- Paperback: 290 pages
- Publisher: Gentle Path Press (December 1, 2010)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0982650558
- ISBN-13: 978-0982650554
- Product Dimensions: 8 x 0.5 x 10 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 16 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #368,296 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Thirty Days to Hope & Freedom from Sexual Addiction: The Essential Guide to Daily Recovery Paperback – December 1, 2010
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Dr. Magness states at the outset that the book is NOT offering complete cure in 30 days, but is designed to start a "path of new behaviors" which, if persisted in, will lead to full recovery. This book sets out in a well-organized style very practical and useful tools that work for both diagnosing and intervening in the process of sexual addiction. There are also websites listed in the introduction which provide additional tools.
In addition to the wealth of practical help (e.g. two chapters on ways to handle intrusive thoughts) this book is formatted in a very user-friendly manner (e.g. short paragraphs, footnotes vs. endnotes, chapter titles on every page). As a therapist working primarily in the field of sexual addiction, I am excited about this new resource and am using it with my clients.
This is an excellent resource for everyone: The addict, the families of the addicts (one chapter is specifically addressed to the couple), and the professional. I recommend it without hesitation.
He provides two questions for an initial screening. "Have you ever been involved in sexual behavior that harmed you or someone else?" It is important to honestly recognize what constitutes "harm." Betrayal of trust and the trauma that causes is just as much harm as transmission of an STD, the loss of employment or opportunity. The second question is "Did you do it again?" (page 5). Chapter 4 "Get Educated" goes into more detail on characteristic symptoms indicating the presence of sexual addiction: Loss of Control, the Presence of Compulsive behavior, Efforts to Stop, Loss of Time, Preoccupation, Inability to fulfill obligations, Continuance in spite of negative consequences, Escalation, Losses, and Withdrawal. (pages 37-38). The second chapter discusses sexual addiction as generating isolation, dishonestly, secrecy, selfishness, denial, resistance, and procrastination. (pages 11- 18).
Dr. Magnus observes that sexual addiction is not just a matter applying a label to behavior, but "a true addiction involving naturally occurring chemicals in our brains called neurotransmitters." (Page 38.) Technically, he explains it is a disease, though he takes pains to point out that no one should use that label as an excuse, as a "get out of jail free" pass. (page 2). Rather, it should awaken the individual to both the seriousness of the situation, and the responsibility to adopt proven, helpful treatments, practices, introspection, 12 step involvement, and daily commitments.
So where does the hope and freedom come from? Dr. Magnus intersperses diagnostic chapters with treatment chapters, with treatment including things to do as well as not to do. He includes an extensive listing of 12 Step groups such as SA, SAA, SLA, and others, including contact information, and the character of each. He discusses how to choose a therapist, how to choose a sponsor. He provides advice for getting rid of stashes, dangerous contacts, limiting access and increasing accountability. He recommends positive activities to engender healing and connection for individuals and couples. He provides a worksheet for tracking daily recover activities, based on his experience in seeing that slips and relapses do not happen out of the blue, but always in connection with a slackening of efforts, over confidence, or deliberate boundary testing. He provides a recovery tracker for those who'd like to use such a tool. Some chapters discuss therapeutic tasks for sexual addicts, for looking at their histories as a means to better understand their triggers, and how to better respond to such threats to sobriety. The book does not try to be an end, but a beginning, pointing to many other resources available to those serious about recovery.
The promise not for a cure in 30 days, but that by committing to doing whatever it takes, to adopt a recovery lifestyle, one can begin to experience both hope and freedom. He shows the long term prognosis for those who commit and follow through, passing through predictable phases of survival, sustaining, sustaining, then freedom. I've been using these tools, ranging from 12 step meetings, to daily calls to a sponsor, techniques for guarding thoughts, spiritual activity, therapist, a three day intensive, and polygraph. The result has been that one of the men I'm sponsoring asked me to help him because he looked at the obvious changes in my life, and told me, "I want what you have."
~A Sex Addiction Therapist in Boulder, Colorado