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Healing & Recovery

By Andrew Chambers

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In his research Patrick Carnes PhD observed that people who were successful in their recovery from sex addiction and co-addiction made deep commitments to making their lives better and did similar things. There were nine things that they did and it took them three to five years. These nine things are rather like ingredients in a recipe. If you want to be successful in your recovery over the long-term then follow this proven recipe and the results are all but guaranteed.

Find Yourself A Good Therapist

Finding a therapist that you feel comfortable with and staying with him/her for three to five years seems to be essential to the recovery process. During this time you will examine your whole life and become very well known to your therapist who will help you through the challenges you face along the way.

Join A Healing / Therapeutic Community

Being in a closed group setting with a trained overseer during a weekly course, a residential weekend or an intensive week allows you the space to take the healing journey from isolation to community living while learning important relationship skills. I recommend around fifty hours in a year.

Attend A Regular Support Group

Listening to others tell their stories and sharing your own progress in an open support group creates a healthy challenge. The monthly or weekly support group also becomes a place where you can find mentors and in time learn to be a mentor for others on the journey of healing and growth.

Deal With Co-occurring Problems

Attending to other similar problems in your life at the same time e.g. eating disorders (overeating, bulimia or anorexia), drinking, gambling, gaming, hoarding, co-dependence and self harming etc. will greatly enhance your healing processes. Trauma and addiction manifest through a variety of chemical, behavioural, emotional and deprivation behaviours. Understanding this will greatly help prevent relapse.

Focus On Your Childhood Issues

Looking at the negative influence that abuse and neglect has had in your childhood, added to that the impact of other family members with addictions, increases your motivation to focus on resolving early relationships problems with parents, siblings and other significant care-givers.

Involve Your Family Members

Succeeding in your recovery increases significantly when your partner and/or other family members commit to healing and recovery for themselves. As you deepen your healing it creates impetus within your family towards healing although sometimes it may take years before you see this.

Attend A Couples Group

Having couples recover together is the best of all. It adds profoundly to your healing when your partner is involved. To get the best results the couple needs to participate in a group that takes into consideration the effects of the healing process on their marriage or partnership.

Develop Your Spiritual Life

Receiving spiritual experiences and doing spiritual exercises on a regular, even daily basis is important. Usually those who belong to a lively church/ community and read spiritual books do better at maintaining a spiritual life. Growing in the knowledge of God and of your place in the world around you is a sign of your spiritual growth.

Maintain Regular Exercise And Good Nutrition

Growing and maturing as a person happens along with regular, if not daily exercise. This is best done in nature where possible, otherwise in the gym will do. Healing blossoms as you make good choices about food and nutrition. These two are the building blocks of good self-care.

If you struggle as I did with habits and behaviours that you don't want and you can't control, then I encourage you to begin building your support network right away and start your journey towards integrity. Read books on the subject and listen to your teachers. Look for trustworthy people and nearby support groups.

You'll find that honesty and responsibility are milestones along the way towards integrity. 

I wish you peace, inner freedom and confidence.

-Andy

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