Are You A Sex Addict?
Written By: Mark Smith
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I want to continue the discussion about Sexual Addiction stirred by Tiger Woods' statement on 2/19. Elizabeth Cohen, CNN Senior Medical Correspondent wrote
Are You A Sex Addict? on the CNN Health website 2/25. I think her article gives a fair and accurate treatment of Sexual Addiction. However, you don't have to have the drama of having sex with 50 women to be a sex addict. For most guys at a Sex Addicts Anonymous Meeting the 'body count' isn't nearly as high. Their addictions focus more on Internet pornography with perhaps some texting or chatroom interactions and perhaps a few affairs.
The debate as to if it is an addiction or not really isn't much of a debate - crazy out of control and extremely harmful behavior is pretty easy to recognize. I sort of got dragged into this debate by 'debating' a local IUPUI instructor even though I didn't know it was a debate or who I was debating or what they had said. Click here to see the 2/19 Channel 6 news story - everyone said that I slouched too much, sorry for that.
So it isn't in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders - in 1973 homosexuality WAS in the DSM as a mental disorder. Cohen quotes a therapist "Craig Fabrikant, a clinical psychologist at the Hackensack University Medical Center, doubts such a thing even exists. "I think it's more of a habit than an addiction," he says. "I would classify it as OCD -- more of an obsession or compulsion than an addiction." But professional arguments aside, Fabrikant agrees that people like Rogers who are miserable or dysfunctional because their sex lives are out of control need professional help -- and that the first step is to recognize when they have a problem." An addiction IS an obsession or a compulsion - same thing. So he says it is an obsession or compulsion and then quotes the 12 Steps when he said the out of control suffers not only need professional help of this obsession/compulsion need to take the first step of recognizing that they have a problem? But it isn't an addiction - that makes zero sense. Of course it is an addiction. Sex is one of THE most addictive substances known to mankind. It changes brain chemistry. It causes brain damage.
I was impressed with Tiger's statement. I believe that he is getting treatment at the best place in the world (Patrick Carnes' Pine Grove Treatment Center in Hattiesburg, Mississippi) to get treatment for what he has - sexual addiction. I have done a lot of training with Patrick Carnes - he is the most brilliant, humble, connected and spiritual man that I know. Ok, he is my hero. I believe that the world is getting ready to learn a lot more about this gifted man because he has what many in the world need - an effective way to fight sexual addiction. I know, I look fat next to him. Ok, I am fat.
I believe that Tiger Woods will be a spokesman for addiction recovery the rest of his life. It would be like the Beatles or Elvis getting in drug rehab back in the day. Can you imagine (sorry for the play on Beatle words) how it would have impacted the 60's drug culture if John Lennon would have proclaimed himself a drug addict who needed help and then went clean and sober for the rest of his life? It would have rocked that world.
Next to our President Tiger might be the most recognized person in the world. Just by living clean and sober he will be a walking commercial for addiction recovery treatment. Or, if he falls of the wagon and his addiction destroys his marriage and he loses his newly found integrity he will be a walking commercial for the lack of recovery. I hope it is the former and I'm positive that it will be. Taking 6 weeks out of your life for treatment at the right place with the right treatment team is a perfect start to recovery. Not everyone can afford to take 6 weeks off of work and pay $31,600.00 for treatment. Tiger's issues coming out is a sign of our times. Addiction based thinking will continue to become more and more prevalent in our society. Sexual addiction will continue to be in the news. I love it that Tiger not only humbly apologized but he also got treatment for 6 weeks. That takes humility. It takes guts. I admire the man for what he is doing to get healthy and fix the damage that he has done in his marriage.
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