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Our Support System

As we are approaching some of the biggest games of the year, I wanted to take a few minutes and discuss our teams when dealing with sexual addiction. I want to point out some pitfalls and explain some of the roles when identifying our team.

On a team there are many different roles that are necessary for the players to perform their best. The players themselves must put in full effort.

They must push themselves day in and day out. They must take advice and be able to make adjustments to perform at their best. Coaches bring their wealth of experience and an outside perspective to the players. Some of the best coaches are former players.

They have been in the game and understand the determination and dedication needed to excel.

Due to the coaches experience and perspective they are able to see patterns and weaknesses that the players may not see. The coach can give corrections and guidance to the athlete, but it is up to the athlete to make the needed modifications.

Sometimes it can be hard for the player to understand and realize how to implement the corrections the coach is giving. Sometimes it takes the coach pointing out the same issue in multiple different situations before the players can make the needed correction.

Our Support System

There are other players who work with, support and provide opposition during practice.

If key players on the team do not give their all it can bring down the team’s performance, but if the team rallies to support one another it is a wonderful thing.

Players have bad days, and days where they just do not feel like giving their all. As part of a team, team mates can help to strengthen and motivate one another.

When one of the team is down a good team rallies around the player who is down and pulls them through because at some future time they may be down and need the team to bring them up. The team should not beat down and shame the struggling athlete.

There are trainers and other support personnel who make sure the athletes have the necessary equipment and gear. They make sure that the athlete is taped up and ready for the game. They take care of any injuries during and after the game, but they are not actually involved in the plays.

The fans are often the reason for the game.

The athletes love competing and seeing the fans. The fans’ support brings focus and strength. Hearing the fans as the game progresses can be great motivation, but the fans are not on the field.

The fans often have opinions about how the game should be played, but they are not in the game or on the field. The fans may not understand what has happened in practice or the coaches vision for the game and season.

This can lead the fans to question why choices are made on the field. Fans sometimes need to realize they may not have the full picture of the game.

As such the fans are important to the game and are greatly invested in the outcome of the game and the season, but they do not take the place of the players or the coach in the game.

When dealing with addiction we can relate this to the players of the aforementioned team.

The addict is a rookie player on the team.

They come into a program with a structure they may not understand and new plays of goals, drills and accountability. They are young and inexperienced.

Sometimes they come in with unreal expectations of both themselves and the team. Those first few practices can be very hard as they come into the team and find out where they fit.

There are new plays and a new language in the team.

Our Support System

But as the season progresses the rookie realizes how they fit into the team and hopefully realizes how they can support and strengthen the team. Often the rookie looks to the wrong places for guidance and support.

The rookie has to adjust to the coach and to the training program.

For the athlete to excel and play at their best they have to learn to trust and fully dedicate themselves to the plays, the coach and the other players on the team.

Only half heartedly running the plays will not bring the expected results and can lead to injury. The athlete has to learn to put full focus in on every play of practice and every play of the game. As the navy seals say you do not rise to the occasion you fall to the level of your training.

If we do not consistently practice and focus on the practice we will not perform as we are capable. Each new player has to come to understand who he is and why he wants to play the game.

When an athlete is playing for others rather than himself it can be very hard to stay motivated when things get tough. The quicker a player can find his own reason to play and believe that he is worth performing at his best the better.

The coaches are the mentors, coaches, sponsors, and therapists related to the recovery program that the addict is working.

The coaches have studied the game for years and are able to give specific insights. Some coaches work with specific portions of the game while others focus more broadly. Some coaches work with conditioning and others on special teams.

Many of the coaches are former players who have achieved some form of mastery of the game.

Due to their years of playing they can often see patterns and weaknesses that the players do not see. They have a deeper understanding of the plays and the program and have seen it implemented by many different players.

They have found the tricks and tips that work and the things that don’t.

When the players are dedicated to the coach and the program the plays are successful. When the players are not invested in the program the plays can fail.

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The coaches try to give the players the tools and vision to win the game.

The coaches try to point out the pitfalls in the path and help the addict prepare to deal with or avoid them.

The coach then works with the addict to practice the tools again and again until they are familiar with them and are able to use them effectively. 

As a player’s recovery progresses it is not uncommon for weaknesses to be uncovered and imbalances to be identified. Due to this it is often necessary to bring in specialty coaches to deal with specific weaknesses and imbalances.

It can be hard to find the right fit with specialty coaches for things like past trauma and neglect that are often at the root of addiction. Therapists with special training and certifications are often required. How the player and the coach relate to each other can be very important.

The trust between player and coach plays a large role in how the training progresses. It is important to find a coach who has the skills, connection and vision for the player.

When dealing with addiction many men want to use their wives or spiritual leaders for help and support for their addiction. This can lead to many pitfalls and struggles for both the addict and spouse especially.

Many spiritual leaders do not have the training necessary to do much more than give support. For this reason it is often recommended that the addict should turn to their coaches who understand addiction and have traveled the path before.

Turning to others who have traveled the path or have specific training and understand the journey can strengthen the addict through the journey and help them realize they are not alone.

Lets first discuss the drawbacks of using your spouse for support when triggers and temptations come.

First, most spouses are not trained and do not understand addiction.

This lack of understanding of addiction can make the communication very hard  and leave the addict feeling that they are not understood. It can also leave the spouse very confused about who this person that they are dealing with is.

The spouse is also dealing with their own hurt and confusion.

This leaves them on edge and unable to give any support. This can be likened to the husband trying to lean on his wife for support when she has 2 shattered legs and a broken back.

While the spouse may be trying to give the best advice they know the tools and advice are wholly inadequate for the addict.

When the addict tries and uses the advice and tools given and they do not work both partners can feel that they just are not good enough and that nothing works.

As well, the spouse who has tried so hard can be further hurt and feel betrayed that all of their work was not enough. In this instance the spouse can feel like they have lost twice.

Once that they were unable to help their spouse then that the spouse betrayed them.

When a spouse can be supportive of the addict they should be used as a fan not the coach of the team or as a trainer. When a spouse is dealing with betrayal trauma they are in no place to cheer on or even support the addict in recovery.

hurt soccer player on field

The betrayed spouse has to work on their own healing and can not act as a support or cheering section for the addict.

The spouse while dealing with their own wounds can not be asked to prop up and support the player on the field.

They need to stay a good distance from the field to avoid any further injury.

Like the fan who is invested in the outcome of each game the spouse can not be on the field and involved in all of the plays on the field. When a player tries to bring the fan on the field they risk seriously injuring the fan. 

Another pitfall regarding spouses is when the player makes the spouse responsible for their recovery.

This looks like asking our spouse to set boundaries for us or make sure that we are not tempted. The player has to learn self control and learn to govern themselves.

When the player does this it is similar to asking someone else to do your practice or do your conditioning. When the player goes into the game they will be out of shape and unprepared. The player will often fail. This often leads them to blame their spouse for not protecting them enough.

For real recovery to happen the player has to be invested in their own performance. While extra support and protection may be required in the beginning as the player learns the plays and becomes accustomed to the game they do not lead to long term success.

Players can also not blame the fans when they do not cheer loudly enough or when they even boo. Fans may not understand the game and can be critical of players’ performance.

That does not give the player license to quit or throw the game. When the player tries to make the fans responsible for his performance he will have a very short career.

Spiritual leaders should be used as the athletic trainers for the team. They are able to help treat injuries and provide spiritual and physical support to help the players remain healthy and in the game.

Unless the spiritual leader has extensive specialized training they often do not understand the specialized plays used in the game or their importance.

They will not understand the nuances of the plays. When the trainers try to coach the players it can lead to the player getting injured.

When a spiritual leader gives guidance for combating addiction without understanding the feelings, brain chemistry and compulsion involved in addiction they can give advice that does not work or is only mildly effective.

When the player uses this advice and it does not work this can lead to shame and further feelings of unworthiness that injures the player and can take him out of the game.

The athletic trainers are vitally important as they give support and spiritual guidance and point the players to listen to and focus on the coaches and the plays.

Trainers can help motivate the players to give their all in practice and put in the work to study the play books. The trainers can also add an additional layer of accountability and can cheer and motivate the player as they grow and progress.

They are able to strengthen and help to rehabilitate the players between plays and between games, but they are not on the field or in the game.

Only when the players work together and focus on the coaches and performing the plays and their roles can the entire team win and the new rookie progress to eventually become a leader and perhaps a coach for future teams.  

To get training and instruction on how to improve communication, empathy, emotional intelligence, and connection in a relationship when a spouseis hurting and in pain due to betrayal trauma, join the “Betrayal Trauma for Men” online workshop.

Betrayal Trauma for Men workshop information

Article written by Seth Bowman, Life Changing Services mentor and Personal Warrior Trainer

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