Earlier this year, Rob Weiss’s excellent book about sexual addiction, Sex Addiction 101: A Basic Guide to Healing from Sex, Porn, and Love Addiction was published. Without doubt, it was the most accurate, up-to-date, understandable, and informative book ever written about sex addiction, easily supplanting all others as the “go to” read for recovering sex and love addicts. The book’s lone shortcoming is that it does not provide readers with guided exercises to assist them in their recovery. Happily, Weiss has just published an accompanying volume to address this issue, Sex Addiction 101, The Workbook: 24 Proven Exercises to Guide Sex Addiction Recovery.
This new workbook definitely lives up to its billing. As a recovering sex addict with almost 15 years of sobriety, I can tell you that I really wish this book was available when I started on my path to recovery. Sure, I did a few of these exercises in treatment, and some really great sponsors walked me through a few others, and working the 12 steps helped me a lot. But for the most part my recovery has been haphazard, catch as catch can. So now, to suddenly see all of the exercises I’ve ever done and a whole bunch of other really great tasks in a single, user friendly package? I’m blown away.
For simplicity and clarity, Weiss has separated the 24 exercises into five basic sections, each dealing with a specific phase of recovery.
- Section one gets newly recovering sex addicts started, helping them understand what sex addiction is, and to develop a plan for sexual sobriety.
- Section two helps sex addicts understand the various facets and nuances of their addiction—triggers, denial, escalation, and the like.
- Section three focuses on relapse prevention, in particular the development of coping skills that can help recovering sex addicts stay sober not just today, but forever.
- Section four starts addicts on the “next step of healing” by identifying and addressing the underlying issues that drive their addictive behaviors.
- Section five addresses life in sobriety, including dating and developing a happier, more well-rounded life.
I am particularly pleased with the final section, with exercises that will help recovering sex addicts enjoy their lives. In my experience, this is an aspect of sexual recovery that is often overlooked. It is also my experience that people who are not enjoying themselves are significantly more likely to relapse, so I think it is great of Weiss to include these very important but typically undervalued exercises.
In the author’s preface, Weiss writes:
This workbook is built on research-based addiction treatment methods and more than twenty years of professional experience as a sex addiction treatment specialist. In other words, a whole lot of scientific knowledge and clinical experience has gone into this manual. In fact, over the years and in various forms the 24 updated and highly refined exercises included herein have helped thousands of men and women heal from sex, porn, and/or love addiction.
That’s pretty high self-praise, but I’m in total agreement with the assessment. Even though I’ve got many years of sobriety, I am working through this book, start to finish, and I expect to learn a lot about myself and my disease along the way. I’m also excited to use this book with my sponsees. Sometimes, as anyone who’s been a sponsor in a sexual recovery program knows, it can be really hard to guide a sponsee through the work of recovery. Its’ just difficult to know how to word things, and what exercises will be most beneficial at what time. Well, not any more. I can just use the explanations and exercises provided in this workbook.
This highly recommended workbook is available in both eBook and paperback editions. I bought both, to compare and contrast. The eBook is cheaper, at $9.95, but with it you’ll have to buy a notebook or create a document on your laptop to do the actual exercises. Meanwhile, the 8 x 10 paperback, at $19.95, offers space for you to write down your answers. I prefer the paperback, but those who are more digitally oriented might like the eBook better.