Over the past few years as I have seen men and women come and go from the Lifestar program, I have heard a number of similar mindsets echoed from both those that stay, experience growth and success and ultimately graduate, as well as those who come, don’t stay and continue to struggle. These misconceptions often prevent people from seeking treatment or staying in recovery. Here are the 3 most common misconceptions about sexual/pornography addiction and its treatment.
1. “I can do this on my own.”
What exactly are you trying to do on your own? If it is just about giving up the sexual addiction or stopping the behavior, then sure maybe you could achieve that. However, in the case of sexual addiction it is never about just giving up porn or halting the behavior. Sex addiction is more about how those mediums are used to replace meaningful connections or attachments in your life. If you are focused on just stopping behavior, you are really not addressing the main issue. A huge focus for Lifestar is learning how to form meaningful connections and then having the space to do so. As I see men graduate, they resoundingly talk about the connections they made and how that strengthened them in tough times, and helped them more than they ever thought it would. If you really want to address addiction, it cannot be done alone.
2. “I thought it was just me.”
This is perhaps the most frequent comment I hear from individuals new to Lifestar. They have, for so long, told themselves that it was something that only they struggled with and the shame associated with such a thought has only driven them to hide their addiction and behavior more. Shame innately wants us to hide the behavior and that is dangerous with addiction. First time members to the group frequently report that hearing others’ stories – and sharing their own – takes a load off of them. They begin to realize the role of shame in their life and that it wasn’t just something that they struggled with. This is not just a “you thing”. So many share the same concerns and issues that you face everyday. There is no need to remain in the shadows, you are not alone.
3. “This will just be my issue for life.”
I hear this both from first-timers and those who have been in the program for a little bit. I have learned that this is not as much a statement about one’s ability to overcome the addiction but rather it is about hope. Facing something that you have wrestled with for many years can feel daunting. When addicts face the challenge of change, they often want to do it all at once. I liken this to the popular image of eating an elephant in one sitting. It cannot be done. Change is a process and not an event. Those who lack hope are typically fixated on the end product rather than the process. Conversely, those who actively engage in the process find more hope day to day. In Lifestar you will be provided a template for how the process will look. There is hope in recovery, you just have to be looking at the right thing.
If you find that any of these three mindsets have kept you from reaching out and starting the process of addressing your sexual addiction, just remember that it is not just you, you can change through a meaningful process, and we are here for you so that you do not have to do this alone.
LifeSTAR of the Central Valley helps individuals, partners, and families to heal from the effects of pornography and sexual addiction. Complete our Self-Evaluation today to discover if LifeSTAR is right for you.