My husband is a sex addict, and an alcoholic (or drug addict, compulsive shopper, workaholic.) What should I do?

Addicts of any kind generally have what is called an addictive personality. Therefore, multiple addictions, and or addiction swapping, are not uncommon. Over spending and overeating or bingeing on food seem particularly frequent in sex addicts. The key to understanding why this happens lies in understanding what usually drives addiction: the addict is trying to soothe emotional pain with a substance or activity.That is why it is important for the sexually compulsive person to work with a counselor to deal with leftover pain, usually from childhood, at this time in his life. But it is equally important to understand that addiction has a physiological component as well. Whether the “drug” of choice is heroin or sex, science has proven that neurochemicals are released in the person’s brain, giving him a chemical “hit” that provides some soothing and satisfaction for the inner pain he carries. Over time, more of the chemical is required to achieve the same hit, which causes the addict to use more and more of his drug. With sex addiction, this reality generally drives the addict to move on to riskier sexual behaviors in his quest for satisfaction. For these reasons, 12 step programs offer a very beneficial component when treating addiction. Not only are the 12 steps a spiritual process, they are a set of cognitive and behavioral modification tools, and over several decades, they have proven they offer hope and help in treating all kinds of addictions.

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