Accountablitiy(LowRes) Pornography, Sex Addiction Requires Accountability                          Roger Stark, Published Nov. 17, 2010

John found himself sitting on an sex addiction counselor’s couch for the first time. He’s not sure how he ended up there, and he has no idea how to escape his addictive behavior.

While this is all new to John, it’s become routine for the therapist, who is seeing more and more “Johns.”  America’s addiction-prone culture is turning out addicts in record numbers, and sex addiction business is booming for therapists.

“These are men who, 20 years ago, would not likely have sought out adult book stores or other pornography outlets,” said Jeffrey W. Robison, Ph.D., about his clients who suffer from pornography addiction.

Modern culture, in its evolution, has become a creator of addicts. Eventually many, like John, find themselves in treatment and asking, “How do I make this stop?”

“The Whitebook,” a recovery manual used by Sexaholics Anonymous, clarifies that question: “I don’t need help quitting. I have quit a thousand times! I need help STAYING QUIT.”

Therapists realize that attacking what we have come to know as “denial” is a necessary first step in finding recovery and “staying quit.”Addicts lost in addiction are often blind to it as well.

“Alcoholism and all other addictions come with built-in denial,” said Robert E. Larsen, M.D., coordinator of Hazelden’s Health Care Professional Program in Center City, Minn. “The patient does not know that they are ill. They have no real concept of how severe the situation is and they are frequently not willing to talk about it at all.”

Experts say, denial bends reality to fit the addict’s needs, making recovery a bit difficult. In the addict’s mind, recognizing denial just isn’t necessary. When first confronted by the situation the addict’s response is, “I do not have a problem.”

It’s an emphatic response often filled with anger and indignation that such a thing might even be proposed. The more anger and indignation there is about the possibility of a problem, the more probability it exists.

One of the many painful frustrations for family and friends is watching someone they love lose their life to addiction while being largely unaware of it. “The Big Book” of Alcoholics Anonymous describes addiction as a “cunning and baffling disease.”

Indeed all addictions may be so described. Addictions steal the addict’s contact with reality and sense of reality. It’s part of the blindness. Addicts weave such an intricate web of rationalizations and justifications to allow their addictive behavior that they become engulfed by the darkness of their lies of denial and are blinded. Drunkenness is excused as, “Just letting off a little steam”; smoking marijuana is excused by saying it’s the only thing that helps me relax.”? Meth addics say they’re not addicted; rather they justify it by saying, “I have to work two jobs and need the help staying awake.”

The truth: You’ve become an addict! You don’t realize you’re an addict, but you’ll do whatever you have to do and say whatever you have to say to continue your addictive behaviors.

What is the antidote for denial? Accountability “ridiculous accountability” practiced with the loving help of others. Alcoholics Anonymous repeatedly teaches that addicts cannot heal alone partly because they need to hold themselves accountable to others (therapists, sponsors, spiritual leaders and spouses), and partly because addicts need to see the world through the eyes of someone else until denial wears off.

In the movie, “A Beautiful Mind,” the schizophrenic main character has a history of imaginary associates. He struggles to know who is “real” in his life. Near the end of the movie he is in a three-way conversation with a friend whom he knows is real and a new acquaintance. He eventually turns to his “known” friend and asks, “Is this person real?”

When he is assured that he is really there, the conversation continues.

Addicts can ask themselves questions while helping to hold themselves accountable: Am I using denial again? Is this a thinking error? Am I seeing this clearly and accurately? Am I turning things around to suit my needs?

So, how does one stop doing what they can’t stop doing?

The answer to that question is really quite long and very involved, but the answer always begins with, “Get out of your denial patterns and hold yourself accountable.”