They say the reading we complete is equivalent to that of a PhD program. I believe it. It was like trying to drink water from a fire hose. Lots of information!
There's a lot of stigma and shame tied to any addiction, let alone sex addiction. I learned a lot about the changes in neurochemistry and neuroplasticity of the brain when that addictive switch gets "turned on" (pun intended).
Trauma and Attachment
I also learned a lot about trauma and attachment disorders because that's really much of the psychosocial conditioning that sets one up for neurological changes around arousal. These changes in the brain lead to uncontrolled compulsivity which may result in an intimacy disorder. Put simply, those who meet diagnostic criteria for sex addiction struggle in being emotionally, psychologically, or spiritually intimate with another human being.
As I find them, I'll be adding resources to this blog under the category "Recovery."
You might also notice it's been a while since I've blogged. I thought this topic a great way to kick off my re-entry into my very own blogosphere. A lot has been happening in my life this last year, and I'll do a better job in 2015 of keeping readers and those interested posted via this site.
What if you think you have a problem?
If you think you might have an issue with sex addiction, you can complete a simple survey by completeing this Sex Addiction Screening Test. The 20 short questions will only take a few minutes.
The name "Three Strands" evokes the Christian trinity – the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit – as well as the three prongs of healthy, holistic living – mind, body and spirit. The theme of "threes" is also in harmony with the 3rd Step of Alcoholics Anonymous, which relates to turning one's will over to a higher power.
"The number three is a powerful symbol throughout Christian teachings as well as recovery," said Three Strands' director Jonathan Benz. "It represents many important concepts, including the relationship among counselors, the group and the individual – a reminder that by coming together with others, we strengthen ourselves."
The program naming is part of a broader goal to develop a truly differentiated treatment option for Christians in recovery. Whereas many Christian rehab programs are essentially a "track" within a standard treatment program that offers an occasional Celebrate Recovery group or transportation to a local church, Three Strands is a comprehensive, fully integrated faith-centered program. Clients participate in traditional therapies, including educational groups, individual, group and family counseling, and relapse prevention planning, but treatment also includes:
Her talk immediately resonated with me, and I posted it on this blog. I also ordered her books and began utilizing her ideas in therapy.
I breathed a prayer that I could sit under her tutelage some day. I don't normally "follow after" people but her research on shame, vulnerability, authenticity, and telling one's story was so transformative for me it led me to tell my own personal story on bullying.
Telling that story released a whole new level of personal healing in my life as well as restoration of relationships. That story also helped many others heal as evidenced by hundreds of blog hits, re-posts, and private emails I received.
So I was very thrilled when early this year my parent company, Elements Behavioral Health, flew me and a few colleagues to San Antonio to be trained in The Daring Way™.
I was able to be trained by Brené and her faculty over five days. It was a wonderful experience. I got to speak to her personally and can assure you she is as real as she appears in the Ted Talk or on Oprah's Super Soul Sunday. I am now a candidate as a Certified Daring Way Facilitator and should be fully certified by autumn.
I strongly recommend her books to you. I have shared them with family and friends. I am now utilizing The Daring Way™ in therapy and seeing huge breakthroughs in my clients.
I continue to make my own personal applications. It takes great courage to become vulnerable and tell our stories but it is a sure path to greater wholeness, healing, and joy.
Initially, I wasn't too keen on being back in an exclusively Christian world. I really enjoy engaging people from diverse religious and cultural backgrounds. I also have never had a huge desire to live and work in Fort Lauderdale.
But I felt a knocking on my heart and knew I needed to respond. I went through some interviews and was offered the position.
I have been privileged to develop programming that integrates spiritual principles with solid clinical therapy for individuals who are battling addiction and other co-occurring mental health disorders.
Three Strands believes that everyone is welcome at the table of the Lord. We create an atmosphere where people can move into the light and receive nurturing and healing for the soul. We also welcome people of other faiths and even no faith to enter the program. I still believe the Christian faith, when released in the paradigm of the teachings of Jesus, offers one of the greatest invitations to spiritual experience and transformation.
I recently received a huge compliment from a client who did about 40 days of treatment. He stated he entered somewhat agnostic, cynical and very mistrusting of religion. He said he left knowing that he can walk out his recovery following the teachings of Jesus and not having to be a dry, religious person. He said the days in therapy amounted to the greatest spiritual awakening in his life.
That made me smile real big. I feel blessed to be part of a healing center that honors both psychotherapy and spiritual renewal.
The Russian writer Boris Pasternak wrote, "When a great moment knocks on the door of your life, it is often no louder than the beating of your heart, and it is very easy to miss it."
Be attentive to the knocking on the door of your life today. It is probably quite soft and more a sensation than even a noise. If you follow it, it might have the potential to release you into a whole new phase of your life.
His approach to God and life really resonates with me. He writes and speaks with a rhthym that reminds me of Buddhist teacher Thich Nhat Hahn. I feel very connected when I meditate on his writings.
In Gaelic, anam means soul and ċarameans friend. Literally translated it is "soul friend". In the Celtic tradition an anam ċara could be a teacher, friend, leader, or someone with whom you'd share the inner parts of your life. These are the people who see clearly into our souls and do not condemn but love, reflect, and embrace.
These are the people whom you meet on your journey and there is an instant spiritual connection when two souls meet and you know you are tasting something of the eternal beyond the confines of mere rational thought, time, or space. Eternal knowing invades the present moment.
I've been blessed to connect with several anam ċara on my journey. O'Donohue wrote the following poem which really expresses well for me, these who are part of my spiritual tribe:
A Friendship Blessing
May you be blessed with good friends. May you learn to be a good friend to yourself. May you be able to journey to that place in your soul where there is great love, warmth, feeling, and forgiveness. May this change you. May it transfigure that which is negative, distant, or cold in you. May you be brought in to the real passion, kinship, and affinity of belonging. May you treasure your friends. May you be good to them and may you be there for them; may they bring you all the blessing, challenges, truth, and light that you need for your journey. May you never be isolated. May you always be in the gentle nest of belonging with your anam ċara.
O'Donohue wrote, "A friend is a loved one who awakens your life in order to free the wild possibilities within you." These are the ones I want to be surrounded by!
I pray the same blessing for you today. May you be surrounded by many good soul friends who "get" you and you "get" them. May you be so awakened that you are freed to fly with the wild possibilities within you!