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Why Sex Addiction Professionals Hate
Jeff Hutchinson CPC, CPSAS
Caribou Coaching
Okay, so your counselor doesn't really hate marriage, although most are setting you up to fail. How do I know? Because
I talk to hundreds of couples who tell me what counselors have said or done and my wife and I are tasked with attempting to
repair the damage. Please don't read this and take away that I'm attacking your counselor. They simply don't know or don't
fully understand how their actions are affecting your marriage.
Here is what I see on a regular basis. First, the current treatment model refers to your wife as a co-sex addict or co-addict. I
cannot tell you how damaging that is in and of itself. The term co-addict implies that your wife is sick, unstable and partially
responsible for your behavior. Most wives aren't really keen on hearing how "sick" they are after you've confessed (or more
likely got caught) viewing pornography, affairs, using prostitutes, hooking with random women or whatever your thing has
been. I understand why professionals want to use this model and why they feel the need to label some wives as co-addicts,
but trust me, this is not helping you, your marriage and especially not your wife. By the way, have you ever heard of the
spouse of an alcoholic being called a co-alcoholic?
Your wife has been beaten down by your secret behavior and now she has to hear from your counselor why it's her fault
you've acted out. I know this can feel great for you at the beginning of recovery because shouldering the weight of what
you've done to your wife and the marriage can get heavy right? Why don't you just hit her in the head with a baseball bat
while you're at it? It might be less painful. Wives are sick of you being the center of attention. They are sick of having to
censor how they express their emotions because your therapist told them you're not ready.
If your counselor is one who is like what I am describing here, he or she has no clue what your wife is going through, because
they are working from an outdated model that could ultimately end your marriage. By the way, research conducted over the
last several years proves a different model is more successful, but that is beyond my scope here. If you are attending support
groups and/or 12-step meetings (as you should be) listen to what the guys are saying. "Everything is fine, I'm still sober,
feeling great about myself, getting out from under the shame and all, but my wife is still upset!" What is wrong with this
picture? Go ahead and congratulate yourself for doing well in recovery and enjoy the support you are getting from the other
guys and from your therapist. But realize that your wife cannot be your cheerleader and that it usually takes her a lot longer
to heal from the damage your addiction has caused than it does you.
Your counselor has told you that this is her issue and the guys in the group have eagerly backed that up saying that it's
something wrong with her or her recovery.....yeah something is wrong all right. She's being blamed and being told she's
second fiddle. As usual the entire world revolves around you. Her emotions don't count, her questions are self-deprecating
and unimportant, she is hyper-vigilant, codependent, hysterical, etc. It's all too much; and the fact that she can't "get over it"
and forgive you is driving you crazy. Why can't she see what a great guy you are and how you've changed? Why can't she
be more like your therapist?
I hope by now you see where this is going and how your therapist, the one who tells you "We all have our part" or "You both
need to be working your own recovery" is setting you up to fail. It's not rocket science. Your marriage doesn't stop for you
to get healthy. Your wife can't wait for you to get to a place where you are "ready." You have to do your recovery work and
learn how to support your wife at the same time. Recovery isn't easy. Since there is so much co-occurring, you must have a
recovery that can work with a lot of moving parts.
It's been said that the number one predictor for the successful recovery of a sexual addict is the support of family members.
What family member is more important than your spouse? She's the one closest to you but she's also the one you've hurt the
most and expecting her to support you without supporting her first is in one word...asinine. It's like you ran over her and now
you want her to get up and drive you to the hospital. Never mind that she's bleeding all over the place and in more pain that
you or I can ever imagine; it's all about you. And that's what she hears from your therapist who is feeding into the selfabsorbed nature of our addiction and setting your marriage up for failure.
Your wife must be allowed to process and grieve. Let me say that again. Your wife must be allowed to process and grieve.
There is no such thing as a free lunch; you can't get something for nothing; every reaction has an equal reaction. Is this
starting to make sense? I know you don't want to answer her questions. I know you don't want to revisit that place of shame,
but if you aren't there for her and continue to make everything about you, your marriage will fail.
Ask your wife how you can better support her, apologize often, admit when you're wrong and purge your marriage of any
and all secrets (through clinical disclosure where she has support from a therapist who gets it, not on your own). Don't wait
for your counselor to tell you if you're ready. You don't have to live with them. If you're willing to do anything, like you've
told your wife a million times, to make the marriage work, you'll stop listening to your counselor or your sponsor if they are
one of the many who simply don't understand what your wife is going through, and do these simple things. Reject the
implication that your wife is not the victim, because she is and in the context of the marriage you are the perpetrator. Be
humble and walk in your brokenness and watch out for this very common trap so you and your marriage can recover.
If you are lost and need help dealing with your wife's emotions and grief please visit my website and shoot me an email.
Check out some of the resources and articles while you are there. This stuff doesn't come naturally to any of us. Don't beat
yourself up for not doing this perfectly. But don't make excuses for not making every effort to learn how to be the husband
you should have been all along.
Jeff Hutchinson, CPSAS
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