Sep 4, 2016 By Norris Burkes
Robert Palmer’s scored a hit with his song “Addicted to Love.” However, if you’re addicted to “love” from all the wrong places, you’ll net the wrong kind of fame. Just ask former U.S. Rep. Anthony Weiner or Maj. Gen. David Haight
Both men made the news recently for their sexual skullduggery. Weiner returns to the front page after sending sexually suggestive photos to a yet another woman other than his wife. And Haight will be answering questions from Army investigators about his alleged “swinger lifestyle” of swapping sexual partners – again, other than his wife.
While Weiner puns will no doubt make a reprise on late-night TV, this kind of behavior is more typical of a sex addict than of a garden-variety adulterer. People who misbehave at this level aren’t merely guilty of the off-field antics of a collegiate athlete; they have an addiction, plain and simple. And, like all addictions, this one strikes people from all walks of life, from the skid-row pervert to the parish pastor.
It strikes people who do their best to follow the admonitions of their faith. For instance, Christian guidelines come from Ephesians 5:3: “But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality … because these are improper for God’s holy people.”
In the counseling I’ve done with “God’s holy people,” I’ve heard men promise before God that this indiscretion would be their last one. These addicts will weep until they think they’ve squeezed every ounce of sin from their soul, only to see the addiction return. This is especially true for the sex addict who mainlines with internet pornography.
On the other side of the counseling couch, I’ve consoled sobbing wives who express feelings of inadequacy about their addict husband.
“Haven’t I offered him enough?” asked one especially attentive wife.
“You absolutely have,” I assured her, “but this thing isn’t about sex, nor is it about how you deliver that sex. It’s about his addiction.”
What makes this addiction particularly problematic is that there is little public support for the sex addict. People seeking treatment for the common addictions of food, alcohol, drugs or gambling will often find supportive employers and family members.
Sex addicts don’t find this kind of encouragement. Instead, forced into secret, they take the only way they know. They try white-knuckle or cold turkey cures. They depend only on their private willpower because they have to keep their secret to keep their jobs and family.
They lie to themselves promising that they will change. “This will be my last time!” they swear. But their promise has all the emptiness of an alcoholic’s last drink.
If you or someone you know is suffering from this addiction, consider a simple assessment test created by the foremost expert on the subject, Dr. Patrick Carnes. The test is called the Sexual Addiction Screening Test and you can find it at Carnes website, www.sexhelp.com. It’s most helpful in guiding people toward taking the first step: admit you have a problem.
Once diagnosed, sexual addiction is best treated in self-help groups like Sexaholics Anonymous (sa.org) or Sex Addicts Anonymous (sexaa.org). Both groups practice the basic principles of recovery found in the Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions of Alcoholics Anonymous.
Weiner and Haight may be destined for history’s rogue gallery. But you or your loved one needn’t be so destined. Just imagine what you can be if your mind is free from this trap. Your journey can begin only when you take the first step and admit you are powerless. My prayers are for your continued recovery.
– Partially excerpted from Norris’ new book, “Thriving Beyond Surviving.” Write Norris at [email protected] or P.O. Box 247, Elk Grove, CA 95759. Twitter @chaplain, or call 843-608-9715. Read more at www.thechaplain.net.