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Sex addicts anonymous ireland

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Perhaps because of its association with Hollywood celebs most people refuse to consider sex addiction as anything other that a Sex addicts anonymous ireland. However this couldn't be further from the truth, as Tess Martin discovers when she talks to some recovering addicts. Tell your friends you're addicted to sex and they will probably laugh at you.

When Michael Douglas, Rob Lowe and Warren Beatty allegedly had treatment for sex addiction, the news drew jokes, nudges, winks and the inevitable: But listen to Joe and John not their real names talking in "Sex addicts anonymous ireland" quiet corner of a North Dublin hotel with frequent glances to make sure they were not overheard and you realise that being addicted to sex is no laughing matter.

Joe and John are addicted to sex. Their lives revolve around sexual thoughts, fantasies, feelings and compulsions.

It could mean spending a fortune on sex lines, Internet porn sites and blue movies, visiting prostitutes, embarking on repeated disastrous relationships and being unable to relate to the Sex addicts anonymous ireland sex in a normal, healthy way.

Women, too, can be sex addicts, though men make up the majority. At the darker end of the addiction it could Sex addicts anonymous ireland stalking, incest, sexual abuse, paedophilia and rape, where the addiction is to the power and control it gives.

Irish addiction counsellor Tom Ahern has treated a number of Irish men. He agrees that all addictions are escape routes used to avoid facing hurt, emptiness and loneliness the existential pain of living. He believes there is such a thing as an addictive personality nearly half of all sex addicts have another addictionalthough there may not be the same chemical imbalance associated with, say, alcoholism.

Sex addiction has been described as the core addiction, masked by drink or drugs. Public ignorance about sexual deviancy prompts extreme secrecy among sufferers, who fear ridicule and condemnation. American research would suggest that as many as one in eight may be addicted to sex. There are no sex clinics as such in Ireland, though establishments such as the Rutland Centre for Addiction Treatment accept the compulsive element in all addictions, whether it is heroin, food, fitness or sex. It has a step programme similar to AAs and there are eight self-help groups throughout the country.

A separate organisation, Sexaholics Anonymous, was founded in Waterford. SLA is not formally recognised by AA.

The burden sex addicts carry is best illustrated by the cloak-and-dagger arrangements surrounding my meeting with Joe and John, who fear for their personal and professional reputation should their identities be revealed.

Joe 48 is a separated man with two grown-up children.

He was born in an Irish village to a single woman. The fantasies soon became sexual. It happened with someone showing me genuine affection, which I desperately needed, and Sex addicts anonymous ireland when I was about 11, which meant that I was sexualized very early. Normal adolescence was difficult.

I couldn't trust a girl enough to open up to her, so I would need to be fairly drunk before I approached one. I was attracted to all the wrong kinds of women, frequently on a rescue mission going for somebody who was as bad Sex addicts anonymous ireland myself.

Joe had a short-lived, destructive marriage. It was a purely physical thing we both got off on sex. When I was in the grip of the compulsion, nothing could stop me fear of a sexually transmitted disease, AIDS, nothing. You think of nothing else. Joe also had a drink problem and joined AA.

Are you struggling with an...

In he heard of SLA and joined. The work was painful.

Those of us who are...

You do a lot of grieving and what you're grieving is the loss of the might have been,'' he says. In Joe's case, one of the losses was his children. Normal relationships are now a possibility.

One love affair in the last few years has developed into friendship and he still hopes he might meet someone special. Sex addiction is part of you, it's an inside job. John 38 is married with three young children.

Since the age of 14, he fantasised about having sex with prostitutes. Married at 23 to a loving, caring woman, the relationship was strong, except for his need for some sexual practices, which his wife did not enjoy. John began to look Sex addicts anonymous ireland sexual release from chat lines and blue movies and became a cross-dresser for the emotional and sexual comfort it gave him. Seven years ago he drove into Dublin's red light district, where he paid prostitutes.

You have to understand the nature of addiction if you are not doing it, you are thinking about it. John's search for help illustrates a professional attitude which can be blind to the desperation behind sexual addiction. One counsellor told me it could have been worse I could have been abusing children. Sex addicts anonymous ireland was becoming aware that his drinking fuelled his sexual addiction and joined AA to help him cope.

Do you feel that your...

Crunch time came when his wife discovered his sexual diary. John and his wife went for counselling, at last finding someone who could understand his problem.

With his wife's support and encouragement, he went to his first SLA meeting.

Sexaholics Anonymous is a fellowship...

Like Joe, he felt he had come home. I had physical withdrawal as first, then there is the emotional letting in of the pain at various levels.