When a loved one has a pornography/sex addiction, it is critical to focus your energy not on regulating or monitoring the addiction recovery, but on your own recovery and healing. That said, it may be helpful to be educated about how you can know if your loved one is on the right path toward recovery.
Here are some resources to help you assess your situation:
From an addict in recovery: This is what recovery looks like
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See this table that contrasts attitudes and behaviors of one who may not be committed to recovery vs. one who is committed to and working toward recovery.
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What does recovery mean?
Recovery from pornography or sexual addiction requires more than just stopping or abstaining from the behavior. Abstinence from viewing pornography is important, of course, but true recovery requires a lifestyle change as well as a change of heart. It is about recognizing and admitting to being an addict, setting appropriate boundaries to protect against future acting out, learning to cope with life’s challenges in healthy and appropriate ways, being willing to work on recovery daily, and changing underlying behaviors causing the individual to seek out pornography. Some factors that can indicate a person’s progress in recovery include:
Is your loved one completely honest, open, and transparent in discussing his pornography problem—past and present?
What steps are being taken to recover?
Does he/she fully disclose his problem to his spouse, significant other, parents, therapist and religious leaders?
Does he/she work with a sponsor [someone who has walked the path of recovery and can help guide your loved one through this journey]?
Does he/she participate in a 12-Step program?
Is he/she getting appropriate counseling?
Does he/she still continue to acknowledge himself as an addict and continue to work his recovery program?
How long has he gone without viewing pornography? Research has shown that it takes at least seven to twelve months [or longer] before an addicted individual is on his/her way to establishing true and lasting sobriety. Complete recovery requires time.
Does the person work on issues underlying the pornography addiction? Is the person working to change attitudes and behaviors regarding healthy sexuality, developing relationship skills, learning to address unresolved problems, and dealing with life more constructively?
Is he/she more concerned about helping others who might also be suffering from pornography addiction than about his/her own image and reputation, or keeping his/her behaviors related to pornography a secret?
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