Partner's Workshop: Stage Six; Lesson Six

Understanding Your Addiction

After several complex lessons involving a focus on your partner's behavior, it is time to switch gears and return to the purpose of this workshop: you. And while you may have guessed the purpose of today's lesson, if you were anticipating another lesson on the consequences of your partner's behavior on your life, you'd be wrong. The purpose of today's lesson is to become aware of the role that your addiction has played in your life.

"Whaaaaaaa??? My addiction?!"

Just as one of the most effective ways for you to understand your partner's destructive patterns is to map them out from childhood to present...the value that can be gained from mapping out your own sexual addiction can be significant.

While today's lesson is more of an imaginary exercise than a lesson, there are many things that can be learned...if taken seriously.

Exercise: Mapping Your Own Addiction

Chances are, most of you do not have an addiction. Addictive tendencies, perhaps...but you have never developed a full blown addiction. The chances that you have developed a sexual addiction are far less likely as sexual addicts rarely establish long term relationships with other sexual addicts. This is about to change — at least for today.

What you are being asked to do now, is to go back through your life and map out your own sexual addiction. From the developing patterns to the acting out to your desire to stop. This need not take longer than an hour or so to complete, though some who "get it" may see it as a project — and spend several weeks constructing such a life to get the full impact. As you write, use your imagination but remain realistic. Proceed through each of your life's milestones...and consider some of the consequences that might have occurred with the progression of your addiction. Discuss some of the ways that your life might have changed.

It is important to realize that your addiction does not need to present itself in childhood. For some of you, the behaviors may not be seen until your teens; for others, not until the stress of college...or marriage. Your goal is to "add in" addiction to the life that you have already led...and then to examine the effects of such an addition. Discuss consequences that you believe would have occurred should you have had an addiction at any given time in your life. Discuss the impact that your addiction might have had on the way that you presented yourself socially. On your education. Your career. On the major choices that you have made in your life.

There are no right or wrong answers...and you are under no timetable to complete this exercise. What you should discover, though, is that the more you are able to understand the role that addiction might have played in your life...the more you will understand why you were able to develop into the person that you are...because it didn't.

No matter which format you choose to complete the exercise (e.g. narrative, outline, etc.), feel free to post your experience with addiction in the forum.

Exercise Forty

A. Now that you have considered the role that sexual addiction might have played in your life, in your opinion, and knowing what you should now know about addiction...what are some of the reasons that it didn't develop?

B. Reviewing your exercise results from the lesson itself, at what point do you think you would have recognized that you were addicted? What do you think you could have done about it? How do you think you would have hidden your sexual addiction from others?

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