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PostPosted: Thu Apr 30, 2020 4:29 pm 
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Recovery Coach

Joined: Thu Apr 29, 2010 8:07 pm
Posts: 4044
Location: UK
the old adage is
Quote:
once an addict always an addict


I like many others am loathe to generalise or to put people into boxes
but would appreciate the thoughts of others expecting opinions (if members from both sides are willing to comment) across the spectrum

I have said before in my personal thread but say again that
I do not accept that generalising assumptive statement, but I do believe that once an addict always an addict, is true unless and until that addicts stops the denial of addiction and accepts and hence commits to change, to recovery

I appreciate that consideration of answering this question has the potential of opening some wounds but believe that it has a bigger potential of prompting at least the outset of closure

So do we condone once an addict always an addict
Or not?

_________________
Remember recovery is more than abstinence
Every transition begins with an ending
Do not confuse happiness with seeking pleasure
stay healthy keep safe
Coach Kenzo


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PostPosted: Fri May 01, 2020 7:08 pm 
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Joined: Wed Nov 14, 2018 6:26 am
Posts: 75
Location: UK
Kenzo wrote:
the old adage is
Quote:
once an addict always an addict


I like many others am loathe to generalise or to put people into boxes
but would appreciate the thoughts of others expecting opinions (if members from both sides are willing to comment) across the spectrum

I have said before in my personal thread but say again that
I do not accept that generalising assumptive statement, but I do believe that once an addict always an addict, is true unless and until that addicts stops the denial of addiction and accepts and hence commits to change, to recovery

I appreciate that consideration of answering this question has the potential of opening some wounds but believe that it has a bigger potential of prompting at least the outset of closure

So do we condone once an addict always an addict
Or not?


Speaking as the partner of a .................... y'know I am kind of loathed to use the word addict. He WAS a sex addict but has worked damn hard to recover and his life changes say to me that he is no longer an addict in the sense of the dictionary definition of the word. Perhaps the term I could use for him (if I am forced to label!) would be "former addict".

I think a lot of SAs actually embrace the "once and addict always an addict" statement as it can give them an easy way out to excuse their continuing behaviours. It's saying that it's not their fault that they have slipped again, it's their validation that, really, they are incapable of permanently changing. Having the "once and addict always an addict" mindset can be signing their own failure warrant. Isn't labelling a person an addict, be it active, recovering or recovered, putting temptation in their way? A reminder to those that think "it's a disease" and that they are "powerless"? This "powerless" can ultimately become self-fulfilling!

And I don't think "once an addict always an addict" is at all helpful to partners of SAs. It implies we should spend the rest of our partnered lives on our toes waiting for our partner to fuck up.


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PostPosted: Sat May 02, 2020 3:45 am 
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Recovery Mentor

Joined: Wed Nov 14, 2018 2:39 am
Posts: 272
For me the word addict is too strong!

My compulsive behaviours were a mental health issue that I did not recognise. I do say this with hindsight and not as an excuse.
When I look back I say:
How could I do those things behind my wife's back?
How could an urge become so strong that everything else went out the window?
and the list goes on and on!

Because I believe it was a health issue, then it is something that can be fixed, hence RN being a health based recovery programme.

So I do not believe in "once an addict....", but I do believe that many think that way!

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“Change your thoughts, change your life.” ~Lao Tzu
Regards
T


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PostPosted: Sat May 02, 2020 8:03 am 
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Joined: Thu Mar 15, 2018 11:50 am
Posts: 222
Location: Ireland
I agree with ALL the posters above.

For me, one of the main benefits of RN is that sex addiction is described by Coach Jon as alike any other compulsive behaviour and stems from poor life management.

I have been successful in many areas of my life, my family loves me (despite the let downs), in sports and business I have reached a degree of success but I would ask why does the one thing I REALLY REALLY want to conquer evade me???

Part of it has been the reluctance to accept the fact that I have been POWERLESS over this addiction (as they say in step one of SAA.)
There have been times in my life I KNEW I was making the wrong choice for me and my family - I could see the devastation that it could cause BUT I was COMPELLED to do it.
It took along time to accept that I will always have that circuitry in my mind and that if I don't manage my life correctly for example by being AWARE and prioritising my values then those compulsions and behaviours could creep back in.

I don't like the word addict - I see it as society does - as something sick, dirty, hopeless and dangerous.
Repeating it just supports that negative self view. Better instead to consider that I have a compulsion and recognise how dangerous it can be, where it is coming from and how best to manage my life to deal with it.

There were times in my life when I was completely controlled by these compulsions and I could see no way out - I had tried and tried and tried harder but I was still stuck in the cycle.
Through acceptance and consistency I know see times in my life when those compulsive behaviousr seem abhorrent to me.

Perhaps like an alcoholic who has'nt touched a drop in 20 years - if he still frequents certain bars and hangs with certain people and does not fully understand himself - he will be more prone to one day falling off the wagon.

So as much as I dislike the word addict - it does remind me that life management is not a 6 week or month management course - It is a Lifetime course (and that may not be a bad thing as it prioritises ones values)

_________________
"Don't judge each day by the Harvest that you reap but by the seeds that you plant"
"If you do not succeed, make sure it is not because you did'nt try hard enough"


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PostPosted: Sun May 03, 2020 11:39 am 
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Partner's Mentor

Joined: Sun Sep 14, 2014 1:34 pm
Posts: 676
Good question, Kenzo. My partner is comfortable with the term "addict" and I am as well. He's been working his recovery for a bit over six years now. It took a year to accept that he was an addict. And then some time after that to get sober.

I think that the groundwork for this addiction, which for many is due to unaddressed childhood trauma, is always with a person. That early trauma. And then the coping skills we develop are always with us. I think the problem with complacency shows that we can resort to old coping mechanisms if we are not careful.

All of this does not mean that addicts on this list are doomed to act out and relapse.

As a partner, I am aware of "addict like" thinking in my husband to this day. And, really, it's immature thinking: The entitlement. The lack of responsibility. The minimizing and rationalizing to avoid responsibility. The need to escape uncomfortable emotions. The use of dishonesty to hide and manipulate. The blaming.

I think recovery and leading value driven life based on health is a hard road after years of escape by acting out. That said, it's possible with time and effort.

dnell


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PostPosted: Wed May 27, 2020 3:01 pm 
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Joined: Tue Jun 13, 2017 1:26 am
Posts: 78
I want to quote dnell and Ace

Quote:
Perhaps like an alcoholic who has'nt touched a drop in 20 years - if he still frequents certain bars and hangs with certain people and does not fully understand himself - he will be more prone to one day falling off the wagon.


Quote:
I think that the groundwork for this addiction, which for many is due to unaddressed childhood trauma...


I completely agree and these exact words ... They are profound... I guess there are thousands of definitions and interpretations for what "an addict"is or is not.
From my perspective and experience, I can call one as a person who had a bad childhood and has learnt destructive coping mechanisms, thus a person who had a rough childhood is always a person who had a rough childhood, or you can hear sayings like if you didn't have a bicycle in your childhood, but you have a Ferrari now... you still didn't have a bicycle when you were a child :pe: . Nevertheless, what about now? This moment in your life?
Quote:
if he still frequents certain bars and hangs with certain people
I think it doesn't really matter whether I call myself a person who had no emotional connection with my alcoholic father (that's why an addict; with blaming or without blaming) or porn addict, what matters is knowing who you TRULY are by accepting all of the past, going through it, leaving the old and embracing the present. Terms are nice and everybody wants to put labels on reality, but what about questions like: how much joy do I feel in my life? What is my source of joy? Are these people that I am hanging with supporting me or the opposite is true? Do I have fulfilling relationships or do I feel lonely most of the time (but I am not watching porn so I am not P addict) but you are "a lonely person" which is another label... hmmm once a loner always a loner? I thought I was a loner, but throughout recovery I found myself to be a very sociable human being. Once a sociable human being, always a sociable human being? :g:

RN is a very serious and structural recovery program that helped me so much. The biggest part was making me believe that my addiction to P is not necessarily for the rest of my life. Now I'm rebuilding a lot of spheres in my life. I have urges from time to time, but never in my life had I such a strong foundation for when triggers appear they seem so powerless (yes, triggers are powerless, I am strong :) years go by and it is getting better and better. I wish you all best of luck :)


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PostPosted: Fri Aug 28, 2020 3:29 am 
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Recovery Coach

Joined: Thu Apr 29, 2010 8:07 pm
Posts: 4044
Location: UK
Re reading this post I thank those who contributed , in particular those from the partner side
I particularly noted the comment
Quote:
I think a lot of SAs actually embrace the "once and addict always an addict" statement as it can give them an easy way out to excuse their continuing behaviours. It's saying that it's not their fault that they have slipped again, it's their validation that, really, they are incapable of permanently changing.


brilliant
I have posted my view on the question, and accept that as individuals connected to differing groups the answer will vary from one extreme to the opposite extreme

I give an example from my ex with whom I share my life
she said to me recently
Quote:
If you and I parted on a Monday then you would be in a brothel by the following Friday


Do I consider that as a lack of being supportive? absolutely NOT
Do I consider it as lack of trust, absolutely YES
where does the blame for that lack of trust lie?
with ME and me alone, trust has been written about many times herein this forum and in my opinion should continue to be reflected upon by all at all times

_________________
Remember recovery is more than abstinence
Every transition begins with an ending
Do not confuse happiness with seeking pleasure
stay healthy keep safe
Coach Kenzo


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 02, 2020 3:11 am 
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Recovery Mentor

Joined: Fri Sep 29, 2017 5:29 am
Posts: 459
Nice post Kenzo, a very interesting conundrum to get our heads around. I have delayed adding to this thread for a couple of reasons, firstly because i was on annual leave the last couple of weeks but secondly, and if I am being honest more importantly, I was confused about what I would say. I feel the urge to be positive and say that of course we can all change as this will provide encouragement to both sides of our site but that statement is probably a little at odds with what I actually feel instinctively and the last thing I would want to do is to be negative. I have ended up deciding to post my thoughts as the overriding value of our forums for me is to be honest and on reflection I think that the other side of our fence are more likely to appreciate honest views that me trying to blow smoke up ourselves.

So here is what I think. Anyone that has followed my thread will know I have often recounted on my having had 3 addictions throughout most of my adult life, one was smoking ( I started at 12), one was drink and the other was sex. I have known for most of that time for me to be happy and content I would need to overcome each of these. Over time I have accomplished the first two and I can genuinely say with no ounce of doubt in my mind that I consider myself no longer an addict in relation to smoking or drinking. I haven't smoked for 5 years and I never think about it, when I smell smoke from others smoking it turns my stomach, I know I will never smoke again. I haven't drunk for 4 years now and it really doesn't bother me, I don't feel any temptation to drink again. Interestingly, I did find that giving up smoking was welcomed by my friends but giving up drink was not - smoking is seen as being socially unacceptable now but drinking is not, if I go to a pub and have a soft drink with one other person it makes them feel uncomfortable as the other person does not feel comfortable being the only one drinking. That's all by the by though, suffice to say that I know that someone can move away from being an addict as I have now done that twice.

That leaves the 3rd and last leg of my battle which is sex addiction. For a variety of reasons this one has not been as straight forward as the first two. I think it is partly to do with the fact that mentally i know it is the last of my addictions and that instinctively I am probably scared to let go of it, my last crutch. But I think the majority of it is that this one is far more complicated than the other two. With those it was a case of removing those things from my life whereas, as a married man, I am not looking to remove it from my life but instead am looking to refocus my attention to my wife and way from the far more unhealthy directions that it was focussed on previously. So whilst I no longer act out, I can not hand on heart say that I no longer consider myself an addict, I know that there is a lot of manual intervention that is keeping me there at the present time, it is not "automatic" in the same way that I am with smoking and drinking. Do i think it will become automatic with time? That is where I am confused, part of me knows it is possible because I have done it before on other addictions which is what gives me hope and positivity but on the other hand moving from "manual" to "automatic" does not feel like it is about to happen any day now.

So apologies for the very long posted response to a very short question but it is an honest view. In balance my answer is that I do believe that addicts can no longer be addicts (I have experienced it first hand on other addictions and have also seen it here on RN) but I do think that it is something that takes time and a complete dedication to pursue that goal. I also sense that some may profess to no longer be addicts on RN because that is the ultimate goal for themselves and also for their partners who may be monitoring their threads. As I always say, for someone to successfully recover they need to first and foremost want to do it for themselves regardless of what the future may hold, in the knowledge that if they succeed then they will also achieve what others around them will seek for them to achieve. If recovery is about doing it just for someone else then it will never succeed.

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L2R

A clean life; a clear conscience


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 02, 2020 9:08 am 
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Partner's Mentor

Joined: Sun Sep 14, 2014 1:34 pm
Posts: 676
LTR, I appreciate your post and your honesty.

After discovery of my husband's addictions, I became more aware of how hard it is for anyone to develop healthy sexuality. We have an odd mix of cultural repression and in your face sexual images and references to sell us everything. Our culture has objectified, commodified and industrialized sexuality. And porn really does all of that.

I see recovery from sex addiction as being as challenging as recovery from an eating disorder. I have compassion for the hard work of recovery. As an ex-smoker and ex-drinker but still someone addicted to sugar, I am aware of the personal challenges for different recoveries.

There are so many stumbling blocks for reconciliation between a sex addict and his/her partner. An issue with my husband is that he could not understand how compassionate I was about the struggle to recover. He projected on to me his challenges and his shame. Jon as well taught as that our addicted partners would not believe we would be compassionate or supportive. And that means, as we know, that in initial stages of recovery most addicts continue to lie both by omission and commission. That is also one of the first lessons Jon teaches us. Your sexually addicted partner will continue to lie to you until he/she is further in recovery. So we know this. I used to snoop early on. I would not have felt the need to if my husband had been honest. I also would have not needed to if I had been further along in my work to detach and separate from my husband's addictions. But, painfully, the continued dishonesty after the shock of discovery creates a deeper problem for reconciliation.

I get it. Why on earth would I want to tell my wounded partner that I continued to feel urges, continued to slip, continued to fear I would never recover. Wouldn't that wound them some more and wouldn't that make them leave. But this is where rigorous honesty is so important. I want my husband to be able to tolerate his fear. I want him to own his projections. I want him to see that while I may be unhappy that he continues to have urges, I ALREADY BELIEVE HE DOES. And there you have it. There is the crux of the problem. Since I already believe he has struggles, and he denies those struggles, it makes me further believe he is not recovering. And when he is more fully recovered and having less urges, then I don't believe him. It's very tragic and sad.

I believe most addicts developed their sex addiction in order to cope with unpleasant emotions. I think Jon was spot on describing this addiction as immaturity. So as we learn to develop more healthy ways to cope we do not need to rely on our immature patterns of coping. That said, given that life can throw us curve balls, I find I can resort to immature ways to cope. As an adult, I need to recognize when this happens and adjust to a more mature way of being. I'm also aware from recovered addicts that just the right combination of triggers can create a powerful urge. Even after years of recovery. I accept this. What I want is my husband to be honest about this. I think bringing it all out in the light strengthens recovery since it isn't in the secret world of addiction. Addicts need to take the risk of trusting that their partners understand and will be supportive. We may not be. We might leave you. We might be supportive in some situations and not in others. But we might be the compassionate supportive partner that you have not always been able to clearly see.

I think I would rephrase "once an addict, always an addict" to "once an addict, one always risks a return to addiction."

dnell


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PostPosted: Sat Sep 05, 2020 6:37 am 
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Recovery Coach

Joined: Thu Apr 29, 2010 8:07 pm
Posts: 4044
Location: UK
great post from Dnell

Quote:
I think I would rephrase "once an addict, always an addict" to "once an addict, one always risks a return to addiction."



I would rephrase that into
"once an addict, one always risks a return to addiction, if one chooses to."

Acting out is a choice, we dont need to even though we deny that fact
We choose to act upon compulsions regardless of the consequences

_________________
Remember recovery is more than abstinence
Every transition begins with an ending
Do not confuse happiness with seeking pleasure
stay healthy keep safe
Coach Kenzo


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