David Duchovny, two-time Golden Globe Award-winning American television and film actor, best known for his roles as FBI Special Agent Fox Mulder on The X-Files, has entered a rehabilitation center for sex addiction, according to The Associated Press and the New York Times. The details of his "addiction" weren't released, nor what specifically led up to his entering "rehab."

Here's a definition of Addiction from Wikipedia:

"In medical terminology, addiction is a state in which the body relies on a substance for normal functioning and develops physical dependence, as in drug addiction. When the drug or substance on which someone is dependent is suddenly removed, it will cause withdrawal, a characteristic set of signs and symptoms. Addiction is generally associated with increased drug tolerance. In physiological terms, addiction is not necessarily associated with substance abuse since this form of addiction can result from using medication as prescribed by a doctor. However, common usage of the term addiction has spread to include psychological dependence. In this context, the term is used in drug addiction and substance abuse problems, but also refers to behaviors that are not generally recognized by the medical community as problems of addiction, such as compulsive overeating. The term addiction is also sometimes applied to compulsions that are not substance-related, such as problem gambling and computer addiction. In these kinds of common usages, the term addiction is used to describe a recurring compulsion by an individual to engage in some specific activity, despite harmful consequences to the individual's health, mental state or social life."

Okay, I'm going to go out on a limb here. In the 1970's and early 80's, I worked as a social worker with a lot of addicts, from different backgrounds, in a variety of settings. Since the late 1980's/early 1990's, however, the use of the term addiction has become so commonplace that it now seems to describe almost every type of compulsive behavior and acting out (see above), and in many instances, is used as a public mea culpa that abdicates responsibility for almost any aberrant behavior. "My addiction made me do it" has now replaced "The devil made me do it." (I guess that's a certain amount of progress?) Today, you can not only be addicted to drugs, alcohol or tobacco, but you can be addicted to work, to sex, to exercise, to video games, even to praise. (I don't know, can you be addicted to life?)

The truth is, "having an addiction" even became de rigeur in many circles. You hadn't really had a dramatic life if you'd never been addicted to anything. How boring. As a result of the the fact that "being addicted" became so acceptable as an explanation for so much, it has been easy for people to become attached to their identities as "addicts," even years and decades after they've successfully stopped that particular mode of acting out. Although I certainly have supported many patients who participate in Twelve-Step programs over the years, one of the problems I always had with the ideology was that one was permanently "in recovery," but could never be considered "recovered." This is a problem because in subtle and not-so-subtle ways, it implies a permanent state of illness that can't be cured, and also dictates an ongoing requirement not to totally trust oneself and one's desires. That interferes with self-actualization past a certain point because identifying yourself in general with anything is a dysfunction of the ego, let alone identifying yourself with an illness.

As for David Duchovny, well, he may have a problem around sex. He once said this: "Sex is great, but it's never as great as it was when you were a kid, when it was a mystery." That's a definite red flag of a statement. In reality, sex should get better and better as you progress through life. If David is not experiencing it that way, though, it could surely lead him to compulsively and desperately pursuing sex in a way that could be described as "addictive."

The good news is that the "secret" is starting to come out: there are many people who have overcome their addictions, and who, after years of sobriety have revisited their old favorite substances or behaviors and found that they could now either indulge with moderation, or that they had lost their taste for the former "drug of choice" altogether. (Though I hope in David's case, he doesn't lose his taste permanently for sex.) In other words, and inevitably it's through a process of self-work in addition to the good work of Twelve-Step programs when needed, one can become unattached to an outer identity to define oneselves. That releases a lot of creative and loving energy, and is where any full-spectrum healing process leads.

Good luck on your journey, David.


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