Creating a Sobriety Plan for a Sex Addict

Obviously sex addiction is different than having an addiction to a substance.  You know you need to stop using a substance.  But, what about sex?  Do you just stop having sex all together?  Not having sex altogether won’t work for long.

You have to create a sobriety plan.  A plan thats specifically for you that identifies what is sobriety for you.  The plan I like the most and use often is the circle plan borrowed from Sex Addicts Anonymous (SAA).

The plan has three circles and these circles are built within each other.  A large circle that fills the page, called the outer circle.  A circle within this larger circle called, the middle circle.  And lastly, a inner circle (also called bottom lines) that rests within the center of all the circles.

Before you begin you should understand what each circle represents.  I’ll start with the inner circle and this is the circle I would encourage you to start with.  The inner circle also called bottom lines is a circle that should list all the behaviors you must abstain from.  These behaviors are dangerous to your health, relationships and overall wellbeing.  An example of an inner circle or bottom line behavior is chronic masturbation, prostitution, sex outside committed relationships, unprotected sex and etc.  These are actions that caused you pain and you have only received negative consequences from them over the long run.

Middle circle behaviors are actions that have either lead you to bottom line (inner circle) behaviors, or pose as triggers to this behavior.  The middle circle will most likely be the circle that gets filled quickly.  These are the behaviors you will work on the most in your treatment, because these behaviors and feelings are typically managed by your addiction.  An example of a middle circle behavior would be, anger, hurt, disorganization, loneliness, manipulation, fantasy, flirting, isolation and others.  You can see how this circle gets filled quickly, because these are all behaviors that either feed the addictive behavior or your addiction manages them.

Lastly, the outer circle are behaviors that maintain and support your sobriety.  These actions help build your self confidence and character.  Some examples may be, exercise, fellowship, reading, journaling, outreach calls, cooking lessons, maintaining a weekly schedule and etc.  These actions help you structure a daily discipline that all individuals should have in their lives.  These actions support you when you’re feeling overwhelmed or stressed in your life.

It’s important you make this plan with either a sponsor or therapist who specializes in sex addiction.  They will help you structure your plan, helping you with any forgotten behaviors or skills that could be added.  This plan will change as you change.  You might over time change or add things.  When you develop healthy sex practices you might see certain behaviors that were inner circle move to the middle circle or even in you outer circle.  Many people think if they put masturbation in their inner circle, that means they will never have the ability to masturbate again.  That’s not true.  After working with a therapist on healthy sex practices, many individuals return to masturbation, but are able to masturbate in a healthy, non-compulsive manner.

To learn more about the circle plan from the Sex Addicts Anonymous program visit:

Elana Clark-Faler
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