Abstract This critical review will attempt to summarize the book Healing the Wounds of Sexual Addiction written by, Dr. Mark R. Laaser. Highlighting all the central themes and giving an in-depth analysis of Dr. Laasers work on the subject of sexual addiction. It will give his perspective and evidence to support it from the book and other sources. In this review you will find that Dr. Laaser has added valuable insight to the subject on a personal level. It will also show how Dr. Laasers faith comes into play, being that the book is written from a Christian point of view using a Biblical worldview. This review will show that the book can and should be used by lay and professionals alike when dealing with those who suffer from the pain and sin of sexual addiction. Keywords: sexual addiction, worldview
Summary Dr. Mark Lassers book Healing the Wounds of Sexual Addiction gives hope for those who are in the throes of sexual addiction and those who suffer with them. Laaser feels that this book is important because of the pain and desperation that he experienced from sexual addiction; he now wants to share what he has learned about the power of the Lord and healing. In this book he relates how sexual addiction has grown to epidemic proportions (Laaser, 2004, pp.17). The internet has been the source of much of that growth, with a bevy of materials of a sexual nature being readily available to everyone with computer access. The internet has just what they are looking for in the form of pornography for sexual gratification and release. Those who are not seeking this are also bombarded with unwanted pop-ups advertising sexual related materials.
Mark Laaser writes about the secret sin, it is one often times not seen or heard, sexual addiction. He feels that it starts in childhood continuing into adolescence, where it is most time seen as a normal developmental phase. When the person reaches adulthood untreated it becomes worse over time, if left along it could lead to death. He feels that it is an addictive disease that has been around since the beginning of time. It has been misnamed and has gone undiagnosed for centuries, there still is a few who does not believe in its existence (Lasser, 2004, pp.15). With this book Laaser hopes to address this issue with Christians, bringing to the forefront a problem that has plagued the Christian community for hundreds of years (Lasser, 2004, pp.16). This is problem that has been whispered about, causing many to leave their faith and seek other means of peace. There is much shame and disgrace for the person and their family, so it is hidden from all. With sound help and education the healing process starts.
Major themes of Healing the Wounds of Sexual Addiction are listed below with explanation: Part 1: What is Sexual Addiction?
Here you will find that sexual addiction is a sin.
That fantasy, pornography and masturbation are building block behaviors. The types of sexual addiction: cyber, prostitution, rape and incest etc. Understanding and identifying characteristics of sexual addiction. Part 2: The Roots of Sexual Addiction (how and why) sexual addiction happens. Unhealthy family dynamics: boundaries, rules, roles and addictions Family abuse: emotional, physical, sexual and spiritual
How sex addicts cope with abuse: escape and codependency
Part 3: Healing the Wounds of Sexual Addiction
The journey of healing
Confronting the sex addict: one on one intervention and group intervention Treatment issues in sexual addiction
Healing for couples: important and critical issues that face couples Part 4: Healing the Wounds of the Church
Sexually addicted Pastors and priests: characteristics of their sexual addiction Healing for the congregations: primary victims and secondary victims (Lasser, 2004) The information provided in this book is a detailed look at the problem of addiction and the hope of recovery. Laaser wrote this book to educate the church (Laaser, 2004, pp.223).
Analysis Mark Laasers point of view is one that comes from suffering from the secret sin of sexual addiction and being a Christian enjoying the life of recovery. He approaches this subject with a Biblical worldview, this is appropriate because we all fall short with sin. God offers help with His Word to break free of addiction in 1 Corinthians, 6:18 it said Flee fornication. Every sin that a man doeth is without the body; but that he committeth fornication sinneth against his own body (Bible KVJ). In the book Healing the Wounds of Sexual Addiction he exhibits his faith for the readers to see. This in turn makes the Christian comfortable enough to read the text and get an understanding. Many experts have found that 10% of Christians in America are sexually addicted.
If this is a fact then a congregation with 500 members would mean that 50 of them are sex addicts. Experts say that the percentages are on the rise. Two-thirds of all Christian men admitted to watching pornography as well as 40% of Pastors (Laaser, 2004, pp.15). The church can no longer ignore this problem, families cannot duck in shame this has to be addressed and this book is Mark Laasers way of doing just that. Laaser knows that there is no cure for sexual addiction but expresses that it is an ongoing process on a day to day basis.
That this is a healing process not a cure, addicts must deal with their demons and have a Spiritual healing (Laaser, 2004, pp.223). This Spiritual healing is part of the process that Laaser writes about within the church and the part that they should play. The role of the Christian community is one of healing and hope for those sexually addicted. The church should create an environment of safety, welcome and honesty for them, since sexual addiction is one of loneness. Sexually addicted people need to be held accountable this is another role of the church (Hinson, 2009, pp.53). All these views are shared by Laaser and many others in the Christian community. This is strong evidence that Laaser is on track with this book and his ideas. When researched sexual addiction in the Christian community you will find that Laaser is a resounding voice which is use often and his views shared by many. Laaser said to provide support for the sexually addicted is not easy but very doable. To help the individual, he promotes giving them the help to overcome inappropriate coping mechanism and behaviors. Compassion and empathy must be present in those giving the help. When dealing with the addicted person, we cannot be judgmental or make assumptions about them, but give them what God gave us, love and acceptance.
Laaser writes that the addict needs to want to get well before you attempt to help them. Then you must establish accountability for the addict, a Spiritual journey of rebirth is required to let old sin and self pass away to be able to experience a new life. This is a long process one that takes a life time of being ever watchful of your actions. Laaser outlines individual and group addiction intervention strategies that are based on a Biblical model of discipline in the Gospel in the book of Matthew. This model targets the building blocks of addiction with a 90 day abstinence contract in force (Laaser, 2004. pp.149). The outcome depends totally on the work that the addict puts into they can heal if they desire it. This book is written in a straight forward manner it pulls no punches and the reader is pulled into the commentary. This is an excellent book for those in need of information pertaining to sexual addiction and how to recover from it. The reader can almost feel the care and love that went into writing the book even if they are not Christian.
Conclusion With much research, I have concluded that Laaser is on to something that is heaven sent and wonderful in the field of sexual addiction. He lays his faith and innermost thoughts out for all to see, you can see the care that he took with this book. He writes from the left side of addiction as a person who has been there and knows what it takes to heal. A passive approach is not the way that gives us this book nor should we use it passively. The information provided in this book is factual. I have a friend who has suffered the hurt of sexual addiction and Laasers books and model were used in her treatment. You could honestly see the rebirth she had over a course of a year. This works and I personally would recommend anyone who is suffering or in the field to buy it and keep it close. I feel also that sexual addiction is as a disease where alcoholism was 50 years ago.
This is not even listed as a condition in the American Psychiatric Associations Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. Experts are not in agreement that problematic sexual behaviors should be classified as an addiction. They all seem to agree with Laaser that the behaviors are about shame and low self-esteem. I feel that Laasers book takes the right tone and approach, one of love, concern and action to deal with the problem. This book is offering a solution to healing the healthy Godly way. I find that the Spiritual aspects of the book to be for all who read it. When he relate the story about Nehemiah rebuilding Jerusalem after it was destroyed, I saw the correlation of sexual addiction destroying lives both to be rebuilt by the Lord. All I all it will be my go to book in my professional career and I will present it to the church as a tool of guidance for those in need.
References Laaser, R. M., (2004) Healing the Wounds of Sexual Addiction. Zondervan, Grand Rapids, Michigan 49530
Hinson, W. R. & Parker, D., (2009) Sexual Addictions: Problems and solutions for the Christian community, 17, 1, Art, 12, Leaven