, but is highly effective in maintaining sobriety.
Achieving and maintaining balance in these areas may require a combination of professional support and personal effort. Individual and group therapy can be invaluable in addressing specific challenges related to sex addiction. Additionally, attending support groups tailored to sex addiction, such as Sex Addicts Anonymous (SAA) or Sex and Love Addicts Anonymous (SLAA), can provide a safe space for sharing experiences and gaining insights from others in similar situations.
Lastly, it’s essential for the individual to have patience with themselves during the recovery process. Relapses may occur, however it’s crucial to view them not as failures, but rather as opportunities to learn and grow. With dedication, self-compassion, and a commitment to growth, a sex addict can work towards achieving and maintaining a balanced life in active recovery.