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Once they're helped to become aware of these meanings, they actually increase their self-compassion and are freer to exercise self-control.
Let me present just a few clinical examples to illustrate what I mean.
Such treatment is always based on a 12-step model focused exclusively on stopping addictive behavior.
It is usually supportive and accepting in its focus on maintaining sexual sobriety "one day at a time." I have several patients who have found such support to be very healing.
To imply that the addict's sexual fantasies and sources of satisfaction are, like alcohol to the alcoholic, a loaded gun, reinforces this belief, when in fact it's simply another fantasy.
He felt fundamentally disconnected and grim even though he was outwardly successful and gregarious.
In fact, by viewing someone's sexual desires as addictions, 12-step approaches can subtly reinforce someone's own pathological view of themselves.
People struggling with sexual compulsions are already afraid of their sexuality, viewing it as an alien internal beast.
If I feel too guilty to leave a terrible marriage and instead have a series of affairs, am I being compulsive or simply escaping a lonely existence?
What about a priest who feels compelled to have sex, thereby risking his entire identity and belief-system; is he a sex addict or did he choose a ridiculously unhealthy lifestyle?