Carnes Task 7: Participation in a culture of support

The most Common Issues for Couples (13)

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Carnes Task 7. Participation in a culture of support. What is that all about?

That’s very important. Like I’ve said a million times in this interview is that
addiction is all about separation and disconnection. There’s been a lot of articles
coming up in the Huffington Post, in the New York Times lately about this idea
that what addicts need is really to be connected. I think Bill W. is genius, 70
something years ago, because that’s what it was about. In 2015, it’s still about
connection.
What I explain to my clients, they think that just coming to me it’s going to get
fixed. I explain to them that it helps and there’s definitely things that a therapist
does that a sponsor or these 12-step support groups will not do.
The connection that they feel in a meeting when you have 5 or 6 guys or 5 or 6
women or a coed group talking about the stuff that there’s so much shame and
so much secrecy and that no one ever talks about in a room so openly, it’s like
you can breathe. All the defenses go down. You finally belong. You can finally be
a part of something. You can finally be 100% transparent.
That feeling is better than any orgasm, than any hook up, than any drug, food,
anything. The wonderful part about it is that it's long-term. It's not like these
quick up, up and downs.
We’re spoiled in Miami where we have millions of meetings. There’s SLA
meetings, there’s SA meetings, Sex and Love Addicts Anonymous, Sex Addicts
Anonymous. There’s strictly women’s meetings. There’s couples meetings.
I think that the steps address the connection. They address the spirituality that
comes with recovery. A lot of people get turned off with spirituality thinking it’s
religion. It has nothing to do with religion. It’s really about being connected.
A sponsor will take someone through the 12 steps. The way that I see sponsors
are like mentors. They help someone at 3 o’clock in the morning when that
person is really wanting to act out or craving, they can call someone. 99% of the
time, they can’t call their therapist or they can’t be on the phone with their
therapist every day. That’s why the meetings are absolutely a huge part of their
recovery.

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