"Pletcher and Bartolameolli are undisputed experts on the subject of co-sex addiction.  They know more about it than anyone I know and have presented  an expose that with great clarity supersedes anything I have read before."

– John Bradshaw

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Obama, Colonialism and Cosex Addiction

President Obama was in Ghana this past week. It was especially meaningful for my family since we were there last year on the very weekend he visited. He was in Cape Coast at the Slave Castle and we visited the rooms, the cells, the tunnel of no return and saw the shackles and altar honoring tribal men and women's spiritual beliefs, just as he did. It was an important visit for all of us. My stewardess is Ghanian and she watched the television coverage with my husband and me from our home in Nigeria. She was very proud to be from Ghana.

President Obama was both bold and courageous in his speech. He talked of many things but the bravery came in addressing the responsibility of the African countries to work hard and know that the fate of their future lies in their hands. He said the days of colonialism are over. We heard some boos from the crowds and knew his communication was risky. As soon as he said it, my husband commented on his belief that only Obama, an African American man, could speak that into the listening crowd. Not two minutes later, the commentator on CNN said the very same thing. I understood this as a woman. I would not be able to hear a white man telling me that it's time to move on from gender issues or using women's oppression as an excuse for my own responsibility. I could hear from a woman, however, who had first hand experience in living as a woman, experiencing the subtle and sometimes not so subtle, ways in which woman are treated and oppressed. It was a risky statement for President Obama to make and I can easily relate it to my own cosex addiction and my unwillingness at times, to give up being a victim.

For me, the real issue that Obama addressed was how to overcome being and feeling victimized in our own lives? This is necessary to address if we are committed to our recovery from cosex addiction or any addiction in our lives. We must experience a sense of personal power and choice so that we are not at the effect of the circumstances in our lives giving us the excuse to act out in our addictive behavior and emotional immaturity. If we are not at the effect of the circumstances and outside influences in our lives, then perhaps we are at choice and prepared for what comes our way. Not only able to handle it with some sense of fluidity and poise, but also growing in the ability to respond with alacrity and preparedness. We can even move into co-creating and positively influencing the circumstances of our lives and also be of service to others. But we must stop seeing ourselves and behaving as victims.

The quandary in my mind, however, is that there is victimization and oppressive injustices that do occur in our own lives and in the collective societal structure. We can not deny that slavery existed and the men and women were traded for coins and held in bondage, without rights and ownership of their own bodies. We can't deny that women have repeatedly been financially oppressed, raped and set up to see themselves as sexual objects and dependent on others outside of themselves. These realities exist. I am also a firm believer that one can not overcome an obstacle or barrier until the reality of the barrier is acknowledged and this is essential with our emotional wounds. We can not heal a loss until we acknowledge that it exists, nor can we forgive a transgression if we deny it took place.

In dealing with this realization and the emotional entanglements of a victim mentality there is a higher level of maturity and discernment that is called for from within. There is an acknowledgment of the oppression, of the abuse, of the trauma inflicted and yet we must also be conscious to not enslave ourselves to the resentment, emotional drama and entitlement beliefs that signal the lack of emotional maturity and sobriety. This is advanced level emotional and spiritual maturity which requires us to be in the reality of the maltreatment and injustice but not be crippled and tangled in the smallness of it all. Even as author of this topic, right here and now, I can not attest to living this principle in a powerful way and finding the pinnacle of emotional sobriety from my own victimization. I state it now as a goal and aspiration for myself as well.

Recovering from Cosex addiction and learning highly function living means to know and fully embrace all the ways that I have been victimized personally in my life and societally without using that reality in a way that keeps me tangled up in resentments, blame and a constant sense of entitlement. If I do this, I also give my energy and emotional vitality over to the mistreatment and abuse of someone else. This vital energy remains captive, without my intention and focus to use as I choose. I now enslave and re-victimize myself. We must see and own how we use our relationships over and over again to view ourselves as a victim, at the effect of others' abuse and not fully understood, appreciated, heard, etc.

Healing from the ways we were hurt and abused, without using those realizations to further enslave ourselves in being a victim requires commitment, determination, intention and action.

These are not steps easily taken because it will lead to looking honesty at how our lives are set up with us as victims and at the cause of others and circumstances in our lives.

These are not steps easily taken because it requires us to take responsibility for the state of our relationships, our health, our financial situation, our lack of purposeful expression.

These steps are not easily taken because it will call us to stop gossiping, blaming and focusing on others and brings us into a relationship with ourselves and our Spiritual Source in which we must face who we are and who we are not daily.

It's worthwhile, however. I image living my life in such a way that I have used the lessons from ways I have been oppressed and hurt to develop compassion for myself and others. I imagine from this I am able to be of service to others needing encouragement and partnership. I can offer compassion for their pain and losses and at the same time offer a hand in alliance when and if they want to work on behalf of their own lives and empowerment. This includes economic, spiritual and emotional liberation.

The way to making a difference for others who are oppressed is first welcoming and allowing a difference in our own lives. We must be willing to authentic grieve and embrace ways we have been oppressed and victimized and do the further healing and empowerment work to keep from using this injustice to keep ourselves enslaved as victims.

This is the greatest act of love and compassion; to use our own wounds to learn how to help heal and serve others so that we can be empowered and co-creators of our lives.

Together we can,


Wednesday, July 8, 2009

The Lioness, Mighty and Beautiful....

I had a dream this week in which I was at my mother's home and there was a lioness trying to get in the kitchen through the screen door. I knew I had to stop her and keep her out of the house. I was successful in pushing her snout out and was able to close and lock the screen door twice. The third time, however, I realized that I could not continue with this and eventually she would win. I let the lioness in through the screen door and decided to try and befriend her. It seemed my only option and worth the risk.

I released the door, let her in and laid on the floor letting her smell me. We were soon nose to nose and I was massaging her jowls. We were admiring each other with great affection. In my dream, I felt relief and knew that she was going to be a strong ally and friend to me.

As I was telling this dream to my husband, I teared up realizing the symbolism of a lioness and of me befriending her. It was really about me befriending my own power and beauty and not resisting these parts of myself. Sometimes we are as afraid of what is grand and magnificent about us as that over which we feel shame and guilt. The lion and lioness are also symbols of aggression, power, protectiveness and domination. I know that, as a woman, I am often hyper-vigilant about offending people or appearing "too" aggressive. I know women who are strong, outspoken and in their own power are not often welcomed in our culture. The dream was a reminder to welcome all these parts of myself. It was a reminder to stay awake and aware of the ways in which I attempt to keep myself hidden and small.

So, what might this have to do with Cosex Addiction? I think any addiction that we have is an attempt for us to avoid being with ourselves in one way or another. In my young adult years, I used food and bulimia as a way to avoid feeling the deep and profound grief and emptiness I felt inside. In my twenties, I used my cosex addiction as a way to avoid feeling my own loneliness and shame. In over focusing on our relationships, thinking they will fulfill us, we avoid being with ourselves, our pain and even our giftedness. In the last several years, I have noticed my tendency to use mood altering substances and behaviors when things are going really well in my life. I've shared this with my husband several times. It is as though I have difficulty being with my own successes, manifested dreams, joy and peacefulness. Whenever we deny who we are in our own glory or in our own ugliness we set ourselves up for addictive behaviors and acting out in our dis-ease.

Welcoming all of who we are is the key to living authentically and addiction free. It is the beginning of living our passion, purpose and being of service in the world. This all begins with loving and embracing ourselves fully. The depth with which we are able to authentically love another person is the extent to which we have learned to embrace and deeply love all of who we are. Embracing our shadows and character defects~both in their beauty and in their ugliness~means the fullest expression of who we are and who we are not. It allows for us to offer the same acceptance and compassion to others, inviting them out of their own hiding. We offer courage to them as they risk showing themselves, all of themselves, to us. We can offer this to them, however, only to the extent that we have risked exposure ourselves.

Jung suggested that within our shadows, those hidden and repressed parts of ourselves, lie our creativity. Creativity means to bring something into being, into expression and existence. In order to do this with our full self expression and in our own unique way means that we must risk exposing our shadows and those parts of us we keep hidden. It seems a risk worth taking, like befriending the Lioness who becomes our great ally, protecter and one of exceptional beauty.

In exposing our shadows, both dark and bright, we learn to live authentically. We learn to give to others from a place of fullness and deep compassion because we have learned to give to ourselves in these ways.

With love,