Accepting The Choice In Sex Addiction

 

Choice is an amazing gift we have as humans.  Animals are ruled by instinct, while we get to choose between alternative desires.  

Whereas animals can adapt to their environment and outside controlled stimulus, we can intentionally choose our behavior.

Each day is filled with opportunities to exercise our will to decide how we are going to live our life.

So Many Choices

We literally make thousands of tiny decisions every hour of our day, and each of those decisions have positive and negative short term and long term affects and consequences.

For example, we make choices on:

  • Hitting the snooze button on the alarm
  • What we will wear
  • When we will eat, what we will eat, and how much we will eat
  • What emails we will return
  • Whether or not we call in sick to work
  • Telling people the truth about how our day is really going
  • Telling people what we really think of them

Think about all of the choices we have available to us at the grocery store, the mall, buying a car, listening to music, watching T.V., exploring the Internet, and the hobbies that we pursue.  

There are some things that we don’t get to choose:

  • When we are born
  • Where we are born
  • Who our parents will be 
  • Whether or not we are abandoned
  • Whether or not we are abused

While we don’t have a choice in the things that happen to us, we can choose to say, “yes” to anything, or “no” to anything that is presented to us.  

We are not limited to the hand that is dealt us in life, but, like in a game of poker, we can decide to throw our lousy hand in for a new one.  

The Choice Of Sexual Addiction

In my last blog, I pointed out that sexual addiction is not a result of a disease, but rather, choices we make in response to numbing our pain, or our search for pleasure.

In an article in Psychology Today, entitled, The Power Of Small Decisions, Dr. Heshmat describes the digression into addiction through the seemingly insignificant choices we make every day.

He contends that addiction is developed through a series of choices that are made every day.  

He states that,

No one would choose to be an addict. You don’t wake up one morning and decide to become an alcoholic, for example. One day of drug use does not mean addiction. As the days accumulate, the characteristics of addiction emerge.  Consequently, a person who never chose to be an addict ends up an addict. 

Accordingly, sexual addiction is really just a series of decisions that have led to unmanageable and harmful behavior.

The good news is that we can change the course of our choices to get better outcomes.

Sexual Addiction Happens One Choice At A Time

Dr. Heshmat also cites Dr. Howard Rachlin, a leader in the field of Behavioral Economics, and who developed the Primrose Path theory to explain the progression into compulsive unmanageable behavior.

The Primrose Path theory focuses on the initial stage of addiction through a series of incremental decisions with consequences that are not perceived by the individual until it is too late. 

In other words, people who become sexually addicted to deviant sexual behavior follow their impulses and urges for momentary pleasure without realizing they are creating compulsive habits that will be hard to choose against later.

In our “instant gratification” culture, it’s no wonder why we have so many “addicts”. 

The only way out of this compulsive addictive behavior is the same way we got into it — choose to make different choices that bring about wellbeing and wholehearted living.

Free To Choose

Michael Boyette, in an article for Forbes on The Power Of Choice, asserts that when people are given options they are much more receptive to requests and calls to action.

He cites a study in which the researcher, dressed as a homeless person, asked people for bus fare.  He received much more money from people passing by when he added the phrase, “But you are free to accept or refuse” to his request.

He asserts that the “but you are free” technique has been verified in dozens of other experiments, and that the exact wording wasn’t the deciding factor in people responding positively to their requests — it was the fact that they were empowered with choice.  

He ultimately discovered that what mattered most in the exchange was that the researcher recognized the other person’s freedom to say no, and that people respond better when they feel empowered to choose.

When we don’t think we have options, we feel trapped, living like victims of our circumstances, instead of empowered through our ability to choose.

When we know that we have options, we feel more powerful, and are more motivated in taking responsibility to make healthy choices to live in wellbeing.

How to make the best choices:

  • Decide what core values and beliefs are important to you before you are confronted with a choice.

  • Understand what internal and external needs and factors are driving unhealthy choices.

  • Have a plan for healthy choices when confronted with temptation and urges.
  • Let other people into your process, who will encourage you to following through with your choices.

We Have Options

We can only take responsibility for the outcome of our life to the degree that we take control of the choices we make in response to the options that are presented to us.

When it comes to compulsive sexual behavior, we not only have the ability to choose what we do, but have a responsibility to change unhealthy behavior.

The good news is that we can choose legitimate ways of meeting our legitimate needs.   

We can choose healthy sexual behavior over unhealthy, and freedom over bondage. 

It’s your choice — choose wisely!

Let us know how we can further assist you on your journey into wholehearted living.

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