The Insider

Posted on January 21, 2010


It’s 6:45am and I’m heading to the CBS studios to do a bit for The Insider on sex rehab and Tiger Woods. What a delicate subject, one to be handled with such care because as of now his participation in the rehab program is simply a rumor, he’s been “spotted” in Mississippi, being one of the most reputable tabloid sites leaking out information, Harvey, who used to be a lawyer, isn’t the kind of man to run unchecked facts (too much legal mess I’d imagine) and it seems the world is holding on to hear what this pro golfer is doing to get fixed. My hopes are that he’s actually in a facility and has the willingness to be helped.

The tricky thing about sex rehab is that it’s community based, and the rehabilitation process starts when that community begins to foster intimate interaction between patients. If it’s true he’s in a facility, I’m sure there will be many attempts by non sex addicts to check in and see “what’s up”… The growing and healing that takes place in a community based rehab can only do so when trust abounds, when all the patients are checked into the rehab for the same reasons.

I received one of the best comments yet, asking important questions…. I’d like to address them here, question by question…On the subject of Emotional connection and attachment… for Canada Pat. These are all just my opinions, based upon my experience in rehab and the recovery process. These are the best answers I have, and while it may not fit for one in particular, it is my personal truth…

I will post the comment in full: EMOTIONAL CONNECTION and ATTACHMENT!!!
I would like to know what Jennifer Ketchum has to say on this topic.
I too am a sex addict in recovery (male) and recently have been obsessed with this topic since I discovered the parenting book by Gordon Neufeld and the research of John Bowlby.

There is a lot of talk in recovery (al anon and the such) about DETACHING from things (eg. expectations, active addicts in our lives,etc.)
The thing that always gets me these days is the understanding of how badly people seem to want to connect, to ATTACH with others meaningfully, intimately but just can’t. The defenses and emotional scams and trickery and deception and hiding we engage in is amazing to me.
How almost none of us can deal with the reality of our own vulnerability as human is distressing to me and it makes me feel alone. And I felt alone when I was in active addiction.

First I’d like to say you are not alone. There are many people suffering not only from Sex Addiction but also from an overall inability to connect with other people on an intimate level. This blog is proof of that… I agree… the scams and trickery are amazing. I am amazed at the games I have played. But I came to a point where it was more effort to keep up that impenetrable wall blocking out my feelings than to let my guard down and just feel. Being vulnerable is scary, it takes more courage and strength than being closed off and non feeling. But it’s possible to begin enjoying feeling vulnerable because we change what the word means. I accept my humanity, and thus my vulnerability. It’s fucking hard though. But worth it.

How do you think we can connect meaningfully to people and not be so overwhelmed that we (or they) run, scam, scheme, act out and be defensive and defective?

My biggest problem in the past has been giving people my trust all at once. 100% trust immediately will not end well because not everyone deserves my trust immediately. I’ve been building healthy strong relationships by letting my trust and guard out in small measures. Over time, after the person I’m interacting with has shown to be respectful of my boundaries, and I’m respectful of his/hers, the amount we trust each other grows, and we become stronger as friends. I don’t feel the need to run because I don’t feel as though they will hurt me, or I will hurt them. I’ve also made a commitment to myself to not hurt people in the ways I have, by lying, cheating etc. and as long as I stick to this commitment, my previous reasons for wanting to run will no longer be there. Something else Jill tells me all the time… Water seeks its own level. So the healthier we get, the healthier people we will attract, and the more unappealing our old unhealthy relationships will become. You will start bringing in healthier people as your water level rises, and these people will not be scammers or runners because you will have sussed out those you do not want in your close circle. It’s all about trusting those closest to us.

How in this shame based, bankrupt society can we do this?

Jill says we build self esteem by participating in esteem-able acts. We start to feel good about ourselves by doing things that are good for us. From little things like brushing our teeth in the morning, to bigger things like helping other addicts or non-addicts, the more good we do for and in this world, the better we begin to feel about ourselves, and the less we live in shame. It starts on a very small level. When I first got sober it was little things like making my bed, or taking Saucy for a walk. Now I work with other women like myself, who are going through similar things as I. Being of service is the best thing I can do for my self esteem and issues which are generally shame based. It also helps me get out of my own head. While we may feel as though our society is bankrupt, it begins within us as active participants of society. If we are emotionally and spiritually bankrupt, then we must take contrary action and do things that counteract this bankruptcy. Every time I speak with another woman with similar struggles, I place a valuable lesson in my spiritual and emotional bank. Helping others and being of service is my way out of emotional and spiritual bankruptcy.

How do u do this? Or try? Or comfort yourself when being emotionally attached to someone gets painful or scary?

I talk about it. I talk about it with the person I’m close to, talk about it with my trusted advisors, with my sponsor, I’m training myself to be open and honest about my feelings and fears. I made a long list of fears, and went through each one with a woman I respect to see which fears were real and which were imagined. Jill says we can either live in fear of life or faith that things will be and are exactly as they should be. Every day I make a conscious decision to live in faith that I am exactly where I should be, and when fears come up regarding closeness, I talk about them. It’s hard and scary sometimes, but it gets easier the more I do it. When all else fails, I hug a pillow, or Saucy and tell myself that it will be all right. That feelings are not facts and all things pass with time.

Do you walk around your city feeling lonely ever?

When I feel most lonely, when I’m walking around the city by myself, I try to smile at strangers. I try to remind myself that I am not the only one who feels lonely at times, I’m not the only one struggling or questioning my ability to connect to others on an intimate level. When a stranger smiles at me, I carry that moment in my heart until I go to sleep. It’s a small connection but it something. When I smile at a stranger on the street and they smile back, it reminds me I am not alone, and sometimes, sharing a smile with someone I may never see again is the best thing to remind me that regardless of how big this earth is, and no matter how many people are on it, there is always somewhere I can go and always someone who is thinking or feeling or wanting the same things I do. It’s a small comfort, but a comfort nonetheless.

Posted in: Good Days