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info about sex and love addiction

Characteristics of Sex & Love Addiction

This is not a definitive diagnostic of sex and love addiction, but are similar characteristics that sex and love addicts share.

  1. Having few healthy boundaries, we become sexually involved with and/or emotionally attached to people without knowing them.
  2. Fearing abandonment and loneliness, we stay in and return to painful, destructive relationships, concealing our dependency needs from ourselves and others, growing more isolated and alienated from friends and loved ones, ourselves, and God.
  3. Fearing emotional and/or sexual deprivation, we compulsively pursue and involve ourselves in one relationship after another, sometimes having more than one sexual or emotional liaison at a time.
  4. We confuse love with neediness, physical and sexual attraction, pity and/or the need to rescue or be rescued.
  5. We feel empty and incomplete when we are alone. Even though we fear intimacy and commitment, we continually search for relationships and sexual contacts.
  6. We sexualize stress, guilt, loneliness, anger, shame, fear and envy. We use sex or emotional dependence as substitutes for nurturing, care, and support.
  7. We use sex and emotional involvement to manipulate and control others.
  8. We become immobilized or seriously distracted by romantic or sexual obsessions or fantasies.
  9. We avoid responsibility for ourselves by attaching ourselves to people who are emotionally unavailable.
  10. We stay enslaved to emotional dependency, romantic intrigue, or compulsive sexual activities.
  11. To avoid feeling vulnerable, we may retreat from all intimate involvement, mistaking sexual and emotional anorexia for recovery.
  12. We assign magical qualities to others. We idealize and pursue them, then blame them for not fulfilling our fantasies and expectations.

The Twelve Steps

  1. We admitted we were powerless over Sex and Love addiction, that our lives had become unmanageable.
  2. Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
  3. Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood God.
  4. Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.
  5. Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.
  6. Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.
  7. Humbly asked God to remove our shortcomings.
  8. Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.
  9. Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.
  10. Continued to take personal inventory, and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.
  11. Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with a Power greater than ourselves, praying only for knowledge of God’s will for us and the power to carry that out.
  12. Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to sex and love addicts, and to practice these principles in all areas of our lives.

Signs of Recovery

These are the signs of recovery that we hope to see as we diligently work our program.  But I am happy to say that I have already experienced some of these signposts at the early stages of my recovery.

  1. We seek to develop a daily relationship with a Higher Power, knowing that we are not alone in our efforts to heal ourselves from our addiction.
  2. We are willing to be vulnerable because the capacity to trust has been restored to us by our faith in a Higher Power.
  3. We surrender, one day at a time, our whole life strategy of, and our obsession with, the pursuit of romantic and sexual intrigue and emotional dependency.
  4. We learn to avoid situations that may put us at risk physically, morally, psychologically or spiritually.
  5. We learn to accept and love ourselves, to take responsibility for our own lives, and to take care of our own needs before involving ourselves with others.
  6. We become willing to ask for help, allowing ourselves to be vulnerable and learning to trust and accept others.
  7. We allow ourselves to work through the pain of our low self-esteem and our fears of abandonment and responsibility. We learn to feel comfortable in solitude.
  8. We begin to accept our imperfections and mistakes as part of being human, healing our shame and perfectionism while working on our character defects.
  9. We begin to substitute honesty for self-destructive ways of expressing emotions and feelings.
  10. We become honest in expressing who we are, developing true intimacy in our relationships with ourselves and others.
  11. We learn to value sex as a by-product of sharing, commitment, trust and cooperation in a partnership.
  12. We are restored to sanity, on a daily basis, by participating in the process of recovery.

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