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When Do You Get to Maintenance Level in Sexual Recovery?

March 19, 2010

Yesterday, I talked about “The 5 Stages of Sexual Addiction Recovery”. 

1.  Crisis Stage
2.  Picking Up the Pieces Stage
3.  Repair Stage
4.  Strengthening and Conditioning Stage
5.  Maintenance Stage

I wanted to talk more about the Maintenance Stage.  This is part of the “big picture” of sexual addiction recovery. 

The idea of the Maintenance Stage is to be at a place in your recovery where you are strong enough to do the fundamentals.  You have good systems in place, and you are actively maintain your support system. 

You hit the maintenance stage somewhere in your recovery when:

  • Your crisis is over
  • You are having no relapses
  • There are minimal slips
  • A healthy sexuality is being established
  • You have a healthy network of relationships established (support structure)
  • You have developed a good offensive and defensive strategy

WHAT MY TRUMPET TEACHER TAUGHT ME ABOUT MAINTENANCE
I wrote a blog a while back called “Lessons I Learned About Sexual Recovery From My Trumpet Teacher”.  The gist of the blog was that performers get to the point when they can self-diagnose.  They know when they are having trouble with a piece of music and can isolate the problem.  They know the importance of going back to the fundamentals to get through harder passages.  They also know when to call for help from another teacher. 

MAINTENANCE IS NOT NEGLECT
If you are in the maintenance stage, you are still working to maintain health.  You can’t stay healthy if you are neglecting your recovery.  By this point in your recovery, you have learned to identify triggers and temptations, pause, and call a friend.  You have learned the things to avoid, and have set up roadblocks and boundaries to keep you away from danger zones.  You are proactive in your recovery instead of reactive.   

Many jump into maintenance level way too quickly.  We think we are much stronger than we really are.  Take your time.  It is best to let others tell you that you are ready for this level.   

Maintenance level is a level where we have to be diligent. 

DO I STOP GOING TO SUPPORT GROUP?
I suspect the answer for many reading this is “no”. 

You have to have an active network setup before you go to maintenance level and stop attending support group.  You have to have a track record of doing well with your accountability.  You need to have developed a “pause” between trigger and acting out.  You need to know how important it is to call someone the instant you get edgy, or even before.  Your support group is still an important leg of your maintenance level.   

If you have a network of intimate relationships relationships with other guys that can meet the same needs as your support group, then try it.   

Having other guys in our life is the only way we’re going to know if we’re going off course.  We are not the best judges of our own course.  We can easily be deceived by our own sin nature.   

[Blog & Podcast – “You Gotta Have Other Dudes in Your Life”]

 WHAT DO YOU THINK?

Q:  Is there a maintenance level in recovery?

Q:  When does a person get to this level?

Q:  What else does a person need to do when he’s at the maintenance level?

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