Pleasure and Pain: Power and the Arousal Neuropathway (Part II)

In part I, we reconsidered the arousal neuropathway as the addictive neuropathways have been on our minds of late. We established that the sexual activities that activate the arousal neuropathway, which is about excitement, pleasure, and intensity, can include the exertion of power over another person.

Pleasure and Pain: Power and the Arousal Neuropathway (Part I)

In the last post, we considered the four addiction neuropathways—arousal, satiation or numbing, fantasy, and deprivation. If you missed it, we talked about how addicts tend to self-select the substance or compulsive behavior of choice (there’s usually a primary addiction, even if there are others present) based on how they want to alter their feelings.

Understanding the Addiction Neuropathways

In my previous post, we talked briefly about addiction interaction and how addictions can co-occur in different ways. As we saw, it’s crucial to understand addiction interaction disorder because it can pose a danger to recovery as the possibility of one addiction replacing another is very real.

 

Moreover, addictions can interact with one another at the same time in highly complex ways. So while is always critical to get help for the most life-threatening addiction first, it’s important to be thoroughly honest with oneself while in recovery about all of the addictions present in one’s life.

The Hidden Danger to Sex Addiction Recovery: Addiction Interaction

A few months ago in my last post, we saw that addicts will unconsciously gravitate toward their substances or compulsive behaviors of choice as a way to manage their emotional pain.

 

Everyone’s emotional pain is different, and people seek out substances or behaviors that will alter their states of mind in just the way they’re looking for.

 

The One Emotion Addicts Do Not Want to Feel

Why do addicts become addicted?

 

It’s an enormously complex question. We could answer this question in a number of different ways, couldn’t we?

 

From a neurobiological perspective, we could argue that addicts crave increasing amounts of the substance or behaviors to which they’re addicted in order to get more and more of a dopamine kick, the delicious chemical the brain releases when we do anything pleasurable.

The Double Life of a Christian Sex Addict

“When I was eight, the imposter, or false self, was born as a defense against pain. The imposter within whispered, ‘Brennan, don’t ever be your real self anymore because nobody likes you as you are. Invent a new self that everybody will admire and nobody will know.’ So I became a good boy—polite, well-mannered, unobtrusive, and deferential. I studied hard, scored excellent grades, won a scholarship in high school, and was stalked every waking moment by the terror of abandonment and the sense that nobody was there for me.”

– Brennan Manning, Abba’s Child

The Big Danger Christian Sex Addicts in Recovery Need to Watch Out For

Let me tell you a story about a man named Joe.

 

(Joe isn’t a real person. I made him up so I could tell you this entirely fictional story about him. But in a way, Joe is real enough, as you’ll see in a moment.)

 

Joe seems like a normal guy. He’s well-liked by his coworkers. He loves his wife and children. He hosts backyard barbecues in the summer on weekends for friends and family. His faith is important to him and he’s a respected leader in his church.

 

By all appearances, he’s an outstanding guy.

 

But Joe has a secret.

Is Couples Counseling the Right Treatment for Sex Addiction?

If you’re reading this, chances are that your relationship is in crisis. Maybe you’ve probably discovered your partner’s pornography stash, an affair, his texts with a prostitute, or his lurid emails with women (or men) he’s met online. Perhaps you found something else entirely, or your partner has told you about it because he got caught.

Why Your Sex Addiction Was Helpful

It sounds crazy, doesn’t it? How could sex addiction ever be helpful?

 

By definition, sex addiction is a pattern of unhealthy sexual behaviors that are out of control and that create chaos in the addict’s life.

 

As the illness progress, the addict’s pursuit of mood-altering sexual experiences becomes central to his or her existence and life becomes more and more unmanageable.

 

Helpful? Hardly. But because it’s progressive, sex addiction doesn’t start this way. To understand how sex or porn addiction could be helpful, we have to look at the stories that addicts usually tell.