Addictions – whether to a substance, an activity, or a feeling – are a way of either medicating emotions away or of creating them in the midst of emotional numbness. All addictions share these characteristics, at one level or another:

• Tolerance – increasing levels of engagement (relationship) with the acting out behavior are required in order to create and/or block (medicate) other feelings

• Withdrawal – significant increase in anxiety if addictive activities are not available, negative feelings (generally dealing with self-concept) increase

• Self-deception – addict will follow all of the classic behaviors of denial, repression, rationalization, hiding, the illusion of self-control, etc. with regards to addictive activities

• Loss of willpower – addictive activities become the controlling factor of life, the addict truly believes that he has no choice but to work even harder at every turn

• Distortion of attention – the desire for addictive activities is all consuming (See Gerald May’s Addiction and Grace)

Sexual addiction is a special focus of North Atlanta Center for Counseling.

The clinic I work with is committed to the idea of treating sexual addiction (SA) as an intimacy disorder which really has very little to do with sex per se. Since most of our clients (we see male and female addicts) come in with relational difficulties in their marriages, we also seek restoration and healing for both spouses and for the rest of the family system.

This often means that we have to help clients develop new images of both their own and their partner's gender identities, reformulate communication strategies, and find effective methods of grieving current and past harm on both sides of the relationship.

In my work with men, I will often engage clients with a positive, non-violent redefinition of masculinity. With women, I often hope for a celebration of the strength of their voices. And with couples, I like to go beyond "better communication" and invite an engagement with the fear and shame we are all so desperate to hide. My clients and I will often go back to their formative years and walk through who taught them the messages they are carrying (and living out) about what it means to be a man or woman. We then look for ways to reformulate those often destructive ideas into life-giving and life-affirming messages that allow them to engage positively with those emotions that they were previously trying to medicate away

Charles E Anderson | Messages and Appointments: 770.841.1410
Story Restoration
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