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The Five Stories of Recovery Applied to Sex Addiction Counseling

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  1. The Five Stories of Recovery Applied to Sex Addiction Counseling The Society for the Advancement of Sexual Health 2009 National Conference “Creating a Culture of Healthy Sexuality: Integrity and Integration “ Dean LaCoe B.S., EdM, CSAT

  2. Notice: This presentation includes some sexually explicit images

  3. A Story: The Buddha and Pornography

  4. Main Points • There is a "natural" process of recovery. • Recovered addicts have tapped into these natural processes, using various healing "life stories" that explain and support recovery • Our culture provides us “toolbox” of messages and stories to heal ourselves • Twelve-Step is one of several stories; and is a powerful one. • Therapists are most effective when supporting the client’s own healing story. • This requires that we therapist understand and appreciate various recovery stories and their stages

  5. Stories Provide: An Existing Framework for; • Explaining What Is Happening. • A Cure for Problems. • A Position (Judgment) about who/what is to blame. • Guidance about Good and Evil

  6. …and, Therapy Fuels Stories • Information and concepts • Breakthroughs –transformational insight • Stress reduction / reflection sequencing– risk, surprise, confrontation, processes, truths • Consolidation points and periods of safety • The Transformational Cascade (Carnes)

  7. Therapists Consider • The meaning of the drug/acting out behavior: existing story? • Client’s past experience with personal change: re-useable story line? • Willingness: what stage of recovery? • Cultural view: what’s in the toolbox?

  8. “Positive” Aspects of Addiction Getting high. Relief of depression Reduced sexual inhibition (A&D) Esteem of the group (belonging) More to do (gambling & the elderly) Others?

  9. Core Sex Addict Belief System • Self-image- I am a flawed and unworthy person • Relationships- If people knew me, they wouldn’t love me • Needs- If I have to count on others my needs will never be met • Sexuality- Sex is my most important need Carnes

  10. The Five Stories of Recovery Source: -Narrative Analysis (Hanninen & Koski-Jannes 1999)

  11. Narrative Analysis Shows: • Exiting addiction is an active process where • People make use of the available “cultural tool-box” and • Actively adapt and transform prevailing theories and beliefs to fit their own experience

  12. The Five Stories • Conversion: Alcoholics Anonymous; male alcoholics return as the prodigal’s son. • Personal Growth: female victims are re-birthed to a new independence, often by a midwife- therapist. • Co-Dependence: male polydrug abusers driven by childhood wounds and secrecy find healing in confession and cathartic realization. • Love: females with eating disorders find care; or a drug user finds the love of Christ. • Mastery: in male and females smokers the weak “smoking self” is defeated by the strong rational self.

  13. Five Cultural Models Conversion (12 Step): The prodigal son returns home Personal Growth: Butterfly breaks out of a cocoon Codependence: Break the chains extending generations Love Story: Love offers a new choice Mastery: The triumph of reason and will

  14. Twelve Step (Conversion)

  15. Personal Growth

  16. Co-Dependence

  17. Love Story

  18. Mastery and Will

  19. Five Stories of Natural Recovery

  20. Addicts: “NOT GUILTY….” • Not Guilty • In AA, however, they are responsible for current sobriety. • They were: • Sick (alcoholic disease) • Abused (trauma victims) • Weak (only smokers)

  21. Sex Addicts: Not Guilty • Sick: brain disorder • Victims of trauma • Prideful (master of the universe) • Deluded (Not god)

  22. Conversion Story: The Hero - Heroine’s Journey

  23. Progression of Addiction (Alcohol) Exciting New Ways of Living Content in Sobriety Urgency for drink Surreptitious Drinking Return of self esteem Relief Drinking Stops Drinking Persistent Remorse Meets happy ex-drinker Unable to discuss problem Seeks Help Obsession Learns it’s a disease Money/work Problems Resentments Takes stock of self Vague Spiritual Desires All Alibis Exhausted Honest Desire for Help Complete Defeat Admitted Hazelton 1993 Obsessive Drinking Continues

  24. The Shape of the Hero Journey The Descent Resurrection Ordeal

  25. The Hero’s Journey Ordinary World Call to Adventure Return with the Elixir The Descent Resurrection Refusal of the Call Guides Meet the Mentor First Threshold The Road Back Tests. Allies, Enemies Resurrection Approach to Inmost Cave Reward (Seize the Sword) Campbell 1944 Ordeal

  26. Luke Surrenders • Trauma: loss of family • Huge resentments (feels justified) • Addiction is to hate and anger: violent response • Abusive father • Terrible family secrets • “Can’t continue, but feels like he will die if he doesn’t act out.” • Surrender: • Put down the weapon (bottle/pipe/porn/whatever) • Turn it over

  27. The Porn Addict Recovers Ordinary World Call to Adventure Return with the Elixir The Descent Resurrection Refusal of the Call Guides Meet the Mentor The Road Back Cross the Threshold Tests, Allies, Enemies Resurrection Approach to Inmost Cave Reward (Seize the Sword) Ordeal

  28. Porn Addict’s Recovery: By Steps Caught by Partner Becomes a Sponsor (12th) The Descent Resurrection Repeated Lying Therapist (Guide) Integrates Lessons (10,11) First SAA Meeting The Road Back (8&9) Slips Continue Resurrection (5,6,7) Experiments Takes Stock of Self (4th) All Alibis Exhausted Initial Sobriety Admits Powerlessness (1st) Honest Desire for Help (2&3) LaCoe 2008

  29. A Quantum Change in Story Before: Grievance Story After: Gratitude Story

  30. Other Stories of Recovery

  31. Organizations with Stories • Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) • International Organisation of Good Templars (IOGT) • LifeRing Secular Recovery (LifeRing) • Moderation Management (MM) • Narcotics Anonymous (NA), Alcohol is a drug, not a narcotic. • Rational Recovery (RR) • Secular Organizations for Sobriety (SOS) • Smart Recovery (Self Management And Recovery Training - SMART) • Women For Sobriety (WFS) • Recovery Inc.

  32. A Porn Addict’s Journey

  33. Havah’s Sex Cure Experiments

  34. Havah’s Experiments • Masturbate • Conversation (talk it out with prostitute) • Honesty (with girlfriend) • Dishonesty (with girlfriend) • Just Do It! • Just Do It One Last Time • Go All The Way (into the impulse) • Get Therapy • Get A Better Girlfriend! • Do It Together with the Girlfriend • Chose a Different Song

  35. Therapy and Spirtuality • Therapy: • Explanation • Release from addiction • Happiness • Spirituality: • Forgiveness • Release for life • Good fit between self and reality: goodness

  36. The Therapeutic Alliance

  37. Therapy and Spirtuality • Therapy: • Explanation • Release from addiction • Happiness • Spirituality: • Forgiveness • Release for life • Good fit between self and reality: goodness

  38. Discussion The therapist balances “not guilty” with “take responsibility for yourself.”

  39. Stories Changing Over Time Stage Change Theory

  40. Stages of Change Model Pre-Contemplation (Not Ready) Maintenance Contemplation (Unsure) Preparation Action The Transtheoretical Model (Prochaska & DiClemente, 1983

  41. Stages and Therapist’s Role • “Our job is simply to help patient move to the next stage of a natural process.” • “Being willing to work with the client’s world view….” • Acknowledging the perceived “positive” aspects of their addiction… • Making possible hope, change and efficacy… • Manufacturing new meaning from the available evidence.

  42. Motivational Interviewing and Story Change • What have you noticed your use of pornography that worries you? • What arguments do you see for changing?

  43. Dean LaCoe, Ed.M, CSAT 805-275-2243 deanlacoe@earthlink.net