Book Review: The Storm of Sex Addiction

The Storm of Sex Addiction: Rescue and Recovery
Connie Lofgreen, MSW, CSAT

I recently sat down with Connie Lofgreen’s 2012 book: The Storm of Sex Addiction. The book masterfully weaves together Lofgreen’s clinical perspective, research data, case vignettes, and ideas for family, couple & individual growth. It’s clear from the start that the author cares deeply for her subject area, and for the people and families who are are impacted by sex addiction.

stormEach of the four parts of Lofgreen’s book has something to offer for the reader, whether a worried partner, a therapist wanting to expand his or her understanding of this area of intervention, or an individual struggling to understand the forces that drive addictive behavior within sexual encounters.

Section One sets the context for the remainder of the book. The prevalence of the problem, and its destructiveness are delineated. Repeatedly, we see the personal, relationship, career and family impacts.

Section Two lays out the context and environment that contributes to the development of high-risk behaviors – that lead, over time, to addictive patterns, rituals, and the disruption of a healthy life. Lofgreen draws together several important threads: trauma & attachment theory, the easy availability of internet sources of sexualized communication and imagery, and the progressive and destructive decline of mental and physical health that results. This is a useful and thought-provoking overview!

Section Three addresses a number of critical elements focusing on treatment and recovery. The reader will come away with an understanding of Lofgreen’s own Starpro intervention program that she conducts in her Omaha, NE outpatient office. Addtionally, she sketches out a realistic collection of therapy and support that anyone who suffers sex addiction should anticipate to use in his or her recovery. You’ll come away knowing that there are no shortcuts.

Each element is explained for its value and benefit to the client. Of particular note, the partners and spouses of the sex addict receive valuable input to assess their own needs, and the viability of the relationship with the addict. Safety, and personal growth, is emphasized. Lastly, there is a chapter in this section that highlights the special category of the clergy – the needs of the addict, the addict’s family, and his or her congregation.

Section Four reprises the societal and technological realities that we face today – the same ones that allow us to work remotely and communicate across the world instantaneously also bring us the potential of isolation, avoidance, false intimacy, addictive responses and patterns, along with the degradation of self, career, and relationships we all need. Lofgreen outlines a framework for child growth, development and safety through engaged, thoughtful, intentional parenting.

The book closes with a useful collection of resources for anyone wanting to go deeper into the subject. For the addict and family, additional books and sources of help. For the clinician, the reader will find additional sources of material related to addiction, attachment, and training.

This book is very readable, interesting, and draws you in to learn more. Those struggling with understanding their own addictive behavior, family members of the addict, and therapists who encounter sex addiction in their own practices would all do well to open up this volume. The ideas are useful and digestible – I found them reprised in my thoughts as I saw clients while in the midst of reading. I’m sure that this will continue, as well.

Find the book on Amazon here.