You’ve come to terms with the fact that you have sex or porn addiction. You may have even tried to stop in the past but were unsuccessful. Now, You’re researching your options and what to expect. The big question for most is, what is the sex addiction recovery timeline? This post will help answer that question.
Step 1: Recognizing that You Have a Sex Addiction
It isn’t easy to accept that you have a sex addiction. You sacrificed everything in your life for one thing. Now you’ll have to sacrifice that one thing to get your life back.
Sex addiction is a compulsive behavior disorder where you are unable to control your sexual urges and activities. Your life revolves around sex or porn addiction, and your daily life and relationships suffer as a result.
Those with sex addiction display common signs.
Signs of sex addiction include:
- Chronic and obsessive sexual thoughts and fantasies
- Preoccupation with having sex to the point that it interferes with productivity, daily responsibilities, relationships, and work performance
- Failed attempts to stop, curb, or control sexual behaviors
- Putting yourself in danger through sexual behaviors such as having unprotected sex with strangers, using drugs or alcohol during sex, or having sex in public places
- Experiencing extreme shame or guilt after sex or masturbation
- Hiding sexual behaviors
There are many signs of sex addiction. Identifying them is the first step in your recovery. Knowing the sex addiction recovery timeline can make your healing more manageable. You’ll understand what complete recovery takes.
Accepting that you have a sex addiction is the first step in recovery. You have to be accountable and hold yourself responsible for your healing.
Step 2: Seeking Treatment for Sex Addiction
Sex addiction is more than just behavior. Healing from sex addiction is about getting to the root cause, not just treating the symptoms. Abuse, neglect, lack of attunement, rejection, and trauma are often at the heart of addictive behaviors.
During development, you learned that sex and sexual behaviors made you feel good, especially in a time of stress or crisis. It was something you could control and gave you that burst of dopamine. Therefore, you continue those sexual actions throughout your life as a way of coping with adverse circumstances. It is a coping mechanism that helps you survive.
Understanding where your addiction started requires a certified sex addiction therapist who utilizes trauma-informed treatments to uncover the root causes and help you deal with them.
Step 3: Coping with Sex Addiction Withdrawal
If you have tried to stop your addictive behaviors in the past, you may have noticed withdrawal symptoms. Even while working with a therapist, you’re likely to experience withdrawal symptoms, which you can work through together.
Withdrawal symptoms occur because your brain is dependent on sex and sexual behaviors for dopamine. The absence of this feel-good chemical can lead you to suffer. Knowing what to expect from withdrawal enables you to identify your feelings and gain control of your responses.
Symptoms of sex addiction withdrawal include:
- Insomnia or difficulty falling and staying asleep
- Lack of appetite
- Anxiety or panic attacks
- Body aches, including headaches, muscle stiffness, or pain in your joints
- Chills, nausea, fever, or other flu-like symptoms
- Genital sensitivity where every nudge or touch feels stimulating
- Night sweats
- Flatline – having little or no sexual desire
- Intense and uncontrollable mood swings
- Brain fog or an inability to focus on tasks
These symptoms of sex addiction often occur in the first stages of recovery, when you’re rerouting your brain’s chemistry and stopping your compulsive behaviors. They won’t last forever. These struggles are the first part of your sex addiction recovery timeline. Identifying why you feel poorly gives you the power to name those feelings and remind yourself that they are part of healing.
Step 4: Reconnecting after Sex Addiction
Coming to terms with the fact that you have sex addiction is the first step. Then you must identify the cause of the addiction, treat that cause, and stop the behavior. During this process, you may recognize that you and your loved ones suffered because of your addiction.
At Begin Again Institute, we offer a unique Partner Support Program that can help your spouse or loved one process and recover from betrayal trauma. By writing impact statements and speaking openly, you’ll find that you can rebuild trust in your relationship.
Step 5: Maintaining Long-Term Sexual Sobriety
Overcoming sex addiction means you have to rebuild your relationship with sex and find a healthy way to live. Developing a new version of what healthy sexuality looks like and how to express that sexuality is critical in recovery.
Humans are sexual beings. You deserve the tools to navigate rebuilding your sexuality in a healthy and maintainable way.
How Begin Again Institute Can Help
For some, our 14-Day Men’s Intensive allows for an opportunity to get started. With 24-hour care and group support, you can kick-start your healing and gain control of your sex addiction.
If you’re ready to give up one thing for everything, contact us today.