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"Intimate" Violence against Women3 NBS of Julian DrewA Little PregnantA Natural History of RapeA Parent's Guide to Asperger Syndrome and High-Functioning AutismA Stir of BonesAbout a BoyAdult Children of Emotionally Immature ParentsAgainst MarriageAgainst MarriageAlmost a PsychopathAlone TogetherAnatomy of LoveAngelsAnother CountryAnxious ParentsApples and OrangesBe Honest--You're Not That Into Him EitherBeing the Other OneBetrayed as BoysBeyond AddictionBipolar DisorderBoys Will Put You on a Pedestal (So They Can Look Up Your Skirt)Breaking ApartBrief Adolescent Therapy Homework PlannerBringing Up ParentsBut I Love HimCaring for a Child with AutismCaring in Remembered WaysCherishmentChildren of the Aging Self-AbsorbedChildren of the Self-AbsorbedChildren, Families, and Health Care Decision MakingClawsCloserCold HitCoping With Difficult PeopleCouple SkillsCruddyDancing in My NuddypantsDivorce PoisonDoing ItDone With The CryingEcstasyEmotional ClaustrophobiaEmotional Fitness for IntimacyEmotional Intelligence at WorkEntwined LivesErotic PassionsEssentials of Premarital CounselingEvery Pot Has a CoverFacts About ADHD ChildrenFamilies Like MineFamilyFamily BoundFamily FirstFear of IntimacyFinal JeopardyFind MeFlashpointFor Lesbian ParentsForgive Your Parents, Heal YourselfGandhi's WayGeorgia Under WaterGetting over Getting MadGetting the Love You WantGetting the Love You Want Audio CompanionGirl in the MirrorGirl StuffGoing Home without Going CrazyHandbook of AttachmentHandbook of Counseling and Psychotherapy with Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual ClientsHappiness Sold SeparatelyHard to GetHe's Just Not That Into YouHealing ConversationsHollow KidsHot ButtonsHot Chocolate for the Mystical LoverHow Families Still MatterHow to Create Chemistry with AnyoneHow to Give Her Absolute PleasureHow to Handle a Hard-To-Handle KidHow to Keep Your Teenager Out of Trouble and What to Do If You Can'tI am Not Sick I Don't Need Help!I Don't Know How She Does ItI Hate You-Don't Leave MeI Only Say This Because I Love YouI'm OK, You're My ParentsIn the Mood, AgainInside the American CoupleIntrusive ParentingIt's Called a Breakup Because It's BrokenIt's Love We Don't UnderstandJakarta MissingKeeping Passion AliveKeeping Your Child in MindLet's Get This StraightLiberation's ChildrenLife's WorkLikely to DieLove JunkieLove SickLove Times ThreeLove Works Like ThisLoving Someone With Bipolar DisorderLoving Someone with Borderline Personality DisorderLust in TranslationMaking the RunMaking the RunManic DepressionMars and Venus - Starting Over.Mating in CaptivityMom, Dad, I'm Gay.MotherstylesMurder in the InnMysterious CreaturesNecessary NoiseOdd Girl OutOpenOpening to Love 365 Days a YearOphelia's MomOrgasmsOur Journey Through High Functioning Autism and Asperger SyndromeOut of the DustOvercoming Your Difficult FamilyParenting and the Child's WorldParenting on the GoParenting Your Out-Of-Control TeenagerParents and Digital TechnologyParents Do Make a DifferencePassionate MarriagePlanet JanetPreventing Misbehavior in ChildrenProblem Child or Quirky Kid?Raising AmericaRaising ElijahRaising Kids in an Age of TerrorRaising Kids in the 21st CenturyRaising Resilient ChildrenRay's a LaughRelationship RescueRelax, It's Just SexRespect-Me RulesRomantic IntelligenceRoom For JSecrets of a Passionate MarriageSelf-NurtureSelfish, Shallow, and Self-AbsorbedSex Addiction: The Partner's PerspectiveShidduch CrisisSickenedSingleSlut!Socrates in LoveSomeone Like YouSong for EloiseSpecial SiblingsSpiritually Healing the Indigo Children (and Adult Indigos, Too!)Staying Connected to Your TeenagerStaying Sane When Your Family Comes to VisitStop Arguing with Your KidsStop SignsStop Walking on EggshellsStop Walking on EggshellsStrong, Smart, & BoldSummer of the SkunksSurviving a Borderline ParentTaking Charge of AngerTelling SecretsThank You for Being Such a PainThe Anti-Romantic ChildThe AwakeningThe Bastard on the Couch CDThe Birth of PleasureThe Brief Couples Therapy Homework Planner with DiskThe Bully Action GuideThe Burden of SympathyThe Commercialization of Intimate LifeThe CorrectionsThe Couples Psychotherapy Treatment PlannerThe DisappearanceThe Dream BearerThe Educated ParentThe Emotional RevolutionThe Employee Assistance Treatment PlannerThe EpidemicThe Ethics of ParenthoodThe Ethics of the FamilyThe Gay Baby BoomThe Good DivorceThe Guide for International Intercultural Couples and Families Intercultural MarriageThe Healing Journey for CouplesThe Hostile HospitalThe Husbands and Wives ClubThe Inside Story on Teen GirlsThe Introvert AdvantageThe Little FriendThe Love HexagonThe Moral Intelligence of ChildrenThe Neuroscience of Human RelationshipsThe New I DoThe Normal OneThe Nurture AssumptionThe OASIS Guide to Asperger SyndromeThe Other ParentThe Philosophical ParentThe Psychology of Parental ControlThe Real Rules for GirlsThe Reflective ParentThe Right to Be ParentsThe Secret Lives of WivesThe Spider and the BeeThe State of AffairsThe StepsThe Story of My FatherThe Velveteen FatherThe Virgin BlueThe Visitation HandbookThe Whole ChildTo Have and To Hurt:Two Is EnoughUnderstanding MarriageUnderstanding the Borderline MotherUnhitchedUp in FlamesWe've Got IssuesWhat about the KidsWhat Goes UpWhat Is Secular Humanism?What It Means to Love YouWhat Our Children Teach UsWhen a Parent is DepressedWhen Mars Women DateWhen Someone You Love Is BipolarWhen Someone You Love Is DepressedWhy Are You So Sad?Will You, Won't You?WomanWorking With Emotional IntelligenceWorried All the TimeYes, Your Teen Is Crazy!
Addiction is by its very nature a
tricky thing, as most people realize. It is, psychologically speaking,
extremely difficult to identify a true need (air) versus a perceived need
(alcohol), because to the addict, it all feels about the same. No air/die. No
alcohol/die? When the perceived need is sex, which is after all a biological
urge programmed into our very DNA, the situation is compounded.
Sue William Silverman learned this
lesson only too well. Following a childhood of molestation by her father, she
equated sex with love. She figured that if her father loved her and her father
demanded sex from her, the only way anyone else would love her would be if she
gave them sex, and so, following this scenario to its logical conclusion,
anyone she was having sex with must love her. Those enraptured, intense
feelings she felt during sexual intercourse that was love. Right?
To her immense credit, Silverman
eventually figured out that there was something wrong with the whole set-up.
She began to see a therapist largely, it seems, because of the eating
disorders she also suffered from and gradually, opened up to him. And although she understood his words
("For months, like a mantra, my therapist has told me, "These men are
killing you." I don't know if he means emotionally, spiritually of
physically.") and understood that she had a problem, she was unable to
stop herself from the repeating pattern of her sickness.
"Every Thursday at noon I have
sex with Rick in room #213 of the Rainbow Motel. Today, even though I promised
my therapist I wouldn't come here again, I pull into the lot
" she writes.
She simply cannot resist sex, "a sweet amnesiac." Therefore, at her
therapist's urging, she checks herself into a treatment facility.
Love Sick is an account of
her twenty-eight day stay. The first chapter of the book is titled "Last
Day Out," and each subsequent chapter is a day, through the final
installment, "First Day Out." She chronicles the high points and
black moments of her treatment with absolute candor and disarming humor. With
the other women in her unit, she attends counseling sessions and groups based
on AA's 12-Step approach, and she writes it all down. Some of them are
resistant one patient who refuses to eat is a macabre presence, strolling the
halls in silence with her IV pole and some are downright rebellious, like
Sue's roommate Jill, who checks herself out on Day Two. Their pain and
resistance to change is not easy reading by any means, but anyone who has ever
experienced the power of an addiction, whether to sex, drugs, alcohol,
gambling, adrenaline or whatever, will understand.
In "First Day Out," she
rehashes what she learned from the program, and considers the many challenges
ahead of her. For a woman who has never known normality, thinking about what
her normal life will be like is not easy. But her time in the program and the
one-on-one sessions with her therapist has given her hope for the future. She
recognizes the danger of relapse will be ever present. But with the help of her
new support network, she vows to keep trying. She sets her new goals: "I
must find comfort in these ordinary messages, normal people, everyday things. I
must accept that the ordinary isn't boring, that the everyday can be
Your readers are with you, too,
Sue. Good luck, and thank you for your most moving memoir.
© 2002 April Chase
Chase is a freelance journalist and book reviewer who lives
in Western Colorado. She is a regular contributor to a number of publications,
including The Business Times of Western Colorado and Dream Network Journal.