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“For an alcoholic,” my SLAA contact explains, “alcohol is not the problem, daily life is; the person feels uncomfortable already, there is an underlying inadequacy, depression, anxiety." As with any addiction, the addiction to love and sex serves as an escape from those intolerable aspects of reality.
Sexual promiscuity serves to hide an avoidance of intimacy.
"Most attendees are single because the addiction renders them so," my contact says.
"As with all addictions, people develop withdrawal symptoms from sex and love, they get moody and angry if they don't get a fix." It seems that until the cognitive personality-overhaul is complete, in order to be sober they must be single.
We believe there is no cure for addiction, and that dealing with it is so difficult because in order to function better, you simply have to change your personality." That's a big ask for any organisation, especially one that denies being such a thing.
It almost sounds like nothing a decent bottle of whisky wouldn't do.But without a bottle to hit or a vein to split, how does a love addict get their fix?Through their need to constantly be enveloped in those intense feelings.When this dynamic leaves them inevitably dissatisfied, they may become frustrated that the relationship isn't perfect, anxious and paranoid that the partner will leave, displaying defensive or possessive behaviours.But love addiction is not a formally recognised addiction, and with many of the characteristics above arguably applicable (if in smaller doses) to the broad spectrum of people, is this simply a case of psychologists attempting to pathologise modern relationships? The secretive organisation closely guards the anonymity of those who seek help through it; everyone I talk to echoes the sentiment that it operates under the radar, reachable but only to those actively looking, and suspicious of media.