Anger is one of the hardest emotions to deal with in recovery and can often be a factor that leads to relapse if left unchecked. What most people don’t realize is that anger is often what is referred to as a “secondary emotion” – it’s simply a reaction to another primary emotion. Looking at the chain of events that occurs when a person becomes angry can help in identifying the primary emotion that is being felt.
People usually become angry in response to some sort of threat. This threat can be toward the physical body (as in a fist fight), a threat to personal property (like in a car accident), a threat to self-esteem (name calling), a threat to beliefs or values (a difference of opinion in terms of what is right or just), or a threat of not getting what one wants.
Once a person has perceived a situation as a threat, the next event that occurs in the chain reaction of anger is the body’s physical response to the feeling of anger. Typical physical responses to anger include increased heart rate and blood pressure, a clenched jaw and/or fists, shortness or quickening of breath, and the face turning red.
The way in which the threatening event is interpreted leads to further feelings of anger. This stage of the anger chain consists of cognitive distortions that lead a person to jump to conclusions about a situation that can be inaccurate. For example, if someone were to bump into you at the grocery store, and you thought to yourself “Oh, he didn’t mean to do that, he accidentally bumped in to me,” you would not likely become angry. If you instead thought “That guy meant to bump into me, he clearly saw me standing here, and he is trying to start trouble,” your perception of the situation would then further your feelings of anger.
If anger is left unchecked, it is at this point that a person usually decides to act on their feelings of anger. Acting out behaviors can include name calling, physical altercations, yelling, threatening the other person, etc. In order for a person to successfully manage issues with anger, the chain of events must be broken before this stage is reached.
Finally, after the anger episode is over, the person has the opportunity to reflect on how the situation could have been handled differently. This is a key part of anger management, as this allows a person to come up with healthier alternatives to anger the next time a threat is perceived. The earlier the chain of events that occurs when a person becomes angry is broken, the easier it will be for the person to react differently and make a better choice. This is very important in recovery, as anger is a very common relapse trigger. If not managed in a healthy way, anger can tempt a person in recovery to alleviate these feelings by using drugs and alcohol.
Managing anger is a lot like creating a relapse prevention plan. The first step is to identify the triggers to anger, and work to uncover the true emotion that is hiding behind the mask of anger. Once the true emotion is identified, feelings of anger can be alleviated by focusing on deep breathing, progressive muscle relaxation, or even by doing something as simple as taking a walk or a hot shower. Managing anger in a healthy way can also help a person in recovery to communicate with others more effectively and develop patience and tolerance.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )
Do you bite your nails? For 30 years, I did. We nail biters can be “pathological groomers” — people for whom normal grooming behaviors, like skin picking or hair pulling, have become virtually uncontrollable.
But psychiatry is changing the way it thinks about pathological grooming, and these changes will be reflected in the American Psychiatric Association’s DSM, short for Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. A new version is coming out early next year, and it puts pathological grooming in the same category as another disorder you’ve probably heard of: obsessive compulsive disorder, or OCD.
This rethinking gives pathological groomers some new ways to think about those behaviors.
I can tell you the exact moment I became a nail biter. I was 6 years old, watching my mom get dressed for work. She paused to mull something over, chewing on a nail. My reaction: “How cool! How grown-up! I think I’ll try it.”
I never stopped. It was embarrassing — like wearing your neuroses on your sleeve. At parties, I learned to wrap my fingers all the way around my wine glass, so that my nails faced my chest. I hated filling out forms in public places.
Recently, something happened that made me finally quit biting my nails. I’ll get to that in a bit. But I was feeling quite pleased with myself when I showed them to Carol Mathews, a psychiatrist at the University of California, San Francisco. “Your cuticles are pushed back. It’s not bad. Looks like you’re a recovered nail biter is what I’d say,” she pointed out.
“They are behaviors that stem from normal grooming — the kind of thing that most animals do and is evolutionarily adaptive, right?” says Mathews.
But in pathological groomers, those behaviors go haywire. Instead of being triggered by, say, a hangnail, the pathological nail biter is triggered by driving, reading or feeling stressed out. “After a while, the behavior becomes untriggered,” says Mathews. “It becomes just an automatic behavior that has no relationship to external stimuli at all.”
Until recently, the DSM treated pathological grooming a bit like an afterthought and put it in a catch-all category called “not otherwise classified.” But the new DSM proposes to lump together pathological groomers and those with mental disorders like OCD. That includes people who wash their hands compulsively or have to line up their shoes a certain way.
These behaviors have a lot in common. In both cases, it’s taking a behavior that’s normal and healthy and putting it into overdrive, doing it to the point of being excessive. But in at least one way, OCD and pathological grooming are also very different.
“In OCD, the compulsion is really unwanted,” says Mathews. People with OCD don’t want to be washing their hands or checking the stove over and over again. There is no fun in it. There’s fear — fear that if they don’t do something, something else that’s very bad will happen to them.
But from her pathological grooming patients, Mathews hears a very different story: They enjoy it. “It’s rewarding. It feels good. When you get the right nail, it feels good. It’s kind of a funny sense of reward, but it’s a reward,” she says.
I can relate to that. And in my household, I’m not the only one. My daughter Cora is 3, and she’s why I decided to quit. I didn’t want Cora to learn to bite from me, the same way I learned from my mom. So for three months, I wore acrylic fingernails and spent many long hours at the manicurist maintaining them.
And it worked. I lost the urge. But apparently, it was too late.
“I don’t want to put my fingers in my mouth. I just [do] it even though I don’t want to,” Cora explained to me. But was she just mimicking me, or was there something else going on — something deep and strong enough to make nail biters out of at least four generations of women in my family, including my grandmother?
That’s where Francis Lee, a psychiatrist and neuroscientist at Weill Cornell Medical College in New York, comes in. A few years ago, a colleague came to Lee with a mystery: A mouse — bred with a specific gene mutation — was behaving very oddly. “I was dumbstruck,” recalls Lee. “It was just repetitively moving its front paws over its eyes and ears,” — a behavior he instantly recognized from studying people.
Mice bred with this mutation groom so much, they give themselves bald spots. “They’ve removed the hair around their eyes, they actually look like they have little white rings around their eyes,” says Lee.
In these mice, the genome is destiny. Every mouse that has this particular mutation — even if it’s separated from its mother early on — eventually will become a pathological groomer. And the grooming isn’t all. Lee says these are some of the most anxious mice he’s ever seen. He even said to his colleague at the time, “That is one crazy mouse.”
People, of course, are a lot more complicated. There are some genetic mutations that seem to crop up in people with OCD and in people who groom pathologically. But just because you have the mutation doesn’t mean you get the behavior.
In fact, with OCD, it’s more likely you won’t, says Mathews. “As genetically determined as OCD is, the risk to a family member for someone who has OCD is only 20 percent. So it’s 80 percent chance of not getting it,” she says.
Which brings me back to my own crazy mouse.
As a parent, there are ways I could lower the chances that Cora will grow into a biter. When Mathews works with young kids, she does things like put Band-Aids on their fingers to help them notice when they’re biting or pulling. Then she sets up reward systems to try to steer them away from the behavior.
I’d already started to do a clumsier version of this, gently batting Cora’s hand away from her mouth whenever she started to bite. But it had come at a price, one I wasn’t entirely comfortable with. I had to decide what was worse: making Cora feel bad about herself for something she couldn’t help, or just letting her grow into a nail biter, which, while certainly not the worst thing in the world, had given me some grief.
Tracy Foose, a psychiatrist in San Francisco who specializes in anxiety disorders, seemed to offer a third option. She bites her nails, and, like me, she has a 3-year-old daughter. Foose has a whole different take on it — probably a much better one. Nail biting is just part of who she is. She’s even proud of it. “You know, my mom bites her nails. She was an artist. So, I think I associate it with being cool and being older and working on something important,” she says.
During her residency, Foose met a patient at the ER one night. “A lovely, middle-aged mother of several kids who came in and looked scared out of her wits,” she recalls. This woman had become fixated on a perceived blemish on her face. “She had picked at her cheek to a level where she was bleeding profusely,” says Foose.
It was dermatillomania, to be specific.
“She truly could not control herself, despite the pain that it was causing, despite the disfigurement. And nail biting sort of forever fell off my radar,” says Foose.
Nail biting is not life threatening. On the scale of human failings, it barely lifts the needle. It’s not to say Cora wouldn’t be better off not biting her nails. But, says Foose, there may be a better way to talk about it. Just as Foose had removed the stigma and guilt for herself, maybe I could do that for my daughter.
“You can go to the place of giving kids information. Like, ‘Oh, I see you biting your nails. Mommy bites her nails, too. You know why we shouldn’t bite our nails? Because there are germs that live under our nails,’ ” explains Foose.
A way that frames it, in other words, as a choice. One that’s hers to make — even if it takes having her own kids one day to make it.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )
Like a compulsive crack user desperately sucking on a broken pipe, we can’t get enough of addiction. We got hooked on the concept a few centuries back, originally to describe the compulsive intake of alcohol and, later, the excessive use of drugs like heroin and cocaine. Now it seems like we’re using it every chance we can get—applying the concept to any behavior that seems troublesome or ill-advised. Take overuse of technology, for example: Over the summer, a flurry of media reports touted the services of the RESTART clinic in Washington state—apparently the first “Internet addiction” recovery center in the United States. For $15,000, you can enroll in a 45-day course designed to rid you of a dangerous or unhealthy fascination with, say, the online role-playing game World of Warcraft. So-called Internet addiction is just one of many new behavioral addictions to break into the mainstream: there’s also shopping addiction, sex addiction, eating addiction, love addiction, and others.
This creeping medicalization of everyday life means that almost any problem of excess can now be portrayed as an individual falling foul of a major mental illness. While drug addiction is a serious concern and a well-researched condition, many of the new behavioral addictions lack even the most basic foundations of scientific reliability. In light of Tiger Woods’ extramarital trysts, “sex addiction” has been widely touted by the global media despite the fact it lacks official recognition and scientific support. Perhaps the most widely publicized of these new diagnoses, Internet addiction, is flawed even on its own terms: A 2009 study published in the journal CyberPsychology and Behavior revealed that it has been classified in numerous, inconsistent ways in published research. Most studies of the “disorder” rely on self-selecting samples of college computer users and are otherwise subject to significant bias.
Despite the scientific implausibility of the same disease—addiction—underlying both damaging heroin use and overenthusiasm for World of Warcraft, the concept has run wild in the popular imagination. Our enthusiasm for labeling new forms of addictions seems to have arisen from a perfect storm of pop medicine, pseudo-neuroscience, and misplaced sympathy for the miserable.
You might assume that we’ve always known about addiction, but it’s a relatively recent idea—and one that has almost always been championed by people with a political and moral agenda. The modern concept was invented in the 18th century by physician Benjamin Rush, who, with his fellow temperance campaigners, promoted it as an explanation for, and warning against, the dangers of the demon drink. In this early formulation, the booze itself caused a “disease of the will.”
Later, the theory of “degeneracy” became popular among medical men with the assumption that mental illness could be explained by an inherited tendency to be mentally defective and socially disadvantaged. The devastating effects of alcohol on supposedly inferior native people led colony psychiatrists in the 19th century to conclude that the two conditions—drunkenness and degeneracy—went hand in hand. Slowly the concept of addiction began to shift from poisonous drugs to a biological weakness among certain people. Addicts were to be pitied but not blamed. “Degeneration,” along with eugenics, died a long-overdue death in the 1950s, but the idea that addiction is a vulnerability that exists before someone has even taken his first hit lives on. It seems to have reached its pinnacle in 2004, when a report from the World Health Organization called substance dependence “as much a disorder of the brain as any other neurological or psychiatric illness.”
This reframing of addiction carries its own risks. We know that describing a problem solely from a medical perspective changes how we understand it, which may explain why addiction has become such a popular label for human troubles. Recent work by psychologist Meredith Young and colleagues at McMaster University in Canada has shown that if we replace a common name for an illness with a medical term—pharyngitis for sore throat, e.g.—people tend to perceive the illness as being more serious. Several other studies have found that when mental disorders are described solely in biological terms, those with the diagnosis are perceived as having less control over their actions. This approach aims to be sympathetic to sufferers—but it may come at the cost of portraying the miserable as slaves to their damaged brains.
The idea that all these behavioral problems can be reduced to brain chemistry is also linked to a vacuous piece of pseudo-neuroscience. According to many popular discussions of the topic, dopamine equals addiction. That fallacy is often touted by mental health professionals as a substantive explanation when it is nothing of the sort. The popular myth goes something like this: Dopamine levels increase when we do something pleasurable, and this is what causes the addiction. When anyone wants to convince you that something should really count as an addiction, they’ll quote the fact that it “raises dopamine levels.”
The myth does have some basis in fact: We know that dopamine is involved in pleasure and desire, and that drug addiction causes long-term changes to the dopamine system that likely weaken our impulse control and draw our attention to reminders of drugs and drug-taking. There are subtle but important differences between these two statements, though. The former refers to an instant reaction to any pleasurable activity, while the latter indicates a possibly permanent change in how the brain reacts to the world owing to the use of substances which artificially alter it. There’s no direct one-to-one relationship between dopamine and addiction, and knowing that this particular brain chemical is released during an activity predicts nothing about how problematic the activity might be. As the dopamine system starts working when we encounter anything pleasurable, the popular myth would suggest everything we like could be addictive: reading books, scratching an itch, building model steamships out of matchsticks, whatever floats your boat. A recent article on extended and unresolved grieving for the New York Times cited a study on how dopamine is released when affected people looked at a picture of their late family member, suggesting that even thoughts of the deceased could be addictive.
The fact that the dopamine fallacy is used to prop up our dubious assumptions rather than test them can be seen in how some pleasurable, repetitive, and likely dopamine-fueled behaviors are never described as an addiction. A study by psychologists Kirk Wakefield and Daniel Wann found that while most sports fans are well-adjusted, others are preoccupied with their fandom, excessively motivated to follow their team, and abusive in response to outcomes on the field. What’s more, sports fandom has a clear and well-researched link to violence, social disorder, and alcohol abuse. But despite the fact that following a sports team could have serious personal and social consequences, and seems to fulfill all the criteria for a diagnosis of behavioral addiction, it is never considered as such. Being a fan of an online computer game, however, can get you placed in an expensive private clinic for “addiction therapy.”
Currently, we are concerned about young people using the Internet, eating too much, spending irresponsibly, and being promiscuous, and these worries are being expressed in the language of addiction. The medical terminology helps us to believe we’re avoiding moralization or blame, and popular science has given us a sound bite of pseudo-neurology to support our prejudices. For these problems, addiction is little more than a fig leaf for a realistic understanding that would address why people return to unhelpful ways of coping with isolation, stress, and depression. Instead, we prefer to rely on a trite and unhelpful catch-all label that prevents people from getting appropriate help for their difficulties. We need to break the addiction habit, before it breaks us.
Teens in early recovery are extremely vulnerable to relapse. It can be hard to understand why a teenager would work so hard to achieve sobriety only to fall back into drug use−but that’s the power of addiction.
Studies suggest that between 50 percent and 90 percent of addicts relapse at least once in the first four years of sobriety, and most relapse many times. Triggers for relapse can be as mundane as hearing a certain song on the radio or as significant as hanging out with friends from the old drug crowd.
Although relapse is considered normal and predictable, knowing the common triggers for relapse and having an action plan can help teens and their families guard against any slip-ups. Here are a few common relapse triggers to watch out for:
1. Being in social situations or places where drugs are available
Unless teens remain on guard, their thoughts will likely turn back to old behavior patterns when they are around the people or places associated with their past drug use. Old friends who still use drugs will use peer pressure, teasing and subtle manipulation to get a teen in early recovery to return to their “fun” old self. These friends may not be ready to confront their own drug use and will not respond positively to someone who questions their habit or forces them to take a look at their own behavior.
Each adolescent has their own set of high-risk friends, places and situations that they must sacrifice for the sake of their sobriety. In drug rehab, teens can practice ways to cope with those triggers, make new friends who don’t use drugs and find sober activities they can enjoy.
After maintaining their sobriety for a time, many teens want to “test” their willpower by going back to certain places or social situations. This can be risky and seldom makes teens feel more secure in their recovery.
2. Being socially isolated
While it’s risky to stay in touch with old friends who use drugs, it’s equally risky to be socially isolated. Teens in early recovery need to closely follow the relapse prevention plan they created during drug rehab. This plan likely includes attending 12-Step meetings and therapy sessions to get support from other people in recovery and to have someone they can go to when the urge to use arises. Without this support system, teens start to feel alone in their struggles, which may make them want to start using again.
3. Being around drugs or using any mood-altering substance
Being around drugs of any kind can trigger a craving to use. Even the sight, smell or sounds associated with a drug can bring back memories of the way drugs made the teen feel, as well as an overwhelming desire to use again. Most teens in early recovery will need to get rid of all paraphernalia, photos or any other item related to drugs or alcohol in order to avoid temptation.
A common pitfall for teens is thinking they can use drugs, as long as they avoid what used to be their drug of choice. So if they were hooked on painkillers, they figure it’s safe to drink alcohol. The reality is that addiction to one drug easily transfers to another drug (and even other compulsive behaviors like video game addiction, gambling and spending). If a teen has abused drugs before, they will likely need to abstain from all mood-altering substances for the rest of their life.
Many teens first start using drugs to cope with stress brought on by school, relationships or home life. Although adolescents learn new coping skills in drug rehab, it is common to revert back to old methods when life gets tough.
Before drug rehab, when conflicts arose, drugs or alcohol would allow the teen to escape the situation. Now, the teen must practice new ways of coping, such as taking a walk, calling a friend, journaling or some other form of healthy expression.
Establishing a daily routine, including getting up at a certain time or joining a club that meets regularly, may help teens maintain a sense of control in their lives. While predictability can help, teens will eventually have to learn to accept that they cannot control everything.
Self-confidence and an optimistic outlook are protective factors against relapse, but over-confidence is one of the most common reasons for relapse. The 12-Step principles remind teens that humility and an admission of powerlessness over addiction are essential for lasting recovery. But after staying sober for a period of time, some teens are so proud of their accomplishments that they don’t think they need to follow their relapse prevention plan anymore. They stop attending meetings and become less vigilant in monitoring their emotions and cravings.
A close cousin to over-confidence is complacency. Some teens in early recovery start to take their sobriety for granted. They become complacent, assuming if they’ve been able to maintain their sobriety for a certain amount of time, they no longer need to monitor their mental state, attend meetings or follow their relapse prevention plan with the commitment they started with.
In many cases, teens begin to wonder if they can use only occasionally or have just one drink without returning to their addiction. They want to prove to family and friends that they no longer have a problem. Unfortunately, complacency often leads to relapse.
7. Mental or physical illness or pain
Addiction frequently goes hand in hand with mental illnesses such as depression and anxiety. Something that aggravates an underlying mental illness can also trigger the desire to use drugs or alcohol. Teens with co-occurring disorders require dual diagnosis treatment that addresses both their substance abuse and psychiatric illness. After formal treatment ends, they also need to carefully monitor their state of mind through journaling, therapy and other forms of self-reflection.
Physical illness is also problematic, particularly if a doctor prescribes painkillers or other drugs as a form of pain management. Teens who self-medicate a mental or physical illness may find themselves becoming dependent on drugs of relief. For this reason, self-care is essential. A healthy diet, exercise and adequate sleep will help guard against exhaustion and physical illness.
Though it may seem counter-intuitive, positive life events and emotions can also trigger relapse. For example, getting straight A’s, falling in love or getting into a good college could be cause for celebration and reignite the desire to use drugs.
8. Reminiscing about drug use or telling “war stories”
If an adolescent spends time thinking obsessively about how it felt to be high or telling “war stories” to friends about past drug use, this is an indication that relapse is imminent.
Without drugs, many teens in recovery don’t know what to do with their free time. A bored teen is a teen who is asking for trouble. Drugs are exciting; there are other activities and hobbies that are equally thrilling without the high level of risk. Teens can get involved in rock climbing, white water rafting, or some other adventure sport. They can also keep busy with school activities, clubs, sports, exercise or hanging out with sober friends.
We all want life to go out way, but even the most fortunate among us won’t always get what we want. Many teens fall into the trap of self-pity; feeling impatient that recovery isn’t happening fast enough, wondering why they have to deal with addiction and rehab, and questioning why other people can go out for a drink with friends and they can’t. They begin to feel entitled to have a drink or use drugs because they’ve been sober and worked so hard.
Though it isn’t fair, this is the reality of addiction. It’s better to accept the good and bad life deals rather than feeling like a victim.
Relapse doesn’t mean drug rehab was a waste of time or money, or that a teenager is a failure. Rather, experts now view relapse as a valuable learning experience that brings an adolescent one step closer to lasting recovery.
Parents can support their teen in early recovery by taking the following steps:
- Don’t keep alcohol, tobacco or other drugs in your home. Safeguard your prescription drugs and over-the-counter medications by locking them in a medicine cabinet and disposing of them properly when you no longer need them.
- Offer praise and encouragement when your teen attends 12-Step meetings or therapy sessions, follows their relapse prevention plan or get through a difficult situation without using.
- Support your teen if they relapse and get them back into treatment rather than blaming, nagging, or judging them. At the same time, avoid enabling their addiction by refusing to make excuses or cover for your child.
- Encourage your teen to befriend teens who don’t use drugs and to get involved with hobbies, activities or work that appeal to them.
- Talk openly with your teen about how they are feeling, and if either of you senses the threat of relapse, get help right away.
- Make sure your teen isn’t overbooked or dealing with excessive stress.
- Take care of yourself by speaking with a therapist, attending Al-Anon meetings, joining a support group or taking time for the things you enjoy.
Although teens in early recovery may relapse, substance abuse treatment helps them get back on track before they make a full return to their old drug-abusing lifestyle.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )
When the topic of video game addiction comes up, most people immediately picture a 13-year-old boy absorbed in his Sony PlayStation or Xbox. But gaming addiction also affects adults. From the executive to the stay-at-home mom, the compulsive use of video, computer, and Internet games causes thousands of adults to ignore important work and family obligations.
Many adults feel overwhelmed by their responsibilities. These days, it’s not hard to understand why. Adults are frequently called upon to balance demanding jobs, the needs of spouses and children, and problems with ailing parents or friends in crisis. Everyone needs time to relax, unwind, and take their minds off real life.
This is where video and computer games come in. For most adults, the occasional car chase or celebrity boxing match in a video game can relieve stress and provide an hour of light entertainment. But those who begin to play video games excessively may become so engrossed in the virtual fantasy world that they shirk their responsibilities and other interests. Here are a few red flags that may point to a bigger problem:
- Lying about how much time you spend playing computer or video games
- Playing computer or video games results in intense feelings of pleasure or guilt that seem uncontrollable
- Spending more and more time playing video or computer games to get the same enjoyment
- Withdrawing from friends, family, or your spouse to the point of disrupting family, social, or work life
- Experiencing feelings of anger, depression, moodiness, anxiety, or restlessness when you’re not gaming
- Spending significant sums of money for online services, computer upgrades, or gaming systems
- Thinking obsessively about being on the computer or playing video games even when doing other things
In addition, adults addicted to gaming may have physical symptoms like difficulty sleeping, migraines, back and neck aches, dry eyes, or carpal tunnel syndrome. Video game addicts also may become so preoccupied with earning the high score or reaching the next level that they forget to eat, shower, shave, or take care of basic hygiene. If you are concerned that someone you know may be struggling with video or computer game addiction, the following are a few warning signs you may notice at home or at work.
One of the first people to notice compulsive computer or video game play is the addict’s spouse. Close friends and family members may be affected as well. When a video game addict spends more time playing games than playing with the kids or talking to his spouse, marital and relational problems frequently follow. In addition to ignoring friends and family, the gaming addict may neglect household responsibilities and chores in favor of “screen time,” and may lie to family members to avoid admitting he has a problem.
When a person is hooked on computer and video games, her work performance often suffers. In many cases, the gamer has stayed up all night playing games like “World of Warcraft” or “Everquest,” and is too tired to complete her daily tasks. Her boss may find her asleep on the job or failing to complete assignments on time, which could result in disciplinary action or even termination. What’s worse, some video game addicts will go so far as to play games during work hours, using company computers and equipment. Even when their lives are crumbling around them, gaming addicts put video and computer games above all else.
As an adult, you may not have parents or other authority figures monitoring your behavior. If you notice some of these red flags in your own life, it is up to you to get help. If you have noticed any of these warning signs in a friend, family member, or colleague, lend your support and share your knowledge. There are dozens of counseling and treatment options available for those dealing with compulsive behaviors like video game addiction.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( 1 so far )
Healthy sexual behavior recognizes one’s need to explore their sexuality within a positive manner in an affirming environment. This occurs when some one has a good understanding of their sexual values, preferences, attractions, history, and behaviors. People have developed a realistic and positive body image. For many in the LGBT community that has meant shedding the shame and guilt associated with sexual thoughts and desired intimacy that is not heterosexual in nature. Positive sexuality is when someone has the ability to get and give sexual pleasure while setting sexual boundaries.
Sexual compulsivity is the inability to control one’s sexual behavior and thinking. Out-of-control sexual behavior often continues in spite of tremendous consequences, including damaged relationships, loss of self-esteem, sexually transmitted diseases, financial and/or legal problems.
Signs of sex addiction/compulsive sexual behavior can include:
- Multiple and/or anonymous sexual partners, and/or frequent one-night stands when you don’t want to this behavior
- Sexual behavior that frequently accompanies drug or alcohol abuse
- Sexual behavior that includes risk-taking, unsafe sex and/or potential exposure to sexually transmitted diseases
- Obsessive use of pornography, phone-sex services, or pornographic web sites
- Obsession with and sexual harassment of another person
- Severe mood changes surrounding sexual activity
- Neglect of relationships, work or other responsibilities as a result of thinking about or pursuing sex
- A sense that sexual behavior is “out of control,” and an on-going desire to control or limit sexual behavior
Love addiction is often perceived to be “less serious” than other process addictions i.e. compulsive sexual addictions, eating disorders or self-harm / mutilation addictions. In reality it is extremely painful and can be very dangerous to both the addict and their partners. Our culture has traditionally glorified love addiction with the notion that we fall in love and live “happily ever after.” This ignores the groundwork that relationships require.
Signs of Love Addiction:
- Compartmentalization of relationships from other areas of life
- Mistake intensity for intimacy (drama driven relationships)
- Seek to avoid rejection and abandonment at any cost
- Afraid to trust anyone in a relationship
- Highly manipulative and controlling of others
- Perceive attraction, attachment, and sex as basic human needs, on a par with food and water
- Sense of worthlessness without a relationship or partner
- Feelings that a relationship makes one whole, or more of a man or woman
- Escalating tolerance for high-risk behavior
- Intense need to control self, others, circumstances
- Presence of other addictive or compulsive problems
- Insatiable appetite in area of difficulty (sex, love or attachment / need)
- Using others, sex & relationships to alter mood or relieve emotional pain
- Tendency to trade sexual activity for “love” or attachment
- Tendency to leave one relationship for another. (Inability to be without a relationship.)
Chances are you’ve known someone, maybe even someone in your own family, who’s struggled with an addiction to cigarettes, alcohol or drugs. But what about an addiction to sex? A growing number of medical experts are saying compulsive sexual behavior is a very real disorder that an estimated 16 million Americans, both men and women, are fighting.
“Daily, I sit down with people who look back at the wreckage in their life and say, knowing all along, ‘Why would I do this stuff?’” says Dr. Patrick Carnes, director of sexual disorders services at Arizona’s Meadows Treatment Center, which first coined the term “sexual addiction.”
Carnes says the same way that people can become addicted to drugs, alcohol or gambling, they can become addicted to sex, anything from Internet sex to obsessive masturbation to affairs.
What makes a sex addict?
How do experts tell what makes a person a sex addict as opposed to someone who just likes sex?
“You look for the obvious things, like bad things happening, knowing that you are doing something that is going to hurt you so you make efforts to stop that don’t work,” says Carnes. “Obviously, you’ve got a problem.”
“There was that selfish needy, lonely, angry part of myself that didn’t want to stop and saw that sex was my solution to other things,” says Mark Laaser, who had an insatiable need for secret sex. To anyone who knew him, it would have seemed incomprehensible. Laaser, a minister and counselor, was married with children and an icon of respect. But that wasn’t enough.
Mark says that early on he felt an emptiness, a loneliness that sex seemed to fill. “It was just an excitement, a raw excitement — kind of like what a drug addict would describe,” he says. “It was just a high.”
It was a high Laaser started experiencing at a young age. When he was 11, he says he discovered pictures — what he’d call soft porn now.
“And some of that is not abnormal for a person seeing that for the first time,” he says. “Of course when it becomes abnormal is how preoccupied you get with it.”
Laaser was so fixated by what he saw, he started stealing Playboy magazines from the local drugstore.
“And then also for me, I started crossing moral boundaries almost right away … Stealing magazines — and I’m a preacher’s kid, a minister’s son,” says Laaser. “So I knew that stealing was bad. But I was willing to go ahead with it because the high was so fantastic of what I was experiencing.”
In high school, Laaser hoped his behavior might stop when he met Debbie, the girl he thought could change him.
“There was a part of myself that she just didn’t know because I wasn’t revealing it to her or anybody for that matter,” says Laaser. He wasn’t revealing that he was now doing more than looking at magazines. He was watching porn videos and masturbating daily. Debbie, unaware of Mark’s double life, trusted him and they got married. Mark hoped that married life would bring an end to a life preoccupied by sex.
“All this crazy stuff in the past, that will be over now. I’m getting married. I’ll have a regular sexual partner and so forth,” says Laaser. “But I was amazed early on, even in the first year of marriage, that my temptation to masturbate and look at pornography returned rather quickly.”
A lot of people think human beings are preoccupied by sex a lot of time, so what could be so unusual about his feelings?
“The part that was unusual was where my mind tended to go with it,” says Laaser. “I wanted to experience it. I wanted to act it out. Eventually I had a lot of preoccupation with planning or doing or thinking what it would be like.”
Laaser soon was no longer planning, but doing, paying monthly visits to massage parlors, having sex with so-called “masseuses,” all the while hiding it from his wife Debbie, whom Laaser says he still loved deeply.
“I was always completely attracted to her,” says Laaser. “There was just something so much deeper in me that cannot be satisfied by sex.”
He says something deeply emotional was missing, and he wondered why he couldn’t just stop.
“I was wracked with shame and tried time and time again to stop,” says Marnie Ferree, who like Laaser, knows what it’s like to be out of control of her sexual feelings. For Ferree, it wasn’t so much about sex itself, but about the relationships she thought she could have by engaging in sex with acquaintances and friends.
“The sexual part was pleasurable and it was a nice byproduct for me, but that wasn’t the most important thing,” says Ferree. “I was trying to get non-sexual needs met sexually and that was the only way I knew how to meet those needs.”
Ferree says that as a child, she was sexually abused by a family friend, a common precursor to later addiction. Ferree’s promiscuity lasted from her teen years through two marriages, with numerous affairs in between. She felt an emotional void that she says sex filled — at least initially.
“At the time there is an incredible adrenaline rush,” says Ferree. “It’s a connection that I found I couldn’t replicate anywhere else. But immediately after that experience is over, I mean driving back home, there is this incredible let down and you’re just in a wash of shame.”
That shame that worsened after Ferree was diagnosed with cervical cancer. The cause, she was told, was HPV, a sexually transmitted disease.
“That was the lowest point,” says Ferree. “I experienced three surgeries in a year as treatment of that cervical cancer. Had a major hemorrhaging after one of those surgeries. I mean my life was literally in danger and I found still that I could not stop.”
Ferree was sick, married and a mother, yet none of those things could make her change, even though she was horrified by what she was doing.
“It’s about feeling rotten,” says Ferree. “I want to feel better. What way am I going through a ritual to feel better? I’m connecting with someone, I’m going to act out sexually. I feel horrible after that and the whole cycle starts over again.”
Ferree was desperate. Sex with her husband was not enough, and she believed the only way to stop having sex outside her marriage was to end her life.
“I had really strong suicidal thoughts,” says Ferree. “But I knew I couldn’t keep on living but I was too afraid to die.”
Another woman, who calls herself “Karen,” was also overtaken by sexual addiction and by her own shame, so raw that she asked Dateline NBC to hide her face and use a different name.
“It’s just this 24-hour distraction,” she says. “Like the shame that it causes, I feel like it just stole my soul.”
Karen is in her ’30s, single, and for almost as long as she can remember she’s been preoccupied with finding love. For years, she says, this meant having sex several times a week with strangers she would pick up in bars, frequently putting herself in dangerous situations.
“I ended up going home with a group of guys like 10 years younger than me,” says Karen, “and I figured I would have sex with one of them and maybe have a relationship. But I ended up having sex or doing sexual things with several of them. And that was a new low … Absolutely humiliated. What horrified me the most about it is that these guys were graffiti writers and they wrote on my body and that’s what made me feel like, oh my God, I was just completely used as an object.”
Karen even found herself contemplating prostitution. “That actually seemed like a logical thing to do since I found myself having sex with people I didn’t know anyway,” she says. “And I kind of became obsessed with some ads in the back of a free newspaper for escort services and I went on a couple of interviews.”
Laaser was also building toward behavior he would never have thought was possible for him. He had degrees in religion and divinity, had attended seminary school, was a deeply committed Christian and had been ordained as a minister. “There was that good side. There was that moral side. There was that caring side,” says Laaser.
And yet, he’d escape, feeling furtive and guilty, to feed his sexual addiction. At the same time, he was working on getting his Ph.D. in, of all things, psychology.
“Now I’m the Rev. Dr. Laaser,” he says, “and there are people that are going to be attracted to that and I actually wound up becoming sexual with some of my clients at that time. … It happened multiple times over a 10-year period. … [I was] frightened, incredibly frightened … I think for years I felt totally worthless. I can’t describe to you the times I would sit in church, even preaching on a Sunday morning, thinking God’s grace was for everybody else but certainly not for me.”
Laaser was preaching redemption, but for him, redemption might be more difficult. He betrayed parishioners, colleagues and clients. It was a trust that was about to be shattered.
“One of the people I was involved in with had reported (our affair). Yes, the very thing I was afraid of actually happened. Eight very angry people called me in, canceled my appointments for that day,” says Laaser.
He says he didn’t even realize what they knew “until the first one opened his mouth and started talking. Then it all came crashing in on me.”
Laaser’s colleagues at the center where he was a counselor angrily confronted and fired him. They would help him get treatment for his sexual misbehavior, but first, they said, he had to tell his wife Debbie everything.
“I was totally blindsided,” says Debbie. “I had no idea that this man I had been living with for 15 years — married to for 15 years — could possible have been doing all these things. And I’ll never forget the look on Mark’s face. Actually he was sitting in a chair across from me and I guess today what I know is brokenness in a person … I think there were times truthfully when I questioned whether I would stay. There were times I know when I felt so extremely sad, that I wasn’t sure we would ever be able to have happiness in our life again.”
And then, in the midst of all that pain, her husband felt something else.
“This pent up secret that is now over 30 years old is now all of a sudden out of the bag,” says Laaser. “I don’t have to protect the secret anymore. So I think mixed up with fear, sadness and confusion there was a sense of relief.”
So is sex addiction really about the sex?
“No,” says Carnes, “but that’s the mistake people often make. It’s really about pain … or escaping or anxiety reduction. It’s a solution.”
Ferree thought sex was her solution to painful feelings, but it was a solution that was not working. After years of failing to will herself to stop having sex with acquaintances, she was ready to take her own life. And then, at last, she confided in someone.
“I picked up the phone and called a dear friend and poured out this awful saga of my life and said I need help,” says Ferree.
She did get help help. A therapist helped her learn to deal with the childhood sexual abuse that contributed to her many affairs. Her second marriage survived and is, she says, better.
Ferree was surprised to find she wasn’t alone. About a third of sex addicts are female, which is why, Ferree says, she decided she wanted to do something to help other women. She went back to school to get a degree in counseling.
“I didn’t choose sex addiction,” says Ferree. “Sex addiction chose me and this field chose me.”
She now runs a counseling program for sexually addicted women, called Bethesda Workshops.
“Women are afraid to talk about it,” says Ferree. “We’re afraid of being labeled as whores. It’s kind of guys will be guys, men will be men. But for a woman to be out of control in her sexual behavior, there is just a whole other level of shame.”
Karen, awash in that same shame, one day found herself surfing the Internet to see if she was the only woman in the world who suffered in this way, when she ran across Web sites for sexual addiction. She entered a 12-step program and has been dealing with sex appropriately for a year.
“The real problem for most sex addicts, they would say to you, I wouldn’t know healthy sexuality if it hit me over the head. So how do I know when I am in my craziness and when what I’m doing is a normal healthy reaction to have. And that’s part of what recovery teaches,” says Carnes.
Laaser has been in recovery for over a decade. He say’s it’s a continuing process. After his sexual misbehavior was exposed, Laser entered a sex addiction treatment center for a month where he received psychotherapy. He now runs a program called Faithful and True Ministries. He still occasionally goes for counseling and relies on the support of those around him, such as his wife Debbie who stayed by his side through it all.
“I never had these real feelings of just running and leaving,” says Debbie. “I wasn’t aware that running would solve anything necessarily.”
Their relationship eventually strengthened. They dealt with some of the loneliness Laaser felt and both found comfort in their religious faith.
“Now that Debbie and I are more spiritually intimate, sex in our relationship is totally satisfying,” says Laaser.
His work has also helped him. He is again counseling others — including men with problems like his.
Why can’t people just stop?
So why can’t people just stop these behaviors? If there’s no drug or chemical involved, how is sex addiction like drug addiction or smoking?
“When you have a compulsive gambler,” says Carnes, “you’re not taking a chemical. … In other words, we produce chemicals in our brain whether we use an outside chemical or not.”
New studies, like one at Vanderbilt University, are being conducted to determine if brains of sex addicts are somehow different, and if sex addiction is a true, measurable disorder. Yet despite growing interest in such research, there are still some who do not believe it is a true addiction. The American Psychiatric Association’s diagnostic manual, for example, does not list sex addiction as a disorder.
“That book is always changing,” says Carnes, “and a consensus is starting to build. People who work in the addiction realm are starting to get a common agreement about how to start describing this.”
But, however the scientific debate works itself out, people like Ferree, Karen and Laaser want to help other people suffering from the same compulsions. They want people to know how to recognize the problem and discover that there is hope.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( 2 so far )
Female sex addiction has been largely underrepresented because of misunderstandings and the subsequent development of myths. Such myths or commonly-held erroneous beliefs have contributed to the ignorance, fear, shame and consequent silence concerning female sex addiction (Ferree 2011).
Myth One: Females Cannot Be Sex Addicts.
Within the addiction treatment field, it is a well-known fact that women, like men, can be addicted to sex. However, the general public believes that sexual compulsivity is mostly a male phenomenon. The belief that women do not struggle with sexual compulsivity comes from societal prejudices, double standards and ignorance rooted deeply in the American culture. A female “sex” addict, like her male counterpart, is addicted to uncontrollable compulsive sexual behavior. Even with the similarities, women tend to use sex for power, control and attention. “They score high on measures of fantasy sex, seductive role sex, trading sex and pain exchange.” (S. O’Hara)
Prior to the mid 1950’s, women who had sex outside of marriage were subjected to harsh and unfair judgment. Female sexuality outside of marriage, especially masturbation, was viewed as the closest thing to moral bankruptcy. It was with the 1953 Kinsey study, “Sexual Behavior in the Human Female,” that normative data regarding female sexuality was made available to the public at large. The Kinsey Reports played a significant role in changing the public perception of female sexuality. Fifty-eight years later, women with aberrant sexual behavior, such as sex addiction, are still viewed through the lens of hypocrisy and condemnation. That which was acceptable for men was considered “ugly” and “perverted” for women.
A myopic society that scorns, rejects and unfairly judges female sex addiction (while being more tolerant with men) places roadblocks for support, education and counseling/treatment. A fear of being disparaged, blamed, shunned and, ultimately, isolated by their loved ones prevents many women from feeling safe enough to seek help. It is no wonder that women sex addicts maintain their silence and secrecy about their addiction.
Myth Two: Female Sex Addicts Are Only Addicted to Relationships or Love – Not Sex.
Even though most female sex addicts are “relationship” or “love” addicts, many others are addicted to sex, masturbate compulsively, use pornography, engage in a variety of Internet sexual activities, have affairs with multiple partners, engage in anonymous sex or phone sex and are exhibitionists. According to Kelly McDaniel, licensed professional counselor and author of “Ready to Heal: Women Facing Love, Sex and Relationship Addiction,” therapists have recently seen more women with (sex addiction)…in connection with Internet porn, which has become a “gender-neutral” addiction. “Before, female sex addicts generally tended to have affairs or become sex workers.”
Most female addicts avoid the term “sex addiction” because it carries negative connotations of sexual perversion, nymphomania and promiscuity. When given a choice, women prefer the romantic and nurturing connotations of “love” or “relationship” addiction. The “sex addiction” label is resisted because women are often not motivated by the pursuit of sex only – but instead by a deep and insatiable desire for love, acceptance, affection and affirmation. Naturally, female sex addicts prefer a term that represents their femininity.
Myth Three: Women Who Are Sex Addicts Know About Their Problem.
Rarely do women identify themselves as sex addicts. Similarly, when a sexually addicted female seeks mental health services, it is likely that the clinician will misdiagnose her. It is common for untrained clinicians to only diagnose a comorbid (co-occurring) mental health problem, while completely missing the sex addiction diagnosis. As a result of a scarcity of research, training and effective screening protocols, the female sex addict who is in denial of her problem is likely to interface with professionals who share her ignorance and denial systems.
If sex is the core addiction, it may be hidden beneath a more obvious and less shameful concurrent addiction. Having more than one addiction, women are prone to only seek professional help for the addiction that is more obvious and socially acceptable. Shame, embarrassment and fear of consequences, i.e., divorce or social alienation, may push the sex addiction – the primary or core addiction – to the addict’s unconscious. Simply, sex addiction is easier to deny than another addiction such as alcohol or drugs.
Myth Four: Consequences Are the Same for Females and Males.
Although female sex addicts experience the same consequences as men, a societal sexual double standard also creates more painful and harsher consequences. Additionally, women are more prone to suffer health concerns such as unwanted pregnancies or sexually-transmitted diseases. Because of the power and strength differential of men and women, women face a higher probability of physical harm such as rape or aggravated battery. Women suffer unique and agonizing consequences because they often feel responsible for the shame, embarrassment and punishing social judgment that their male partner and children endure.
Many addicts inherit a brain that has trouble just saying no to drugs.
A study in Science finds that cocaine addicts have abnormalities in areas of the brain involved in self-control. And these abnormalities appear to predate any drug abuse.
The study, done by a team at the University of Cambridge in the U.K., looked at 50 pairs of siblings. One member of each pair was a cocaine addict. The other had no history of drug abuse.
But brain scans showed that both siblings had brains unlike those of typical people, says Karen Ersche, the study’s lead author.
“The fibers that connect the different parts of the brain were less efficient in both,” she says.
These fibers connect areas involved in emotion with areas that tells us when to stop doing something, Ersche says. When the fibers aren’t working efficiently, she says, it takes longer for a “stop” message to get through.
And sure enough, another experiment done by Ersche’s team showed that both siblings took longer than a typical person to respond to a signal telling them to stop performing a task. In other words, they had less self-control.
That’s what you’d expect to find in addicts, Ersche says.
“We know that in people who are addicted to drugs like cocaine, that self-control is completely impaired,” she says. “These people use drugs and lose control on how much they use. They put everything at risk, even their lives.”
But the fact that siblings without drug problems also had impaired self-control offers strong evidence that these brain abnormalities are inherited, Ersche says.
And she says the finding also raises a big question about the siblings who aren’t addicts: “How do they manage with an abnormal brain without taking drugs?”
Ersche hopes to conduct another study of the sibling pairs that will answer that question.
In the meantime, the findings about self-control have implications that go far beyond drug addiction, says Nora Volkow, director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse.
“Self-control and the ability to regulate your emotions really is an indispensable aspect of the function of the brain that allows us to succeed,” she says.
That’s because the part of the brain that decides whether to take a drug is also the part that helps us decide whether to speed through a yellow light or drop out of school, she says.
And this brain circuit seems to be involved in a lot of common disorders, she says.
“One of the ones that attracts the most attention is ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder), where kids are unable to control their response to stimuli that distract them,” Volkow says.
Impulse control is also central to behaviors like compulsive gambling and compulsive eating, she says.
The new study shows it’s possible to identify people who have inherited a susceptibility to these sorts of problems, Volkow says. And it should help researchers figure out how to help susceptible people strengthen their self-control, she says.
“Predetermination is not predestination,” Volkow says.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( 1 so far )
We need to know that we have an epidemic of addictive behavior in this country. We have addictions to drugs, alcohol, gambling, sports, television, the Internet, shoplifting, self-harm, food, exercise and sex. Addictive, self-destructive behaviors seem incomprehensible to non-addicts: “Why don’t they just say No!” That’s a good intention. Even the practitioners trying to save these sufferers from themselves seem unaware that these illogical behaviors can be understood in terms of the good intentions that the abusers have for themselves:
• To relieve in one way or another the terrible pain of their existence, pain that comes from attitudes that they are inferior, inadequate to cope, unloved, unlovable, worthless and many more.
• To maintain and perpetuate their self-contempt, painful as it is, because it is the misey they prefer to the even worse misery of ceasing to exist.
• To bring about the self-destruction that worthless people believe they deserve. They prefer to do it themselves. They are in control of it. It hurts less that way.
• To guarantee they do not experience any undeserved happiness in this lifetime.
• To replace forbidden happiness with self-indulgent, self-destructive negative excitement, which is all they do deserve.
• To relieve the pain of their anger at themselves for their inadequacy to solve their problems in any way that works in the real world.
• To relieve the pain of their guilt at failing to be good enough, that is, perfectly good.
• To relieve their anxiety about the painful disaster that waits for them in the future.
These addictive good intentions have hidden purposes:
• To anesthetize all these pains,
• To drown all these sorrows,
• To escape from the greater miseries of their existence into all these lesser miseries which are not lesser at all.
To take drugs or suffer the psychic pain of worthlessness? That is the addict’s terrible choice. There is a third choice: no misery at all, no anxiety, no worthlessness. We cannot relieve these negative behaviors until we identify the root of this scourge as self-anger in a context of self-contempt and replace it with self-respect. Until then, all we can have for these sufferers is superficial good intentions. Those treatment programs that succeed may have at their core, not just a foundation grant, but a self-respecting healer who can set an example of sanity for the clients to follow.
We need to know that we are the victims of our own good intentions for ourselves. Our doctor tells us to stop eating junk food, but we override his professional advice. We have “had a hard day,” we tell ourselves; we “have suffered.” Our attitude is that our suffering entitles us to a treat today, so we indulge ourselves to our ultimate detriment. We are not only self-indulgent, we are self-critical. It hurts less if we criticize ourselves so we beat our critics to the punch. Our self-criticism also guarantees that we don’t get too happy, or smug. We are overambitious for ourselves, which means we cannot be happy with the raise we have just received; we cannot be happy until we get the next and the next. This is called the Someday Syndrome. “I’ll be happy someday — maybe when I retire — but not until.” It is our experience that, “Someday” never comes. It’s always a week from Tuesday.
We are overprotective. At the same time we are self-destructing with junk food and junk ideas, we protect ourselves from disaster by imagining all sorts of catastrophes for ourselves. We want to leave town in advance, but we never do. We cause ourselves an anxiety that we didn’t need to cause. We have the good intention to solve such problems as how can I keep my teenager from becoming an alcoholic, which we have no competence to do. So we obsess uselessly, which drives everyone to drink.
Here are some good intentions that determine our behavior to everyone’s disadvantage:
• When our loved ones are angry at us, we defend ourselves against them to relieve our own pain.
• We tear our loved ones down to build ourselves up.
• We say, “I can’t do it” and we let ourselves off the hook to prevent humiliating failure, instead of asking ourselves a focusing question: “What am I afraid will happen if I do it?” “What’s the worst thing about it?” It usually turns out to be not that bad.
• We think, “I might succeed and be happy! Who knows where that will end? I’d better not start!”
• We try to outsmart life. We try to figure out what other people are plotting to do against us so we can beat them to the punch.
These are all mental mischief: A waste of our time and mental energy. They impede our progress and dilutes our happiness, which is exactly what unself-respecting people like us deserve to do.
Self-respecting people have real intentions for themselves. They don’t live in the future. They take life as it comes and do the best they can with it. They do not override their judgment with outsmartings or discouragements. They trust their judgment to solve problems as they arise in the present. They are able to live in the middle ground between too much and too little. They do not criticize every little imperfection in their lives. They are worthwhile human beings in spite of them. They have gotten out of their own way.
How can we get out of our own way? By catching ourselves about to inflict a self-serving good intention upon ourselves, such as exempting ourselves from the painful responsibility for taking out the trash, or trying to eliminate the painful waste of waiting for our life partner to finish combing her hair. We can catch ourselves indulging in vengeful behavior to relieve the pain of our past griefs and choose to do what reality requires us to do instead. We can shift our gears. We can ask, “What would a grownup do?” Then we can choose to do it. How will we feel afterwards? We will have feelings of relief, control, identity, maturity, security, independence, peace of mind and all the other components of self-respect.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( 1 so far )
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