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Praise

"Pletcher and Bartolameolli are undisputed experts on the subject of co-sex addiction.  They know more about it than anyone I know and have presented  an expose that with great clarity supersedes anything I have read before."

– John Bradshaw

Interview

Q. How did your journey in healing your own co-sex addiction begin?

A. Sally – I had an eating disorder and sought counseling and attended a 12-step meeting for eating disorders. A friend recommended a therapist as well and this person heard some of my story and recommended that I attend co-sex addict’s anonymous meetings. I felt at home from the beginning and began to look at my relationships with men and the deep loneliness and emptiness that I carried inside that I tried to fill with the ‘right’ man.

A. Claudine – For me it began when I hit my own bottom and began to know that something was wrong with all my relationships. I went into treatment and after 28 days of intensive treatment, I began to see that most of my problems could be addressed in my spiritual life. I returned home knowing that I must attend 12-step meetings and continue my journey of healing.


Q. Why do you think a spiritual solution is the answer?

A. Sally and Claudine – When the original founders of Alcoholics Anonymous began the program, they reached out to Dr. Carl Jung in Europe and Dr. Jung encouraged them with the insight that this would have to be a spiritual solution. Personally, I believe that this human journey we are on is all about a spiritual and soulful journey. When we admit that we have an addition, whatever this might be; substance or behavior, we also realize our need and desire for a Spiritual Source, something greater than ourselves and this surrender allows us the deepest and most powerful connection with the Divine, as we perceive this Higher Power.

Up until we both got into 12-step recovery, we were both 'religious' and attended church on Sunday. What we discovered on our recovery journey was that we had both made the sex addicts our 'God' and 'Higher Power'. We both would say that we experienced a 'rebirth' of our spirituality through the 12-steps of Co-sex Addicts Anonymous and developed, for the first time, an authentic, spiritual connection.


Q. What do you believe is one of the greatest benefits of recovery for you?

A. Sally – There are many, but I would say one of the greatest is the ability to have authentic and highly functional relationship with others. I have good boundaries and skills in taking care of myself most especially in my relationships with other people. I am emotionally available to myself and those I choose to be in relationship with.

A. Claudine – My recovery has enabled me to have authentic relationships with myself, my Higher Power, my husband and children and others that I choose, including my family of origin.


Q. How has healing and empowerment around the disease of Co-Sex addiction affected your physical health?

A. Sally – Since I also have had an eating disorder, recovery and the tools and practices of the 12-steps has allowed me to choose healthfully in the arena of physical health.  Also, without the drama and ‘need to control’ that often overrides our co-sex disease, I have vitality and freedom to express my creativity and vibrance. I take great care of my physical self and rarely have physical illness and take positive actions when depression or health issues do arise.

A. Claudine – In my seventy seventh year of life, I realize that without recovery, I would have continued to internalize all of my emotional and trauma issues that caused me to have physical problems such as headaches, fatigue and a general sense of dis-ease. I don't believe that I would even alive if I had not found recovery.


Q. How has healing and empowerment around the disease of Co-Sex addiction affected your relationship with money?

A. Sally – Personally, I had some underearning issues and vagueness around money when I first got into 12 step recovery and as my self-esteem has increased in co-sex addiction recovery, my self care in the financial arena has increased as well. I believe today that I deserve to thrive in all areas of my life including financially and I take the time and effort to be financially sober and to create wealth.

A. Claudine – With recovery, I no longer allowed myself to be a victim in the financial area of our lives. I began to have my voice, get clear about my wants and needs and take financial responsibility in our family. Today I know that my recovery and personal power and voice contribute great value to our lives in many ways including financial arena.


Q. What do you believe is the greatest benefit to your own family and children from your recovery and healing in Co-Sex addiction?

A. Sally – I have so many tools from my recovery that have become a part of my every day living which directly affect my relationship with my children, husband and extended family members. Some of these include using prayer and meditation as guidance and inspiration before reacting and trying to control situations. I also recognize problems more quickly without using denial and discuss how to solve the problems, actions to take and communicate very ‘cleanly’ with my husband when I think it is a family concern. We communicate directly with each other and are clear in our communication with our children encouraging them to have integrity with their word and allowing them the natural consequences of their choices.  The most important gift we give our children, in my opinion, is that we do our own family of origin work so that we do not pass these unresolved issues on to our children and are able to be open to who they really are, what their authentic desires and support them in pursuing their own life goals and dreams. We break the cycle of passing on this disease of co-sex addiction and sex addiction.

A. Claudine – For me, I stopped being codependent and allowed my family members to start to look at their own issues and the consequences of their choices. I often say that the greatest gift you can give your children is allowing them the pain of looking at their own lives. This only happened after my own 12-step recovery. It seems as though there is something even magical that happens when parents get into recovery because so much of children's dysfunction and addictive behaviors get addressed and even cease to exist.


Q. What do you believe is the greatest benefit to your own partnership/marriage relationship from your recovery and healing in Co-Sex addiction?

A. Sally and Claudine – Well, one of the greatest gifts is that both my husband and I work our own recovery program and part of this practice is looking within first and taking responsibility for our part in any upset or difficulty rather than blaming each other and thinking the other is responsible for our pain. We have also learned some very effective and powerful conflict resolution techniques which allow us to get to the heart and soul of a matter and actually create a very safe healing container for our own individual wounds. We also share very authentically with one another and deepen our connection in all ways; sexually, emotionally and spiritually.

Sexually, in both of our partnerships before recovery, we confused sex with love and authentic intimacy.  We know now authentic connection comes first and a great sexual and spiritual connection is born from this intimacy.


Q. What is one of the greatest difficulties encountered in Co-sex addiction recovery?

A. Sally and Claudine – We think that the greatest difficult encountered in our co-sex addiction recovery has to do with confronting the shame that we have carried as victims for our offenders. This includes shame for our sexuality as well as shame for just being a woman, having a voice, taking up space, etc. Confronting shame is the most painful part of this recovery.


Q. What do you believe is one of the most difficult aspects of recovering from sex addiction for men?

A. Sally and Claudine – We think that the greatest difficulty in confronting sex addiction for men is the shame. This shame is around sexual acting out. Also, it is difficult to overcome the conditioning of men in our culture to be 'strong' and not feeling oriented as well as the conditioning that same to be 'macho' means to have sexual conquests. It takes great courage for men to admit they have a problem, need help from other men and be open and honest with their feelings about it all and do their family of origin work.


Q. What do you believe is one of the most difficult aspects of recovering from co-sex addiction for women?

A. Sally and Claudine – We think that the greatest difficulty in confronting co-sex addiction for women is also the shame. We think that women have a hard time giving up the 'victim' role and blaming our partners for our unhappiness. When we do this, we are also admitting that we are responsible for our own lives and no longer dependent upon someone else for our happiness. This also leads us to our family of origin work and doing our grieve work which is very painful as well.


Q. If you had to choose only one, what would you say is the single most important factor to couples breaking their addictive dynamic and creating authentic intimacy and connection with one another?

A. Claudine and Sally – First and foremost, there must be a 'coming out of denial' and admitting there is a problem in the relationship.


Q. What does ‘authenticity’ in relationships mean to you?

A. Claudine and Sally – For us, authenticity is about honesty and openness with one another and the ability to be who we really are. This includes the willingness to confront difficulties in relationships without blaming or shaming the other.  In our sexual relationships, it means our sexual expression as a way to express our authentic emotional and spiritual connection.


Q. What does it mean to ‘restore the Feminine voice to its proper place’?

A. Claudine and Sally – For us, 'restoring the Feminine voice to its proper place' means giving women their voice back, having strong boundaries and the ability to say 'yes' when we mean 'yes' and 'no' when we mean 'no.' It means having our personal power and taking great care of ourselves.


Q. What has been the greatest joy of working together as co-authors on this book?

A. Claudine and Sally – Finally finishing the book and still having affection for each other.


Q. What has been challenging about working together, especially for as long as you have on this book?

A. Claudine and Sally – During the writing of the book, we revisited our own herstories and trauma over and over and over again and this was emotionally draining. We chose to walk through the pain of this co-sex addiction disease in our own lives to get clear and share the wisdom. While the 'birthing' of this book was our greatest joy together, it was also the most difficult as well.


Q. How do you think co-sex addiction affects women’s relationships with each other?

A. Claudine and Sally – We think one of the hidden and most destructive consequences of co-sex addiction in women's relationships with each other is the ways in which women hurt each other.  Women often align with the offenders, we see other women as competition, women have a difficult celebrating each other's successes and gossip and triangulation is also a way women hurt each other.  We also believe that recovery from co-sex addiction for women includes looking at their relationships honestly with their mothers, sister, aunts, etc from their family of origins and how that sets us up for dysfunction and isolation from other women in our adult lives.  Sometimes in our co-sex addiction, we act out these original issues with our sisters in recovery without knowing it.

Q. What do you do in your lives today to keep the dis-ease of co-sex addiction in remission?

A. Claudine and Sally – We use the tools of our recovery on a daily basis; including continued meeting attendance of co-sex meetings, practicing the 12-steps of co-sex addiction in all areas of our lives, reaching out to others in program when we need help and maintaining a strong and vibrant spiritual practice.