You are a Sex Addict in Recovery. Good for you. You are working a solid recovery program including therapy, 12 Step groups, a sponsor and a supportive community. You are making progress. Sober on your inner circle behaviors. Taking care of yourself and by extension your partner and family.
Here comes December. Holidays. Vacation. Family.Time Off.
What happened to your carefully developed self care routine to stay sober and on track with your recovery goals? In order to maintain sobriety it is imperative that you continue to be actively involved in recovery work during holidays and vacation.
The temptation is to take time off from vigilance about recovery just as you are taking time off from work.
Unstructured time and the potential triggers you face are threats to recovery that you can manage – and even grow from – by continuing to be intentional about self care.
The following strategies will help you stay on track. Your progress is important and something to be proud of. You don't have to slip now.
- Identify threats to your sobriety and make a plan to deal with them. This can range from holiday parties, being with family and friends who do or don't know about your problematic sexual behavior and potentially running into past people with whom you acted out. Develop self care strategies. Involve your partner if you have one and your support system. Make a plan for what to do if you are triggered and follow through on it.
- Keep going to meetings. If you are traveling you can find S Group meetings throughout the country and even the world. If you can't find an S Group, go to any 12 step group. Let them know you are visiting from another 12 step group. They will welcome you. You can still get good support to keep your recovery on target. If you can't attend an in person meeting, look at the national website of your S Group and participate in a telephone or online meeting.
- Continue daily or weekly contact with your sponsor, fellow program members and other people in your support system. Even if you can't meet them in person, you can call, text, email, video chat. Staying in touch with your support network is critical for your recovery. Isolation is dangerous.
- Remember HALTS-B (Hungry, Angry, Lonely, Tired, Stressed, Bored). Use this adaptation of the HALT acronym to quickly, easily and frequently check in with yourself. Identify how you are feeling. Assess your vulnerability for slips or relapses. Take action to care for yourself in healthy ways.
- If you have a partner be aware of the difficulties they are facing at holiday time. Identify triggers they may experience. Talk to them about the triggers you see. Ask about the triggers you don't yet realize. Your partner will need additional support at this time. They are likely struggling with distressing feelings. They are facing family and friends who may have strong negative feelings about you and your partner staying with you. They are remembering the lies and betrayal. Even as you are working a good recovery program, they still feel scared and vulnerable. You can help them get through this time by being solidly in recovery, responsive – not defensive – about their concerns and accountable for your actions.
Shari Cohn, LCSW, CSAT is a Certified Sex Addiction Therapist providing Sex Therapy, Sex Addiction Therapy and Psychotherapy to the Madison, Wisconsin area for over twenty years.
Shari specializes in helping sex and porn addicts, partners of sex addicts, abuse and trauma survivors, ptsd and sexual problems.
"Reclaiming Sexuality…Reclaiming Your Life…One Step At A Time"
Visit Shari 's website and blog at www.ShariCohn.com
Find Shari on Facebook at www.facebook.com/SexTherapyMadisonWI