Is Recovery Ever Permanent?

By Eddie Capparucci, MA, LPC

I am asked quite often by one of my sexual addiction clients, “How long will it take for me to be cured?” They are a little taken aback when I respond “never.”  Their wives also are disappointed and worried when they hear this news.

However, it is not all bad news. Like any other addiction, the desire to abuse sex doesn’t evaporate into thin air after a man has done his work and followed a recovery program to gain sexual integrity. I do not need to tell you that temptation loudly surrounds us. In fact, there is really little escape from the endless images and triggers that engross us on a daily basis. That is why the focus of recovery needs to be not simply on changing our behavior but instead changing our hearts, and a critical component of that change is realizing we could become vulnerable if we let down our guard. Read what the Apostle Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 10:12.

“So if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall!”

When we develop the mindset that we have defeated our addiction and are immune to temptation, we put ourselves at the greatest risk for relapse. Having the tools we need to battle temptations could be useless during those times when we allow ourselves to become emotionally, physically, mentally or spiritually drained. It is during those times the threat of a potential lapse of judgment could be at its highest point. Understanding that we are vulnerable allows us to stay in tune and evaluate our thoughts and emotions to ensure we have the energy and determination needed to turn away from lurking dangers.   

I recall one client who left counseling prematurely because he believed he had all the tools necessary to combat his addiction. I knew at the time he had made some significant behavioral changes but did little to change the condition of his heart. I was not surprised when he called three months later admitting he had acted out and had been arrested.

Unfortunately, recovery is never a guarantee against abusing sex in the future. But if our approach to recovery is based on changing our character and being men of sexual integrity, we strengthen our chances of success. For those recovering from sexual addiction, remaining humble and seeking assistance from others in time of need will keep you on the right path of purity.