Are You a Love Addict? – Vicki Tidwell Palmer LCSW, CSAT

  Love addiction sounds like it might be a fun thing to have. But it isn’t. It’s a serious form of codependency where you place such a high value on a romantic partner (or more than one romantic partner) that your relationship with that person (or people) becomes all-consuming and the primary focus of your life. Basically, love addicts spend inordinate amounts of time obsessing, ruminating, and seeking information about the other person—to the detriment of their own life. Like other addicts, love addicts typically come from abusive, addictive, or otherwise dysfunctional homes. Usually, they experienced emotional neglect and/or abandonment by one or both parents. This experience of neglect or abandonment creates within them, as children, intense anxiety—mostly because children depend upon their parents for their very survival. This anxiety surrounding important relationships becomes ingrained over time, and is carried forward into adulthood, manifesting as codependency and/or love addiction, until… Continue reading

Sex Addiction Recovery: Creating a Sexual Boundary Plan – Robert Weiss LCSW, CSAT-S

In my previous posting to this site, I discussed the ways in which recovering sex addicts can best define sexual sobriety, noting first that lasting sexual sobriety does not involve long-term sexual abstinence, and next that it looks different for each recovering addict depending on his or her unique life circumstances and goals. Generally, recovering sex addicts create a written definition of what sexual sobriety looks like for them to ensure they fully understand which behaviors are and are not acceptable. After creating this written and highly individualized definition of sexual sobriety, addicts must then work to live out their new ideals. To this end, it is recommended that they also create a three-tiered Sexual Boundary Plan, with inner, middle, and outer boundaries that provide them with further and much more specific guidance than a simple definition of what does and does not constitute sexual sobriety. The Inner Boundary This… Continue reading

An In-depth review of “A Sober Mom’s Guide to Recovery – By Rosemary O’Connor. Love Relationships & Super Mom – Review By Jackie S.

Hello fellow travelers and welcome to the next installment of my review of Rosemary O’Connor’s book dealing with multiple issues facing moms in recovery, with a focus on taking care of both yourself and your children. This week my reading partner and I tackled two chapters. The first focused on the Love Relationship in recovery, especially in early recovery. The second chapter deals with a mother’s obsessive attempts to be Supermom, both before and during recovery. The primary theme of both chapters is that relationships can be very dysfunctional if we don’t work at them all the time. The primary automatic negative thought from both chapters that we have told ourselves throughout our lives is that we are not enough. Time to stop both dysfunctional behaviors. Rosemary begins her chapter on love relationships telling the story of relationships among people in early recovery. While there have been anecdotal instances of… Continue reading

Are You a Love Addict? – By Robert Weiss LCSW, CSAT-S

Ginny is a 30-year-old realtor. She says she dates constantly, but she can never seem to find the right partner. She says, “I’m online all the time. I’ve got profiles on every dating and hookup app that’s out there. I even joined JDate, even though I’m not Jewish. Honestly, if I meet the right guy, I’ll convert. And it’s not like I never meet anyone, because I do. And usually they seem great for a few weeks, but then the cracks start to show and I can hardly stand to be around them. So back I go, looking for love again and again, hoping that one of these guys will turn out to be as good as he seems when I first meet him.” Interestingly, even though Ginny’s many online profiles clearly state that she is seeking love and a long-term connection, she really isn’t. What she’s actually chasing is… Continue reading

Understanding How Sex and Love Addiction Escalate – Robert Weiss LCSW, CSAT-S

Addicts of all types typically experience an increasing tolerance to the mood-altering effects of their substance/behavior of choice. In simplest terms, this occurs because the brain adjusts to excessive dopamine levels (created by the repeated use of an addictive substance or behavior) by producing less dopamine and/or reducing the number of dopamine receptors in the brain. In other words, the brain develops a tolerance to addictive substances and behaviors. (I have written about the neurochemistry of addiction in easy to understand terms here.) Because of this, addicts must, over time, use more of or a more intense version of an addictive substance or behavior to get the same high they experienced when they first started. This, in a nutshell, is escalation. Usually this concept is easier to understand if we’re talking about a substance abuse issue, such as heroin addiction. Ask yourself: Does anyone shoot smack right out of the… Continue reading