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While attempting to give you some useful information and a broader knowledge base, it must be said that not everything in every book is agreed upon. These recommendations are provided as a starting place to understand sexual addiction and its extensive effects upon a family and its individual members. Take what is useful to your particular situation. An * after the name of a book indicates it is a recommended first reading.
(The quoted portions of the brief summaries below are taken from blurbs on the books themselves.)
Our number one recommendation is the Bible. Be sure to use a translation that you can understand. There are some very good ones out now. You can compare different translations online at various web sites like Crosswalk.com or Bible Gateway.com.
Crosswalk.com is a great resource for a variety of Christian information. They have devotional material as well as a good assortment of Bible Study Tools you can actually use online.
Addiction and Recovery.
- Addicted to Love by Stephen Arterburn
"Stephen Arterburn examines what this addiction looks like, who it
afflicts and what you can do if you suspect that your spouse, friend, or
family member may be suffering from it. With compassion and wisdom, Arterburn points the way to
psychological and spiritual healing." In addition to providing a helpful
and insightful overview of the problems of sex, love and relationship addiction, Addicted to Love outlines practical steps toward recovery.
- Addiction and Grace: Love and Spirituality in the Healing of Addictions by Gerald G. May
"In this inspiring book, Gerald May describes the processes of attachment that lead to addiction and examines the relationship between addiction and spiritual awareness. May details the various addictions from which we suffer—not only to alcohol and drugs, but also to work, sex, performance, responsibility, and intimacy. Drawing on his experience as a psychiatrist working with the chemically dependent, May emphasizes how addiction represents a doomed attempt to assert complete control over our lives. Addiction & Grace is a compassionate and wise treatment of this important topic, offering a critical yet hopeful guide to a place of freedom based on contemplative spirituality."
- Breaking Free: Understanding Sexual Addiction & the Healing Power of Jesus by Russell Willingham
"The essentials [of breaking the pattern of sexual addiction] are spelled out in practical steps that help people begin to break free.
Willingham deals with such issues as: what all addicts have in common, the hunt of the malnourished heart, where to find the courage to face our dark side, wrestling with shame and grace, the healing effect of radical honesty." His message is "Yes! There is hope. Jesus offers forgiveness and healing."
- CyberSex Exposed: Simple Fantasy or Obsession? by Jennifer Schneider and Robert Weiss
"CyberSex Exposed breaks through secrets, deception and isolation to candidly
address the emerging problem of compulsive online sexual behavior. Sharing
stories of addicts and their loved ones, this definitive yet compassionate
portrait of cybersex addiction offers realistic recovery strategies for
anyone experiencing the devastating impact of this addiction on intimacy,
family relationships, career, health, and self-respect."
- Don't Call It Love* by Patrick Carnes
"This essential volume includes not only the revealing finds of Dr. Carnes's research with recovering addicts but also advice from the addicts and co-addicts themselves as they work to overcome compulsive behavior.
Positive, hopeful, and practical, Don't Call It Love is a landmark
book that helps us better understand all addictions, their causes, and the
difficult path to recovery."
- False Intimacy by Harry Schaumburg
"False Intimacy goes beyond behavioral symptoms and willpower-based solutions
to provide biblical guideposts for the journey to restoration. . . . With frank
honesty, False Intimacy examines the roots behind these kinds of behaviors
and offers realistic direction to those whose lives or ministries have been
impacted by sexual addiction."
- Healing the Wounds of Sexual Addiction (formerly titled: Faithful and True) by Mark R. Laaser
"Dr. Laaser offers a path for those who struggle with sexual addiction that
leads beyond compulsive thoughts and behaviors. He gives practical help for
everyone on maintaining sexual integrity, self-control, and wholesome,
- Lonely All the Time by Ralph Earle
"Amid the spate of recent books on sex addiction, this excellent, jargon-free
volume stands out for its clarity. . . . A comprehensive, practical approach to recovery for the addict. Explains what sex addiction
is and how to recover from sex addiction."
- Out of the Shadows* by Patrick Carnes
"With insight and sensitivity, Dr. Patrick Carnes outlines how to identify a
sexual addict, recognize the way others may unwittingly become complicit or
codependent, and change the patterns that support the addiction. Dr. Carnes
examines the tangled web of love, addictive sex, hate, and fear that is
sometimes found in family relationships. He offers a way for addicts and
codependents to deal with their sexual compulsions as well as their whole
life." This is shorter and less scientific than Don't Call it Love for those who prefer a more "easy-to-read" introduction. It also contains a section written for the co-addicted spouse.
- Pure Desire by Ted Roberts
"When someone struggling with sexual sin or addictions comes to you, what do you do? What do you say? . . . Pure Desire will help you tackle the difficult issues of sexual addiction
and pornography with confidence, clarity and with biblical perspective.
Take the lead in this spiritual battle. Help lead people out from the
shadow of sin and into a place where they can develop an intimate
relationship with God-and be restored through the healing love of Christ."
- Sexual Anorexia by Patrick Carnes
"Sexual anorexia, an extreme fear of sexual intimacy and obsessive avoidance
of sex, is as common--though not as widely recognized--as its dysfunctional
parallel, compulsive sexual addiction. In this book, the best-selling author
of Out of the Shadows underscores how the two dysfunctions are different
sides of the same coin."
Recovery for Spouses.
- An Affair of the Mind* by Laurie Hall
This book can frighten many newcomers as she describes how her husband went into very deep, serious, life threatening addiction. It should be noted that although many of our husbands don't go that far, the book as a whole is truly marvelous for explaining sexual addiction, the reasons behind porn, how and why it's harmful, as well as the negative effects of masturbation. The best part of this book is the way she dealt with her emotions and feelings, keeping her eyes on Jesus Christ through all of it.
- The Betrayal Bond by Patrick Carnes
"Exploitive relationships can create trauma bonds--chains that link a victim to someone who is dangerous to them. Divorce, employee relations, litigation of any type, incest and child abuse, family and marital systems, domestic violence, hostage negotiations, kidnapping, professional exploitation and religious abuse are all areas of trauma bonding. All these relationships share one thing: they are situations of incredible intensity or importance where there is an exploitation of trust or power. In The Betrayal Bond Patrick Carnes presents an in-depth study of these relationships, why they form, who is most susceptible, and how they become so powerful. He shows how to recognize when traumatic bonding has occurred and gives a checklist for examining relationships. He then provides steps to safely extricate from these relationships. This is a book you will turn to again and again for inspiration and insight, while professionals will find it an invaluable reference work.
- Boundaries by Henry Cloud & John Townsend
"This book presents a biblical treatment of boundaries, identifies how boundaries are developed and how they become injured, shows Christian misconceptions of their function and purpose, targets areas in our lives that have boundary conflicts, and gives a program for developing and maintaining healthy, biblical limits."
- Bold Love by Dan Allender and Tremper Longman III
"In Bold Love, the authors draw out the aggressive, unrelenting, passionate power of genuine love. Far from helping you "get along" with others, bold love introduces the outlandish possibility of making a significant, life-changing impact on family, friends, coworkers--even your enemies." (We suggest reading the book Boundaries BEFORE reading this one)
- Codependent No More* by Melody Beattie
This is a good introductory book about an issue many of us face -- codependency. Some patterns in codependancy are seen when we try to force others to change, we try to fix other people's problems instead of seeing our own, we are afraid/uncomfortable with saying "no" to anyone, or we find it very difficult to ask for help for ourselves. Since these are issues that are problematic with many spouses of addicts, Codependent No More offers a thorough explanation of these ideas as well as helpful techniques and practices for recovery. Very highly recommended.
- Dance of Anger by Harriet Lerner
"While anger deserves our attention and respect, women still learn to silence our anger, to deny it entirely, or to vent it in a way that leaves us feeling helpless and powerless. In this engaging and eminently wise book, Dr. Lerner teaches women to identify the true sources of our anger and to use anger as a powerful vehicle for creating lasting change." (Although this book is written from a feminist perspective, it does contain some very helpful relational information.)
- From Bondage to Bonding by Nancy Groom
A Biblical perspective on the development of and recovery from codependency. "Nancy Groom deals with the question of codependency in a non-technical manner, dealing with such questions as: What does healthy intimacy with God and others look like? What does Scripture say about self-sufficiency and autonomy? How do you gain the right perspective on self-worth? and What are the benefits--and costs--of true change?"
- Living With Your Husband's Secret Wars* by Marsha Means
This is one of the best introductory books written for wives of sex addicts. It is a simplified book that uses many different examples of the different ways a husband may act out his addiction. It gives a basic explanation of sexual addiction, and also touches on some of our issues such as codependency and recovery from a wife's perspective. It is almost a step-by-step recovery guide for the spouse of an addict.
- Love Must Be Tough by James Dobson
"This book squarely addresses the often overlooked problem of disrespect by carefully demonstrating that at the core of most marital conflicts, lies a vicious kind of indifference that can sabotage a relationship."
- Partners Recovery Guide: 100 Empowering Exercises by Doug Weiss
"This is by far the most practical book for partners of sex addicts. The book comes from over fifteen years of successfully working with partners of sex addicts. This is like therapy in a box for women who want to walk through the residual of being in a relationship with a sex addict."
- Surviving Betrayal: Hope and Help for Women Whose Partners Have Been Unfaithful* by Alice May
365 daily meditations. "The thing that I most like about this book is it is for all of US...married, divorced, single, engaged,etc." This book can either be used as a daily meditation reading or a reference book as specific topics are listed in the back of the book along with page references. Currently much of this book may be read online HERE.
- Torn Asunder by Dave Carder
"There is hope for recovery from the devastation of extramarital affairs. In Torn Asunder, Dave Carder provides an overall recovery process from sexual and non-sexual affairs. He equips you with self-evaluations and exercises."
- Your Sexually Addicted Spouse How Partners Can Cope and Heal* by Barbara Steffens, Ph. D., LPCC, and Marsha Means, MA
"Your Sexually Addicted Partner shatters the stigma and shame that millions of men and women carry when their partners are sexually addicted. They receive little empathy for their pain, which means they suffer alone, often shocked and isolated by the trauma. Barbara Steffens' groundbreaking new research shows that partners are not codependents but post-traumatic stress victims, while Marsha Means' personal experience provides insights, strategies, and critical steps to recognize, deal with, and heal partners of sexually addicted relationships. Firsthand accounts and stories reveal the impact of this addiction on survivors' lives. Chapters end with “On a Personal Note” questions and propose new paths that lead from trauma to empowerment, health, and hope. Useful appendices list health and mental health care providers and clergy."
- You're Already Amazing: Embracing Who You Are, Becoming All God Created You to Be by Holley Gerth
"Women feel enormous pressure to be perfect. To have the perfect body, to be a perfect woman, to have the perfect career, and to have the perfect attitude. All the time.
Like a heart-to-heart talk over coffee, reading this joy-filled book encourages women to forget the lies and expectations the world feeds them, instead believing that God made them for a purpose and that he loves them right now, at this moment, and always. Holley takes readers on a journey of the heart to discover their strengths and embrace all God created them to be."
Recovery for Couples.
- The Act of Marriage by Tim LaHaye
"For engaged couples and newlyweds who want to make lovemaking a joy from the start . . . for couples who have been married for years and want to maintain the flame or rekindle the embers . . . for every husband and wife who wants to be a better lover--here are the insights into each other's bodies, psychosexual makeup, and need for tender, unselfish affection that can help you achieve your goal."
- The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman
"If you express love in a way your spouse doesn't understand, he or she won't realize you've expressed your love at all. . . In The Five Love Languages you will find a couple's guide to help you work as a team.
Before you know it, you'll learn to speak and understand the unique languages of love and effectively express your love as well as feel truly loved in return."
- Making Love Last Forever by Gary Smalley
"From first attraction to lifelong commitment, Gary's proven techniques and practical advice show you how to pursue and keep the love you want, and how to energize your relationship with enduring, passion-filled love."
- Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus by John Gray
"Popular marriage counselor and seminar leader John Gray provides a unique, practical and proven way for men and women to communicate and relate better by acknowledging the differences between them."
- Rebuilding Trust by Jennifer Schneider and Burt Schneider
"Practical help for women involved with sex addicted men. Inspired by personal and professional experience, Dr. Schneider examines codependency as it relates to addiction and addresses the anguish and helplessness that you feel."
- Sex, Lies and Forgiveness by Jennifer Schneider and Burt Schneider
"An honest, compassionate, inside look at the lives of real couples successfully restructuring their relationships in recovery from sexual addiction -- how they did it and how it can be done."
For consideration in Face to Face Groups.
- The 12-Steps: A Spiritual Journey (Tools for Recovery) by Friends in Recovery
You may be able to find a few of these listings at your local library. Just ask. Others are available through local bookstores or you can find most of them at Amazon.com.
For any purchase made on Amazon.com using these specific links, Amazon makes a small donation to NLP!
Or, to help you find our recommended readings easily, we have created our own Amazon Online Store:
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