Is total abstinence the answer???

Hi.I’ve just come on this site because I know I’m a sex/Love Addict. Well, I’m an Addict full stop. I’m in AA, NA, been sober for 5 years, clean for 3 years, and still not OK. This time it’s about relationships… I feel so tired of having to work through what feels like an endless list of addictions, but I want to keep going.

Now what is hurting me at the moment is that I know the solution to my other addictions is a spiritual awakening only happening for me when I have surrendered in my step 1, and admitted that total abstinence is the way forward. I can live with that around alcohol and drugs, no problem, but to say that I have to stay single all my life is just…I don’t know…so empty!!

Saying this, if it’s better than drinking again or jumping in front of a train, which has crossed my mind lately, then I guess it could be worse! So do those in relationships recover? How do  you have a relationship without relapsing? Or is it not an option? Please help!!

Thank you. H

9 thoughts on “Is total abstinence the answer???

  1. Narcissus Post author

    Hi Helene,
    Total abstinence is used as a way forward to gain control of the compulsive behaviour. It’s not a permanent state of affairs. The issues are similar to those some have around food. If you don’t eat you die, but if you eat too much of the wrong sort of food, you can also end up dying. The solution is to eat healthily.

    Likewise, in SLAA we learn to make healthy choices regarding relationship and avoid past behaviours that have failed to offer lasting, satisfying relationships and that cause us to feel shame.

    So total abstinence helps get a perspective on things at the beginning and in time, when we better understand how to cope with these issues, we can work towards forming a healthy relationship but to do that, you need to have a healthy relationship with yourself.

    Go to a meeting and you’ll have the opportunity to discuss the process at length.

    I hope this helps,


    If you always do what you’ve always done, you always get what you’ve always got.

  2. BrokenGirl Post author

    I worry about this too… I feel I am about to start a relationship with someone who means the world to me, but can I trust myself? but how can i turn away from him when we’re both falling in love with each other? I feel my issue is specifically with sex rather than romance…. i want to deal with my addiction without compromising what might be my best relationship yet.

    1. Prof Post author

      Maybe then a period of no sex is best for you.Romance and love should not be based entirely on what goes on under the covers… If you are worried that you are a sex addict then a period without men is advisable.
      In slaa usually a period of abstience is advised, from 30 days to a year; and most people seem to remain abstient from sex or any relationship until after step 9. Consider giving yourself some time to come to terms with your illness, before embarking on another relationship. Try a SLAA group, and take it from there.
      Best of luckProf.

  3. seden Post author

    I can live with that around alcohol and drugs, no problem, but to say
    that I have to stay single all my life is just…I don’t know…so
    empty!! Saying this, if it’s better than drinking again or jumping in
    front of a train, which has crossed my mind.

  4. Nero Post author

    the good news is that you don’t have to remain single all for the rest of your life – just for a relatively short period of recovery until you get back on your feet, and are able to recognize harmful people, patterns & situations.
    Remember because we are human we need love, and most of us need sex in our lives. The only substances we need in our lives are food, water, clothing and shelter. Not alcohol or drugs.

    All the best.

  5. Fergus Post author

    Nero is so right. Everyone needs the time away from the crazy emotional and sexual activites. It really is the only way to get well. Just do it a day at a time. I occasionally have slips but I certainly do not act out like I used to.

    Seden you are not alone and we are all just trying to get through the day, week, month, year and eventually life. It is impossible to do it alone and you will find help in slaa. Take what you like and leave what doesn’t work for you. If you keep an open mind you will find the help and answers that you need. I was on holiday recently in a place that was a real acting out area for me.
    However because I turned my will, my life and my sexuality over to my higher power, I did not act out. Didn’t mean I was neutered and didn’t have sexual feelings but I didn’t act out.
    However I do think you do need to stop the addictive stuff until you can see what is healthy emotional and sexual stuff and what is damaging to you or others.
    Remember sober sexuality doesn’t have to be boring sexuality or no sexuality. Fergus

    1. G

      Hi Fergus. I am a good six months sober. Please explain, in a little more detail, how sober sexuality doesn’t have to be boring sexuality or no sexuality? It seems to be so for me. It interests me how you think otherwise. If I understood that I might enjoy my sobriety a little more and benefit from sustaining it rather than hoping it is the key to myself and one day the door will open, god willing, after which time I can resume sexual behaviour. Many thanks, G

  6. Nikki

    Ok heres my question. What exactly does total abstinence mean?
    This is my situation.I was in a relationship with a guy for around a year.Then he got cold feet and said he could only be friends.So we have remained in contact on a platonic level for approx. 6 months.I still have feelings for him and I believe he has for me.
    To have abstinence do I have to give him up as a friend too or can I work through my issues with him around? Please advise as I am confused.
    Many thanks.

  7. Helena

    HI, I am a member from SLAA. I have been in SLAA 14years in America. also little bit from UK, ( online/skype) several yrs. Honestly, in my first 2 years, I stayed abstinence. Sex &love addiction pattern is also codependency disease. Abstinence is something thats being granted from Higher Power.


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