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January 07, 2009

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now would that be as a lobbyist for the prostitutes union or the porn industry?

Rain

This outrageous stunt does have a positive aspect in highlighting the negative impact of porn for the millions of Americans who suffer from sexual addiction. This is a real problem as we discovered in a cursory web search. One of the more intriguing sites belonged to an organization called Recovery Nation (www.recoverynation.com), which bills itself as a health-based recovery site with a variety of free self-help resources for those with a sex, love or porn addiction and their partners.

We spoke to their founder, Jonathan Marsh. “Porn addiction is real, and our best guess is that over 10 million Americans suffer from some form of sexual addiction.” So then what is it? Marsh told us that sexual addiction is one of the most frequently misunderstood terms in behavioral health. First, sexual/porn addiction is not a disease by AMA standards. Sexual addiction is nothing more than a continuing pattern of unwanted compulsive sexual behavior that has had a negative impact on an individual's personal, social and/or economic standing. Whether or not you have a problem starts with a single question, "Is the behavior causing problems?"

Porn addiction is an exceptionally difficult behavior to deal with, due to its ease of access both overtly and subtly. Additionally, one's ability to remember the images viewed (and the emotional connections that were associated with those images) creates an instant "porn library" inside their head that is available for fantasy and masturbation, even when those images are no longer physically available. Recovery from sexual addiction is also different from other more familiar addictions. With alcohol or drug addictions, simply eliminating the behavior can be considered good enough for recovery. With addictions involving human needs such as food, sex or love, recovery cannot simply involve stopping the behavior. It must include the ability to meet those needs through acceptable societal values. That makes the recovery process more difficult. But, it also provides the foundation for understanding the values needed to make a complete recovery and to manage life successfully. The recovery process includes a reassessment of the individual's values, a conscious replacement of destructive behavior with that of constructive behavior, and a focus on rebuilding a life that is both satisfying to the individual and productive to society with the commitment of the one in recovery.

Several alternatives are available for treatment, such as in-patient programs, programs based on the 12 step principles, and programs known as health-based. Health-based programs focus on value development, life management skills and emotional maturity, as opposed to the more traditional disease-based model geared towards managing addiction. In many instances the treatment approaches are complimentary. Marsh’s treatment approach involves a functional awareness of addiction, including the role of addiction as a life management tool, the finite role of emotions, understanding compulsive rituals, practical awareness of one's values, boundaries, skills and identity, isolating the addiction from one's core identity and developing the life skills needed to manage a healthy life. The transition to a healthy life requires the mastering of a series of basic life management skills (e.g., emotional management, decision making, goal setting, prioritization, time management and most importantly, value management).

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