Being lost in one’s own thoughts when struggling with addiction is counterproductive. It can be very helpful to have someone with whom to speak during such challenging times. And it helps if that someone is trustworthy, non-judgmental, unbiased, and accepting. However, it also helps if the person has a knack for holding you accountable.
An interesting aspect of addictive behavior is the conversation that takes place between the addict and his addiction. It is as if the addiction, itself, has a voice. And that voice is not necessarily one that can be heard. Rather, the addiction speaks in the form of compulsions.
The addict is told, in so many words, that he needs to carry out a specific action. He believes that voice. He obeys that voice. And after the act is done, he is immediately filled with shame, guilt, and regret. He judges himself once he acts out on the compulsion, because the deed does not represent his truth.
One key to stopping the cycle of sexual addiction is to interrupt the addictive thought process with increasing frequency, until a healthy thought process becomes more prevalent than the unhealthy (or addictive) thought process.
Being accountable to a trustworthy individual gives the addict the opportunity to temporarily silence the voice of the addiction. Having someone to talk to gives the addict a chance to get outside of his own head, and this is important because it is his head that is the problem. The unhealthy cycle can be put on hold temporarily, and just long enough for the individual to think through the situation.
Again, this is a progressive countermeasure. The addict is learning to replace unhealthy thought processes with positive ones. This is done through repetition and with enough frequency that a new pattern forms – a healthy pattern forms.
When being held accountable, you may be asked to answer such questions as: What are you looking for in this moment? What are you afraid of? What is the void that you are attempting to fill? How do you feel about yourself after the specific act? How do you feel about life after the specific act?
Interrupting the thought process that takes place during the addictive cycle allows an individual a moment to step outside of the space of intoxication. When the addictive cycle is broken up into segments, and those segments are interjected with moments of clarity, the addictive cycle begins to lose its hold over the individual. The more that moments of clarity are allowed to break up the addictive cycle, the greater the chance of the individual being able to work his way through yet another challenging moment the next time – and possibly even without the direct support.
One moment at a time. One day at a time. One month and one year at a time. That is how things go. Managing addiction requires one to be present, and to address each moment, in the moment. If you are new to this process, know that it helps to have someone to support you and to hold you accountable.
But also know that one of the ultimate, long-term goals is for you to be able to hold yourself accountable. That is a measure of true success on the journey to recovery.