rulesIn my previous posting to this site I outlined the creation of a sexual boundary plan that recovering sex addicts can use as a guide to not only avoiding problem behaviors, but to living a healthy and happy life in sobriety. In this posting I will give a few tips on how to most effectively implement these plans, once you’ve got one.

Turn Your Plan into a Contract

Sexual boundary plans are intended to define sexual sobriety while also giving you a plan for a better life moving forward. If you are truly serious about recovery, add language at the bottom of your boundary plan saying you agree to not engage in inner boundary behaviors, to be careful with middle boundary items, and to live in the outer boundary to the best of your ability. And then sign the document, turning it into a contract. After it is signed you can give copies to your therapist, your spouse, your 12-step sponsor, and any other accountability partners you may have. There is something powerful about this type of commitment, and making it can, at times, be enough to keep you sober in trying circumstances.

Don’t Play Word Games

When sex addicts create a sexual boundary plan, that plan typically looks airtight. However, over time, as with any document, if you look hard enough you can probably find (or at least imagine) a couple of loopholes. In such cases you might be tempted, in the moment, to engage in a behavior that violates the intent of your plan, if not the actual language. But rather than playing word games, it is better to tighten up the language in your plan. The less wiggle room there is, the better.

Be Honest With Your Plan and Yourself

Sex addicts are notoriously good at obscuring the truth, not only from others but from themselves. As such, sex addicts who are looking to justify a certain behavior, even within the clearly defined boundaries of their plan for sexual sobriety, can usually find a way to do that. If you find yourself struggling with that, try to remember that the purpose of creating a sexual boundary plan is not to justify and rationalize problem behaviors (or even watered-down versions thereof), the purpose is to end sexual acting out and the incomprehensible demoralization it brings. If and when you remember this, your plan is more likely to stand up under real world pressures and triggers.

Be Flexible

Sexual boundary plans are not set in stone. In fact, most recovering sex addicts find that after a year or two (or even just a month or two) with a particular plan, their life circumstances change and they need to make adjustments. For instance, a married sex addict may get divorced and want to start dating, and that process will require amendments to the healthy boundaries set when he or she was married. That said, you should never change your sexual boundary plan on your own. Before changes are made, you should always consult your therapist, your 12-step sponsor, your accountability partner, and/or anyone else who understands your addiction and supports your recovery. Changing your boundary plan without this type of external input can and often does lead to a poor decision and, eventually, to a sex addiction relapse.

For more information about sexual addiction, check out my recently published books, Sex Addiction 101 and Sex Addiction 101, The Workbook. If you feel you need clinical assistance with sex addiction, therapist and treatment referrals can be found here and here. I also conduct an open-ended discussion about sex addiction at InTheRooms.com, Friday nights at 6 p.m. PST.

Author

Robert Weiss PhD, LCSW is Chief Clinical Officer of Seeking Integrity LLC, a unified group of online and real-world communities helping people to heal from intimacy disorders like compulsive sexual behavior and related drug abuse. As Chief Clinical Officer, Dr. Rob led the development and implementation of Seeking Integrity’s residential treatment programming and serves as an integral part of the treatment team. He is the author of ten books on sexuality, technology, and intimate relationships, including Sex Addiction 101, Out of the Doghouse, and Prodependence. His Sex, Love, and Addiction Podcast is currently in the Top 10 of US Addiction-Health Podcasts. Dr. Rob hosts a no-cost weekly Sex and Intimacy Q&A on Seeking Integrity’s self-help website, SexandRelationshipHealing.com (@SexandHealing). The Sex and Relationship Healing website provides free information for addicts, partners of addicts, and therapists dealing with sex addiction, porn addiction, and substance abuse issues. Dr. Rob can be contacted via Seeking Integrity.com and SexandRelationshipHealing.com. All his writing is available on Amazon, while he can also be found on Twitter (@RobWeissMSW), on LinkedIn (Robert Weiss LCSW), and on Facebook (Rob Weiss MSW).

Write A Comment

Considering Recovery? Talk to a Treatment Specialist:Considering Recovery? Talk to a Treatment Specialist:888-401-1241Response time about 1 min | Response rate 100%
Who Answers?