Time to reclaim sexual health

By | October 17, 2012

I don’t know if I was ever able to look that dad straight in the eye after that day.

What I didn’t know then is that addiction to pornography is very prevalent in society. It affects many, many families. It hurts marriages and relationships. And it has many intelligent and good people in its grip — like my former neighbor, I guess.

As Bishop David Ricken wrote in The Compass on Oct. 21, 2011, “It’s very important to understand that those who become trapped in pornography addiction and other unwanted sexual behaviors are not evil, broken or a lost cause. In fact, the profile of an Internet pornography addict is intelligent, sensitive and spiritual. There’s a logical brain-science explanation behind their struggles.”

As with any addiction — for that matter, any habit — the chemicals of our brains are involved. The brain is awash in hormones and electrical synapses: chemicals like dopamine, endorphin and norepinephrine. They are triggered by pleasurable experiences such as eating chocolate, or by pleasure/pain experiences like the muscle aches and sense of accomplishment that come from running a marathon, or, unfortunately, by viewing pornography.

So how do we deal with sexual addictions tied to these brain chemicals? That’s the purpose behind a new ministry endorsed by Bishop Ricken and based in the Green Bay Diocese. RECLAiM Sexual Health “is an anonymous, online recovery program that helps struggling individuals break free from pornography addiction and other unwanted sexual behaviors,” according to its website, reclaimsexualhealth.com.

Started by Jeannie and Bruce Hannemann of Elizabeth Ministry International in Kaukauna, RECLAiM combines the brain science techniques outlined by Candeo, a secular program that retrains the brain to help end sexual addictions, with Catholic teachings, especially theology of the body. Bruce himself struggled with addiction to pornography, which spiraled out of control after his father’s death in 2000. Candeo helped him overcome that addiction. And he and Jeannie then wanted to help others in the same way.

RECLAiM’s content was developed with the help of two priests: Fr. Robert Sirico and Fr. Anthony Percy. On Oct. 26 and 27, the Hannemanns, Bishop Ricken and Fr. Sirico will be part of a two-day national conference: “Reclaiming God’s Plan for Sexual Health,” sponsored by RECLAiM at Liberty Hall in Kimberly. The conference will not only explain how brain chemistry works in addiction, but also offer insights for families wanting to protect children, themselves, and even baby sitters, from the consequences of sexual addictions.

Sexual addiction is about more than a dirty magazine; it’s about isolation, guilt, shame and fear. It separates people from those they love and from God. Part of the RECLAiM Sexual Health conference will be prayer, including a prayer for healing by Bishop Ricken. There will also be a pilgrimage to the Shrine of Our Lady of Good Help in Champion and the National Shrine of St. Joseph in De Pere. Mary and Joseph were a married couple who dealt with the societal pressures of their day; asking for their help and prayers to overcome sexual addictions seems a natural move.

For more information and to register go to www.reclaimsexualhealth.com or call Elizabeth Ministry International at (920) 766-9380.

Related Posts

Scroll to Top