One of the biggest challenges with overcoming a sexual addiction is the tendency for recovering addicts to make large, sweeping changes early in recovery. When the recovering addict sees the pain and anger in the face of his wife or loved ones, he often becomes reactive and makes dramatic efforts to prove to them that he’s changing. Of course, some don’t do anything, but that’s a different post for a different day! My focus is on the guys in recovery who are trying to make things right.
I compare their efforts in recovery to overcorrecting a car when it’s veered off the road. When I’m flying down the Interstate at 75mph and my tires hit the rumble strips on the side of the road, I recognize that I’m crossing the line and need to get back in line with the road. If I overcorrect my steering, I’m going to flip my car. If I do nothing, I’m going to run off the road and flip my car. Correcting a car and correcting a life require the exact same response.
Corrections need to happen quickly, but not abrubtly. Some changes may be dramatic, but don’t need to happen in a dramatic fashion. For example, some men change careers. Some move to a different house. Some change their friends. These are big changes and will be life-changing. However, the men who make these changes quietly and in a controlled fashion will be more successful in getting their lives back on track.
Here is a great example of what to do when faced with a trigger.
Notice how Indiana Jones recognizes the danger, relaxes, and then chooses the best option. His relaxed stance is a good model for guys in recovery when they face an unexpected trigger.
Making gentle course corrections builds more trust in partners and loved ones who want to see things change smoothly and consistently over time. Since many of these changes will be long-term changes, there is no need to be dramatic. The drama only creates more suspicion that this change is only a reaction to the current situation, but not a genuine change of heart.