Why Weekend Workshops Won’t Work For Sexual Addiction


Sexual addiction does not develop in an isolated event. The development of compulsive behavior happens over months, and even years.

Weekend workshops can be helpful in gaining insight into the problem of unmanageable sexual behavior, provide a motivational start to the process of change, and even give some tools for the development of a plan and strategy for treatment.

Mostly, these weekend workshops are religious oriented, high-energy environments, in which participants make vows to stop their detrimental sexual behavior. While it is important to commit to change, it is equally important to have a plan for long-term change.

Unmanageable detrimental sexual behavior doesn’t mature in a weekend, and it will take
more than a weekend to get free.

1. Changing Compulsive Habits Takes Time

According to studies done on changing habits, especially when they have become compulsive, it usually takes 60 – 90 days to effectively re-route the neurotransmitters towards positive, healthy, behavior.

In The Great Porn Experiment, a Ted Talk on overcoming the ill effects of porn use, Gary Wilson discusses how Dopamine and Delta Foss B combine to keep people hooked on porn. His research revealed that the brain must be re-trained over 60 to 90 days to
affect lasting change.

Caroline Leaf, in her book, Switch On Your Brain, offers a 21-day brain detox plan to change thinking habits that contribute to compulsive behavior. Once the brain detoxes from dysfunctional thinking patterns, a plan to rebuild new thinking patterns must be
employed, which can take 3 to 6 months of hard work.

The point is that compulsive behaviors are not just going to somehow leave in response to a vow we make at a weekend seminar to change our behavior. 

No, it is going to require effort and resources.

2. Changing Compulsive Habits Takes A Community

Porn and sex addictions lead to disconnection from community and into a secretive world of isolation. We need a community, however, to help us get free from unwanted and unmanageable detrimental sexual behavior.

In a Ted Talk entitled, Everything You Thought You Knew About Addiction Is Wrong, Johann Hari discusses the importance of community in the process of helping people get free from compulsive addictive behaviors.

He sites a study that was conducted in Portugal, in which heroin addicts were given opportunities to be adopted into families, as well as trained in a business career. They were also given a micro loan to start their own business after they were trained.

The study revealed that these heroin addicts not only embraced detox more readily, but also maintained sobriety.

Portugal once had the highest heroin addiction rates in the world, but because of their emphasis on community in the process of recovery, they have significantly curbed their national drug problem.

Unfortunately, when deviant sexual behavior is uncovered or revealed, the community tends to ostracize the person needing the help, leaving them even more isolated.

In order to change, and become healthy, however we need the support of a community.

A therapist and support groups can provide a sense of community in the beginning stages of recovery, when natural relationships may have been severed.

3. Changing Compulsive Habits Takes Commitment

When the consequences of our behavior become severe, we tend to get more desperate for change. Desperation is imperative for gaining momentum for change. This stage usually occurs in response to a crisis of some kind, often spurred on by getting caught acting out.

Once the crisis is over, however, the temptation is to think that the problem is solved.

The tendency at that point is to derail the change process, only to find the urges and
impulses returning, leading to more secretive acting out. Real change takes place over time, and is developed through long-term, intentional determination — Commitment.

Patrick Carnes, in his book, Out of the shadows, observes that the second 6 months of treatment is the most important in the process of recovery because that is when the guard is let down, and the plan for wellbeing is often abandoned.

Compulsive sexual behavior is ravaging our culture. Families are being destroyed in its wake, destinies run aground, and wellbeing evaporated from our lives. If we are serious about getting free from a porn or sex addiction, we must prepare for more than a informational weekend, in which we vow to never do it again.

How many times have you made that vow?

How about this time, making a vow to stay the course over time, utilize a trusted, caring community, and determine to work an effective program that propels you into freedom and wellbeing? Why not start today — even if you’re reading this on a weekend?

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