The idea of attending a group to deal with compulsive sexual behavior sends a chill up the spine. Men who struggle with sex addiction have been using sex as a coping mechanism to deal with anxiety, loneliness, a sense of inadequacy, and many other emotional states. These men are typically “loners” in that they try to deal with life’s challenges on their own. They may be the quiet type or they may be the most-friendly guy in the world, but rarely do they know how to develop truly deep friendships and share their struggles with others. The world of sexual fantasy has been the place of escape and comfort. So the prospect of sitting in a circle sharing their sexual struggles is terrifying. There are fears: “What if I know someone in the group?” or “What if these guys are all perverts?” or “What if they all think I’m a weirdo?” Most of these fears are rooted in shame, which is the experience that I am not worth being loved.
When men overcome these fears and attend a group at The Intimacy Center, what they find is a group of men very much like themselves: on a journey from isolation and compulsion to a place of freedom and self-respect. They find acceptance from others in the group who appreciate their great qualities as a person. They find support to do the hard work of recovery. They find accountability to follow through with commitments and become the man they are intended to be.
There are two main areas of focus in the groups: to gain sexual sobriety by understanding one’s own sexual addictive cycle and to grow in interpersonal skills through understanding one’s own intimacy deficits and practicing healthy supportive relationships.
Each group member presents his Recovery Plan for Sex Addiction and checks in each week on how he is working that plan. The group supports each member in working through three workbooks:
- 30 Days to Hope and Freedom from Sexual Addiction, by Milton Magness
- Facing the Shadow, Starting Sexual and Relationship Recovery, by Patrick Carnes
- The Recovery Zone, Volume 1: Making Changes that Last – The Internal Tasks, by Patrick Carnes
These workbooks provide a wealth of information about addiction and recovery and serve as the catalyst for sharing deeply about oneself in the group.
The groups are intentional therapeutic communities. At the end of each group session the group stays for an additional 45 minutes (or more) to continue the work of the group without the therapist. This becomes a time to deepen relationships and practice getting support from and providing support to each other. Additionally, the groups involve choosing a Phone Partner with whom you will have at least two phone conversations each week. These calls become a way to develop the kind of friendship in which you share what you really need from your friend.
The groups require a minimum 3-month commitment, but most men joining the groups stay in the groups for a much longer time, deepening their friendships and learning to lean on each other to maintain sexual sobriety and live into abundant living. The groups are limited to 8 men to ensure that each man has sufficient time to do his work in the group.
Monday, 5:05-6:35 p.m., Leader: Tom
Monday, 7:00-8:30 p.m., Leader: Tom
Thursday, 6:15-7:45 p.m., Leader: Renee