Brother Abdullah was doing all the “right things” in his recovery. He was taking care of himself by having long stretches of time where his unwanted sexual behaviors were absent and his daily self-care rituals were complete. However, after what seemed to be a few successful weeks of recovery, what followed were a series of relapses back to his unwanted sexual behaviors. The question is, why?
Avoidance Of Conflict Leads To More ConflictHis avoidance of an ongoing set of issues with his flatmates such as conflict over their payment of their share of the rent and their mismanagement of household duties led him down to the path of relapse. While this was one conflict, it was a general pattern in his life. His family did not communicate at times of conflict and this was what he had learned growing up.
While brother Abdullah had periods of abstinence, and had the boundaries of self-care, learning how to honor his emotions and face uncomfortable situations in his life were a critical set of skills he needed to developBrother Abdullah’s ways of dealing with conflict were either that he would shut down and avoid the issue by getting really busy with “the right goals,” or he’d have outbursts of anger towards those he was in conflict with, or he would turn to his drug of choice, his unwanted sexual behaviors. What was common amongst all three coping mechanisms was that they were his ways of managing uncomfortable situations. But it was not leading to a resolution. While brother Abdullah had periods of abstinence, and had the boundaries of self-care, learning how to honor his emotions and face uncomfortable situations in his life were a critical set of skills he needed to develop, to get to the next level in his recovery. And this was critical, especially that he was entering into the phase of marriage where it was vital for him to learn how to communicate and resolve problems healthily.