Freedom from acting in or out in any of our bottom line behaviors


Acting In (via PoSARC)

“like acting out, acting in is a way to dissociate from unbearable internal feelings, a defense mechanism. Prior to acting out sexually, the sex addict goes through a period of mental preoccupation or obsession (usually fantasy, intrigue or the trance state/erotic haze). This mental process (rumination/obsession) obliterates the underlying discomfort of shame, fear, depression, humiliation, hopelessness, rejection and/or anxiety for instance. The sex addict begins to dissociate (moves away from his or her feelings). An internal (within the self) separation begins to take place between his or her mind and his or her emotional self, the nascent uncomfortable feelings are displaced by the acting in ruminations. Usually acting in is engaging in fantasy, intrigue, the dissociative sex addiction trance/erotic haze. Also refers to the purge portion of sexual binging and purging in which the addict is actively fending off sexual thoughts which we refer to as Withholding.”


Acting Out (via PoSARC)

“The outward actions of compulsive sexual behavior, i.e., porn usage, ritualizing, affairs, seductions, intrigues (that involve others), cybersex, use of massage parlors and prostitutes. Acting out is a way to transmute unbearable feelings, (shame, fear, depression, humiliation, hopelessness, rejection and/or anxiety for instance) into outward actions.”


 Bottom Lines

Behaviors that, when acted upon, constitute a relapse in recovery. These are defined by using the 3 circles exercise, preferably with a sponsor.


Charactaristics of Sex and Love Addiction (via

  • Having few healthy boundaries, we become sexually involved with and/or emotionally attached to people without knowing them.
  • Fearing abandonment and loneliness, we stay in and return to painful, destructive relationships, concealing our dependency needs from ourselves and others, growing more isolated and alienated from friends and loved ones, ourselves, and God.
  • Fearing emotional and/or sexual deprivation, we compulsively pursue and involve ourselves in one relationship after another, sometimes having more than one sexual or emotional liaison at a time.
  • We confuse love with neediness, physical and sexual attraction, pity and/or the need to rescue or be rescued.
  • We feel empty and incomplete when we are alone. Even though we fear intimacy and commitment, we continually search for relationships and sexual contacts.
  • We sexualize stress, guilt, loneliness, anger, shame, fear and envy. We use sex or emotional dependence as substitutes for nurturing, care, and support.
  • We use sex and emotional involvement to manipulate and control others.
  • We become immobilized or seriously distracted by romantic or sexual obsessions or fantasies.
  • We avoid responsibility for ourselves by attaching ourselves to people who are emotionally unavailable.
  • We stay enslaved to emotional dependency, romantic intrigue, or compulsive sexual activities.
  • To avoid feeling vulnerable, we may retreat from all intimate involvement, mistaking sexual and emotional anorexia for recovery.
  • We assign magical qualities to others. We idealize and pursue them, then blame them for not fulfilling our fantasies and expectations.


Sexual Anorexia (via Wikipedia)

A term used to describe a loss of “appetite” for romantic-sexual interaction. However, the term is used broadly and can be better defined as a fear of intimacy to the point that the person has severe anxiety surrounding sex with emotional content i.e. in an intimate relationship.


 Sexualization (via Wikipedia)

The American Psychological Association (APA) regards a person as being sexualized in any of the following situations:

  • a person’s value comes only from his or her sexual appeal or sexual behavior, to the exclusion of other characteristics;
  • a person is held to a standard that equates physical attractiveness (narrowly defined) with being sexy;
  • a person is sexually objectified—that is, made into a thing for others’ sexual use, rather than seen as a person with the capacity for independent action and decision making; and/or
  • sexuality is inappropriately imposed upon a person


Three Circles

A tool for defining sobriety/abstinence by establishing top lines, bottom lines, and middle ground/slippery slope behaviors. This is best done with a sponsor. Learn more about the 3 circles here.


Top Lines

Behaviors which support your recovery lifestyle. Self-love, self-care, positive reinforcement.


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