What is a Health-Based Recovery?
Over the past twenty years, the majority of Western treatment philosophy regarding pornography addiction, sexual addiction and love addiction involved mandatory participation in a twelve step process. This diseased-based, addict-managed recovery model has dominated addiction recovery and has proven — at least for some — to be the primary source for controlling their addiction. There can be no arguing the positive impact that it has had on many — given what their lives were before traveling those steps and what they would be without them. But is this enough to accept the twelve steps as the 'final answer' to addiction recovery? No, it isn't. And it shouldn't be. Even those who have successfully used the twelve step process should look beyond the acceptance that 'this is good enough'. Everything evolves. As new insights become known and new experiences are applied to existing problems, new solutions invariably result. Solutions that provide more efficiency and a broader application and sexual addiction recovery, porn addiction recovery and love addiction recovery is no different.
The overwhelming increase in addictions involving sexual compulsion and pornography throughout our society suggests that there is something missing in the way that addiction is being addressed by our society. It suggests that approaches which focus on measuring one's health by the length of their abstinence to a particular behavior and/or emphasize learning to manage a lifelong disability versus overcoming that disability are simply not effective with the majority of the population. Without question, many have benefited from this disease-based approach. It has been around for over fifty years and has millions of participants. But the great majority continue to struggle with the foundation that drives their addictive patterns. There must be a more efficient way...and there is.
It is called Health-Based Recovery (HBR).
Health Based Recovery is an evolutionary treatment model that looks beyond addiction management and towards the rebuilding of a healthy life. It does not replace the twelve steps, it enhances them. It allows a far greater audience to apply their own values to recovery, including those who value the twelve steps. Additionally, it expands recovery from the common perception of a single transition (active addiction to lifelong recovery) to a much more robust and effective two transition process (active addiction to recovery; recovery to health). There is a third transition, from health to actualization, but that is unnecessary for permanently ending addiction and so, only the first two transitions are shared here.
Health-Based Recovery involves:
1. Developing a Functional Awareness of Addiction — including the role of addiction as a life management tool, the finite role of emotions, the experience of Delusional Actualization, understanding compulsive rituals, measuring compulsions and more. No more will addiction be thought of as some mysterious or inevitable entity that resides helplessly within a person. Addiction is a very useful pattern that has developed for very practical purposes. Understanding this will go a long ways towards altering your perception of both addiction and your role in eliminating it from your life.
2. Developing practical, ongoing personal awareness — in relation to one's values, boundaries, skills and identity.
3. Developing the ability to isolate the addiction — from one's core identity. This is done through a sometimes radical shift in self-perception.
4. Developing the life skills needed to manage a healthy life. Abstinence is important, but it should not define a person's health. Only through the development of skills such as value development, protective boundaries, effective urge control, emotional management, prioritization, decision-making, absolute honesty and more can a healthy life be attained. And in a Health Based Recovery, that is the goal. To live a healthy life, not to manage an addiction.
5. Developing the tools to permanently end the pattern of addiction. Yes, permanently. This is a fact that has been proven over and over again. Addiction can be ended permanently. The HBR model will guide you in developing the perceptions, experiences and tools needed not just to end your current sex, love or porn addiction, but to end the pattern of using addiction to help you manage your life.
Integrating a Health-Based Recovery with the 12 Steps
Thankfully, for those already in a healthy twelve step program...this is not an either/or situation. You are not forced to choose between a health-based recovery or a twelve step recovery. Instead, you integrate a health-based recovery within your twelve step process. You evolve your recovery. The only situations where this would not be effective is if you are already struggling with applying the twelve steps effectively, or the twelve step community that you are involved in is not a healthy one. These two situations are incompatible for developing a healthy foundation.