Saturday, October 24, 2009

2009 Trainings

Now that the final training of 2009 is completed, I can rest! I must say, this has been a lot of fun for me. Although I have worked hard on writing/preparing, the positive feedback from the classes/trainings were very inspiring and motivating.

In 2009, I providing three professional trainings on Sexual Addiction: August 7th, September 25th, and November 13, 2009. Although the trainings were oriented for mental health practitioners seeking continuing education credits (CEU's), they were also designed to be informative for the general public. Topics included: signs and symptoms, behavior types, levels of addictions, demographics, gender differences, cross addictions, co-sex addiction, assessment, and treatment of individuals with compulsive sexual behaviors and/or sexual addictions.

The August 7, AATP, training was on "Compulsive Sexual Behavior and Sexual Addiction. It was at Christ Hospital in Oak Lawn IL was a great success. I received favorable feedback and plan to continue with the message: this is a very important topic to understand as well as an under-served and under-recognized population that needs help. AATP is a not-for-profit training academy established to provide professional continuing education for mental health practitioners. To contact AATP (click on this link or go to

On September 25 Arbor Counseling Center hosted a similar training, but only for three hours (3 CEU's). The training was at Indian Trails Public Library, 355 Schoenbeck Rd., Wheeling IL.

On November 13, Alexian Brothers Behavioral Center for Professional Education hosted 2 hour (2 CEU) training on Sexual Addictions: An Introduction. The training was posted on their websit:

I am anticipating further trainings in 2010. Some of the topics I am considering include: ADHD, Codpendency/Co-Addictions, and/or Treatment and Assessment of Sexual Addiction.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Signs of Sexual Addiction

Signs of Sexual Addiction (Based upon Patrick Carnes work)

1. Loss of Control
• Out of control sexual behavior predominates
• The addicts cannot control the extent, duration and regularity of his/her sexual behavior
• Behavior excesses continue despite clear signs of danger (consequences)
-- Compulsive masturbation
-- Compulsive pornography use
-- Chronic affairs
-- Exhibitionism: intrusive "flaunting/showing"
-- Dangerous sexual practices, i.e., asphyxiation
-- Prostitution
-- Anonymous sex (at porn shops, bars, etc.)
-- Voyeurism: intrusive "watching"

2. Continuation Despite Consequences
• Social Consequences
-- Loss of marriage/primary relationship, friendships and social networks
-- Problematic relationships with spouse, family and/or significant others
• Emotional Consequences
-- Depression, anxiety, fear, etc.
-- Suicidal thoughts, plans and/or attempts (70% have thought about it)
• Physical Consequences
-- Injury due to frequency and type of behaviors
-- Sexually-transmitted diseases
-- Unwanted pregnancies or abortions
-- Sleep disturbances
• Legal Consequences
-- Arrests for sexual crimes (voyeurism, lewd conduct, etc.),
-- Loss of job, licensure, and/or professional status
-- Sexual harassment charges
-- Fines, legal fees, probation, or incarceration
-- Being on the Sexual Offender Database
• Financial Consequences
-- Costs of pornography, prostitutes, and phone sex can cause financial hardships
-- Loss of productivity, creativity and/or employment
-- Loss of career opportunities
-- Bankruptcy

3. Efforts to Stop
• Repeated specific attempts to the behavior, which fail
• Even after multiple life changing consequences, the sex addict cannot stop -- Leads to further frustration, anger, shame and depression
-- Frustration fuels further episodes of addictive behavior)

4. Loss of Time
• Significant amounts of time lost doing and/or recovering from the behavior

5. Inability to Fulfill Obligations
• The behavior interferes with work, school, family, and friends
• High-risk behavior is continued despite responsibilities and expectations
• A pattern of broken promises and failures

6. Ongoing Desire or Effort to Limit Sexual Behavior
• Repeated but futile attempts to change, limit or stop addictive behavior
• Breaking promises to change, limit or stop behavior
• Cross Addictions: substituting or transferring another addiction to aid in stopping or controlling sexual cravings
-- Workaholism
-- Overeating
-- Alcohol abuse
-- Illegal and prescribed drug abuse
-- Compulsive gambling
-- Religious Addiction
-- Romance addiction

7. Preoccupation (Obsession about or because of behavior)
• Sexual obsession and fantasy as a primary coping strategy
• Elevated levels of arousal are used to cover up feelings
• Sex becomes a primary drug to numb, "medicate" and/or regulate emotions
• Sex is used to block out painful and unpleasant memories
• Euphoric Recall or "Sex in the head" maintains the fix whenever needed
-- Secretive mental images of past sexual acting out, which is used to sexually act out again
-- Its like having a personal collection of pornography to be used at any time

8. Escalation
• Amounts of behavior increase because the current levels no longer satiate cravings
-- Higher "dosages" are needed to get the same feeling/excitement.
-- Can cause self injury
• Masturbation to the point of injury
• Asphyxiation
-- Increased levels create victims

9. Severe mood changes around sexual activity
• Depression, anxiety, anger, and other mood/affective states can result from repeated failures to stop or control the
addictive behavior
• 70% described chronic feelings of depression
-- Other chronic mood or affective states include:
• Anxiety
• Guilt and shame
• Anger at self and others
• Hopelessness and despair (monitor suicidal ideations)
-- Mood changes may be "medicated" (hidden) through the use of other drugs or medications

10. Compulsive Behavior
• Sexual behavior that you want to stop but you can't
• A pattern of out of control behavior over time
• Sex becomes the organizing principal of daily life
• Everything revolves around it
-- On sexual obsessions and fantasizing
-- On planning next event
-- On sexual acting out (some spend 8 hours a night on the internet)
-- On covering up or making up for lost time
-- Addressing consequences of sexual behavior

11. Losses
• Losing, limiting, or sacrificing valued parts of life
-- Hobbies, family relationships, and work
-- Loss of important personal, social, occupational or recreational activities
-- Loss of friends and family (loss of relationships)
-- Loss of long-term relationships
-- Loss of talents, goals, and personal and professional aspirations

12. Withdrawal
• Stopping behavior causes considerable distress, anxiety, irritability, or physical discomfort.
• Usually lasts for about 14 days, but can be as long as 10 weeks
-- Insomnia
-- Headaches and/or body aches
-- High or low sexual arousal and/or genital sensitivity
-- Increased appetite for food
-- Chills, sweats, shakes and/or nausea
-- Rapid heartbeat and/or shortness of breath
-- Intrusive dreams
-- High level of anxiety and irritability
-- Emotional lability (roller coaster feelings)
• Some sex addicts with a chemical dependency report that withdrawals are worse for sex addiction than for drug/alcohol addictions

Friday, October 9, 2009

Online Articles

I have decided to get some of my written work published online. So far I am have my written work published on ,, and

I hope to get the word out about my passions to a broader audience.

Heaven (A Spiritual Poem)

Seven years ago I was asked by a friend if I was "religious and if I believed in God?" As a (formerly) practicing agnostic I quickly answered:"no." However, I defended myself by explaining that I lived my life according to universal principals of "right and wrong" (as I understood them). Because I believed that our deeds create a lasting effect on the world, I felt confident in my everlasting future. In other words, I wasn't worried about there being a heaven or not. I told my friend that when I die, I am banking on knowing that my impact on the world will be ever lasting. My "heaven" will ultimately be the creation of the the sum total of all my actions.

I will never forget my friend's response: he looked at me with glassy eyes, and told me how deeply spiritual I was. I didn't see it. It took five more years to see what he meant. Such was the inspiration of the following poem I wrote.

The pebble is worn smooth
Made small over time
A product of a cataclysmic force of nature
A fragment of mountainous sheets of rock
An accidental offspring of a boulder
But just a very small stone.

The pebble's place in our world
Is neither understood nor appreciated
But when thrown into a glassy calm pond
Its insignificance is transformed
Its meaning and purpose is unleashed.

The instant the pebble kisses the pond
Its signature of concentric ripples
Spiral outwards
Moving far beyond itself.
Gently affecting everything in its wake
Forever altering the smooth placid surface.
The pebble creates its worth and meaning
By unleashing its unimagined power 
Into a dueling force of action and reaction
Creating karmic energy
Producing lasting and fluid impressions.

Aren't we all pebbles?
Feeling small and insignificant
But ultimately recognizing
That who we are meant to be
Can never be measured in isolation
on a path into ourselves.

It is true then:
Our everlasting future
Is created by the indiscriminate tossing of pebbles
Into the pond of life
Creating ripples
that leave unique mark on our world
Not because of thoughts
not because of well meaning plans
But because of actions.

Our life's prayers our answered
Because even the smallest pebble
No matter how seemingly insignificant
Changes the course of the lives
Of those we touch. 

And when the icy winds of death
beckon our lasting attention
We will gently leave this life
With the knowledge that
because of that one pebble
The world will never be the same.

And then we have heaven …

Ross Rosenberg

"My Name is Roger (Ebert), and I'm an Alcoholic"

Seldom have I been so impressed with an article about someone's experience with alcoholism (addiction) as I was when I read Roger Ebert's article on his own struggles. Mr Ebert writes beautifully, masterfully, and with incredible insight about the disease of alcoholism. As an addiction specialist I have a vested interest in "getting the word out" about the insidious and destructive nature of addictions (chemical and process addictions). Mr. Ebert has always been a favorite movie reviewer of mine because I always sensed he understood the human condition, spoke fairly and sensitively about issues, and reserved judgment about movies from a place of sensitivity, openness, and kindness. When a man with Mr. Ebert's personal and professional qualifications speaks out, then I listen. Unfortunately, not enough people actually have access to this article. So here it is. I hope you appreciate it and are inspired by it as I much as me.

I welcome anyone's reactions or comments. Feel free to comment on my blog or email me at

My Name is Roger, and I am an Alcoholic
(click on title for the article)