Ask the LifeQuake™ Doctor
Dr. Toni Galardi
As we embark upon the completion of the opening decade of the second millennium, I urge you to take the first two weeks of 2010 to reflect back on the last nine years and write about what you have learned. Where were you in your consciousness at the turn of the century and where are you now? What have you mastered and what still scares you? The subject of addiction since the death of Michael Jackson and the revelation of Tiger Woods’ behavior has provided an opportunity for us all to look at what substances, thoughts, and beliefs we ourselves are addicted to.
Dear Dr. Toni:
I am a 47-year-old executive and I’ve been married to a woman I love for 10 years. Ever since the Tiger Woods story broke, I have been questioning myself as to whether I am a sex addict. I don’t have a bunch of mistresses, but I do spend at least three cumulative hours a day at work looking at porn on the Internet. I am not having an affair with any real live women but something tells me that this isn’t kosher. I was eating lunch in my favorite restaurant near my office when I picked up this magazine and started reading your column. You seem to know something about addiction so I decided to write you.
Should I be worried? Is the mere watching of porn without my wife’s knowledge a problem? And do you qualify to be a sex addict if you are having sex with yourself?
The greatest thing about celebrities being busted for addiction issues is that it really opens up a dialogue about forbidden subjects. Inherent in what makes addiction so destructive is the secrecy it often entails. This brings me to you and your wife. The first step in healing any addiction is admitting you have a problem. As long as your wife is in the dark, there is most likely some shame you have about this behavior.
What makes this sex addiction is not the presence of a real woman, but the absence of honesty. Having sex with yourself is not the issue. Spending three leisurely hours on the Internet during a workday indicates that you are not passionate about your work and are displacing that need for professional passion through a sexual release.
I encourage you to work with a career coach and/or an addiction therapist who can assist you in getting to the root of this compulsion and explore the feelings you are avoiding through sheer pleasure seeking. It might also lead to marital counseling to rebuild the intimacy in your relationship that may have been lost through this addiction.
I also would like to recommend a book that has become the seminal work in the addiction field called Out of the Shadows: Understanding Sexual Addiction by Patrick Carnes, Ph.D., It can be obtained at http://www.amazon.com/Out-Shadows-Understanding-Sexual-Addiction/dp/1568386214
Dear Dr. Toni:
As the year closes, I have been thinking about my life. I know they say that in order to change your life you need to have a new vision of it. I am not a visual person and am having trouble seeing myself inside new circumstances. I contracted an illness as a child that rendered me visually impaired. It has been a hard road but I want to change my belief that my life is doomed to never have a relationship. I would like next year to be different for me. Your thoughts?
Rest assured, James. There are many people who do not process life visually. There are three dominant modes of taking in the world: visually, auditorially, and kinesthetically. People who are predominantly auditory tune into the world through their ears. We see this in musicians or people who have visual impairments. If you process through your hearing, you will listen for messages in how people speak or how your own intuition comes to you. If this is your dominant mode, perhaps the way to experience a new possibility for 2010 is to listen to CDs from people like Eckhart Tolle, Caroline Myss, Deepak Chopra or my own that is called The LifeQuake Method. If you are a music lover, listen to your favorite songs and let them inspire you to hear yourself six months from now telling a friend about all the changes you’ve made in your life since the beginning of the year. This begins to override the old program.
If you are kinesthetic, you process your world through your body. You feel your perceptions on a sensory level. If this is your dominant mode, you might try noticing what experiences in your day-to-day life feel uplifting or energizing. Keep a running list for three weeks and then begin to replicate those experiences more often every day. When you think about changing your life in 2010, think about all of the experiences you have had in your life that brought the feelings you want to have in this new year. Spend five minute a day remembering them and allowing for those feelings to be felt as intensely as possible.
Dr. Toni Galardi is a psychotherapist, career coach, public speaker, and author of The LifeQuake Phenomenon: How to Thrive Not Just Survive in Times of Personal and Global Upheaval. If you have a question you’d like answered, please write to DrToni@LifeQuake.net. For personal consultation, call 310.712.2600.