The True Self is capable of objectively observing the Sex Addict Self because it's not obsessively preoccupied with getting it's neurotic needs met. Psychoanalysts call this the “observing ego” and it is considered a sign of maturity. Proponents of Eastern spirituality call the True Self “The Witness” because it's essence is conscious awareness of the inner workings of the mind.

With time in addiction recovery, the True Self becomes “The Witness” of the Sex Addict Self and can see very clearly that the Addict Self is full of lies and rationalizations. When your True Self can recognize the lies and distortions of the Addict Self, you're close to being free from the shackles of addiction.

Over the course of many years of treating sex addicts and their partners, I have compiled a list of the main thoughts and perceptions of the Addict that need to recognized and dismissed by your Higher Self.

The Addict Self lives in duplicity. It speaks falsehoods to you and to those you love. Having lived in hiding and isolation for so long, he is unable to do reality testing with others and so is subject to a squadron of perceptual distortions. Some of these include:

All the guys do it.

I'm not hurting anyone but myself.

Just one last time.” (Have you considered that if you were capable of “one last time” you would have done it years ago?)

I'm just not attracted to my wife. She's gained ten pounds. (Compared to a porn star??)

This time I'll make it work. I can have my pleasure without paying a price. (!!)

I can't see living my whole life without porn.

I work hard at the office. I deserve this.

The women in my fantasy life desire me and because I am desired by women, I am a better human being.

I'm not just a John. She's really turned on by me.

My dominatrix is one of my closest friends.

Being seen with a beautiful woman enhances my stature as a man in the eyes of other men.

When I'm in a sexual trance, I'm in control. (Who are you kidding?)

The woman in the chat room really believes I'm 35, single and in great shape.

I'm the phone sex worker's favorite client.

I don't have a problem with intimacy. I'm just polyamorous.

Because I've suffered through 30 days of not looking at porn, I can start again and this time I'll have control over it.

Because these (fantasy) women desire me, I'm proving to the guys from school that I'm not some worthless geek who girls reject.

If I'm overtaken by a powerful urge to act out, I must comply with it.

If I reach out for help, no one will be there for me.

I must turn only to myself to get my needs and wants met.

The most exciting sexual experience is a fantasy based on using someone else.

To be sexually aroused, I must be subjugated and humiliated.

Because sexual arousal has changed my mood, my emotional needs have been met.

Compulsive, deviant sex satisfies me emotionally.

I can rely only on a predictable mood change from sexual arousal. People may not always come through.

Objects are more dependable than people.

Vanilla sex with a partner is boring.

Sex is my first priority. People come second.

The only thing I can really depend on is the illusory sense of fulfillment and the predictable mood change of the Erotic Haze.

The only time I'm in control is when I'm in the Erotic Haze.

I don't really have to face anything I don't want to.

Objects and events are more important than people. I don't really need people.

I can do anything I want, whenever I want, no matter what the damage to myself or others.

Intensity is Intimacy and Intimacy is Intensity.

Sexual empowerment is personal empowerment.

Feelings of sexual competency compensates for my shame and self-hatred.

Sexual arousal fosters the illusion that I'm powerful enough to extract the love and nurturing from the person who couldn't/wouldn't give it to me as a child.

These are some of the cognition and perceptions of the Addict that keep you running as an active sex addict. Many have them occur at the level of the subconscious mind. It takes the Mindful Awareness of the Witness to see the signs of the “stinking thinking” that signifies that the Addict is alive and kicking.

Recovery is the, ultimately, the acknowledgment of the Addict within, a continual acceptance of its potential power and the continuous monitoring of the Voice of the Addict in whatever form it takes.

By acknowledging and claiming the Addict side of your personality and coming to listen and understand the Addict Self, you enter into the recovery process. Successful treatment of sex addiction fosters honesty with the Self in listening to and honoring the True Self. To be in recovery is to separate, consistently and perseveringly the True Self from the Voice of the Addict and to detach from identification with the Addict Self.

Recovery Plus

The process of recovery from addiction is found in the renewal of the Self; and, eventually, in forming meaningful relationships with others and with some form of spiritual principles.

As humans, we are driven by needs for connection, for power and for pleasure. Sex addicts are focused on attaining power and pleasure. But there is another critical drive that resides in the human psyche – the drive for meaning. The Addict Self cannot create or sustain a meaning-full and joyous life because addiction is so meaningless. Settling for living within and being controlled by their drives for power and pleasure, addicts give up on meaning. This is the Self eternally wrestling with the Addict.

The Recovery process makes certain demands on addicts. Gone are the days that life can be centered exclusively around the attainment of pleasure. For the recovering addict to thrive in sobriety, he must relinquish his attachment to power and pleasure and become a meaning-centered person.

Author's Bio: 

Dorothy Hayden, LCSW, has been treating sex addicts for 15 years, has written over 35 articles and one e-book about the subject and has been interviewed on major media outlets as an expert in the field of sex addiction.