"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

Monday, October 25, 2010

Stuffing Feelings or Shutting Down

When one grows up in an addictive and dysfunctional family system, one of the ways we learn to survive is to "shut down" emotionally. We are not able to connect with or verbalize our feelings whether angry, sad, fearful, joyful or shameful. In an addictive and dysfunctional family system, people are getting hurt. Usually the energy in the family revolves around the primary addict or parents and all the other members of the family do what they can to avoid being hurt, sexually abused, verbally or physically attacked or any number of wounded ways the dis-ease affects members of the family. Parents unknowingly and in their own attempt to survive, abuse and use the children in the family to keep their own emotions shut down and feelings stuffed inside. In first entering the world of cosex addiction recovery, we discover our feelings and begin to see how shut down we have been. We use food, shopping, over focusing on our partners, constant striving for perfection, exercise, volunteerism and co-dependent behaviors to stuff our feelings and avoid our own pain.

With recovery and our commitment to emotional and spiritual maturity, we learn about our own feelings and the wisdom they carry. We find others on the journey who understand the language of emotions and we learn how to feel our feelings, rather than stuffing them or acting them out. We find words for expressing our emotions and this teaches us about joy, healing and connection with others.

Our emotions are the keys to our healing; they are our sensors out in the world. Being sensitive to our environment, our internal self and our interactions with others is what allows us mature choices and connections. What we can feel, we can heal.

While stuffing our emotions and shutting down might have been necessary and even wise tools for us to survive the overt and covert dysfunctional dynamics in our families growing up, we know that today we have more choices. We no longer fear our feelings. Our emotions provide us with the connection to our senses and this is a great gift. We learn to be fully expressed, creative and mature woman on the journey together to emotional and spiritual maturity.

Blessings on your journey,


Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Personal Inventory

One of the most powerful tools of 12 step spirituality and any other emotional and spiritual maturity work is taking our own personal inventory.

Using self-reflection as a means for seeing our part in challenging situations as well as our part in manifesting great occurrences in our lives teaches us responsibility, personal choice and humility. As we reflect on our part in our relationships with others, our successes and challenges in the work environments and in all areas of our lives, we can see with detached perspective. We begin to see the consequences of our choices and how they affect our lives; in ways we desire and in ways we do not. From this place of maturity, we can begin to choose behaviors that have the outcomes we desire and let go of old, automatic reactions that no longer serve us in our lives.

Here are some guidelines for using A Personal Inventory as a way to manifest in our lives all that we desire:

1. Self-reflection requires a spiritual connection and partnership. Often in our cosex addiction and self-abuse, we reflect and hurt ourselves. We see mistakes we may have made and old behaviors that resurfaced and beat ourselves up for being stupid or doing the same thing again and again. It is essential that as we look inside to see our part, we bring a loving Higher Power with us as well as someone in recovery that we trust. We can look with compassion at our part and forgive ourselves for mistakes made while at the same time, asking our Higher Power for assistance in changing old behaviors and doing things differently. Don't go inside to the bad neighborhood of your own thinking alone. Bring loving and forgiving energy with you.

2. A personal inventory often leads to an amend. Remember, once we see our part in any given situation, an amends to someone else or ourselves may be in order. Make the amends promptly but do seek a loving partnership with this. Even though our intention to make things right may be good, it may hurt someone else to bring up the situation OR we may hurt ourselves or expose ourselves to more hurt.

3. Amends is most profound when it occurs in a change of behavior, especially when we make amends to ourselves. Perhaps the amends is attending more support groups, ending an abusive relationship or getting a massage once a week. Self-care and nourishing activities are often a great amends we can make to ourselves in our lives. This act of self-love also creates a sense of fullness that allows us to give to others more lovingly as well.

4. Practice self-forgiveness. One of the most challenging aspects of my own emotional and spiritual maturity is learning self-forgiveness. We will not do recovery or new behaviors in our lives perfectly. We will have slips, amends to make ongoingly and challenges in letting go of old behaviors. Learn to have the same kindness and patience with yourself that you might have for a small child learning to walk. Making mistakes, continuing to stay on the path of taking personal inventories and loving ourselves with all of our warts and character defects are the most challenging and rewarding aspects of our journey. Practice self-forgiveness and love.

Love and blessings on your journey,


Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Ecstasy and Joy

Early in our cosex addiction recovery it may seem near impossible to experience ecstasy and joy. Disillusionment, anger, a sense of betrayal and shock are our first senses as denial is broken down and reality sets in. As in nature, there are seasons and natural rhythms in our recovery life. As we remain steadfast on the journey of rigorous honesty and healing, we will begin to embrace the joys of our spiritual journey as well as the obvious challenges.

The word, ecstasy actually translates to mean "standing outside oneself." It is the experience of being able to detach from our own self-centeredness, worry, care taking and control to actually having a view of the world around us. We have a new set of eyes as we no longer try to control and manipulate our world out of fear and shame. We learn to "let go" and trust. We develop a sense of self-esteem based on honesty and authentic connections with ourselves, our Higher Power and others.

Ecstasy and joy become a part of our recovery as we learn to integrate the 12 steps into our lives, deepen our connection to a Higher Power from within and begin to develop our own self-esteem. In embracing our addiction and dis-ease, we find ourselves maturing in new ways and our world begins to expand with new possibilities inside and outside of our relationships with others.

Remember, joy cometh in the morning and dawn follows the darkest nights. Trust the journey of descent and know that honest self-reflection and continued responsibility for our own lives will give way to authentic relationships with self, a Higher Power and others.

Blessings on your journey,