There are sex addiction recovery programs that promise or advertise an 80 percent or even a 98 percent success rate. However, be careful. I’m not sure how these programs define success. If you are still married but miserable, I do not define that as success. Some actually do have a high success rate in the short term, as they are shamed based and initially very motivational for the addict. [Read Sex Addiction & Intimacy Anorexia Treatment: A New Paradigm] I notify potential clients that their success rate depends on the percentage of effort they are willing to give. The success rate will most likely be congruent to the 100 percent or 10 percent effort that my clients give to the process. I define success as the following.
- The marriage is relationally, financially, spiritually and emotionally healthier than it was 3 to 5 years ago.
- Intimacy and communication outside the bedroom has improved.
- Intimacy and communication inside the bedroom has improved.
- Both partners have completed the 12 steps.
- Codependency has decreased or has been eliminated. Blaming one another has stopped, and both partners are OICA (obedient, intentional, consistent and accountable).
- Sobriety from his and/or her acting out has been greater than 1 year.
- Sobriety from his and/or her intimacy anorexia has greatly improved.
Rather than focus on what unsuccessful couples do, let’s focus on the 7 character traits of successful couples.
- They have been patient with one another. He has given her space and time to heal. He is no longer defending himself when she becomes angry but is able to validate her feelings regardless whether he agrees with her or not. In fact, she too is able to validate his feelings. She has been patient with him in his recovery from his sex addiction and/or intimacy anorexia. They have both displayed a great deal of grace toward one another.
- Both are willing to be vulnerable and honest with each other in regard to their wants, needs, emotions, temptations and struggles. With vulnerability comes a deepening of trust and love. They no longer allow their emotions to dictate how they act. They have learned to become friends again.
- They speak words of life and encouragement to one another. They no longer are speaking words of death and destruction. Prayer and God is a key part of their life.
- They have truly forgiven one another. As they have chosen to no longer accuse one another, they don’t bring up or relive the past. They are focused on the future and have a vision of what they want and where they are going.
- They serve others in their community, family and religious organization. They are no longer living the double life, as they share their story with people in their personal and professional life.
- They no longer take an offense toward one another in thought, word or behavior. They are no longer addicted to being offended.
- They have fun together and apart. They have moved from swinging between codependent intimacy anorexia and are now living in healthy interdependence.
Cory Schortzman is an author, speaker, teacher and licensed mental health professional. Since 2008, he has served as the Executive Director of Transformed Hearts Counseling Center in Colorado Springs, CO. He is the founder of SARA, the Sexual Addiction Recovery Association. Cory is passionate about helping couples and individuals overcome sex addiction. He is also passionate about bringing awareness to the public and supporting the elimination of sex and human trafficking. Cory has been married since 1998 to his beautiful wife, Kerry, and lives in Colorado with their four daughters. He and Kerry have been seen on the CBS Early Show, Inside Edition, and ABC Good Morning America, Fox 21 News, and TLC/Discovery discussing the harm of sex addiction and the joys of recovery. He has also been heard on numerous radio programs.
Cory’s books include: Out of the Darkness, Into the Light the Workbook, Into the Light the Steps, Ashes to Beauty the Steps, 301 Dating Ideas, 301 Conversational Ideas, 301 Ways to Say I Love You, 301 Ways to Love Your Children & 301 Recovery Tools & Tips.