I am in recovery from Alcohol and drugs. I find myself replacing these by acting out with deviant sexual behaviour and being filled with all the guilt and shame surrounding these acts. Then I pray and focus on my spiritual condition and cease the self-destructive activities for a while, only to fail again. This binging and purging is taking it's toll. How can I break this vicious pattern of behaviour?
What you have shared brings up a lot of compassion within me.
We become addicted to substances like drugs and alcohol as a way to avoid the pain and isolation we are carrying within us from the past. Most of it can be traced to our childhood relationship with our parents. What kind of abuse did you endure as a child? What kind of wounds are you carrying? How much have you repressed those feelings? It is very difficult to overcome addiction and you have done well to come as far as you have with that.
Deviant sexual behavior is very similar. It is an outcome of not wanting to feel the feelings. When you repress feelings, you disconnect within yourself. It heightens the sense of separation and alienation that you are already feeling at an unconscious.
I would hazard a guess that the more you are feeling isolated in your life, the more likely it is that you will be drawn into this deviant sexual behavior.
The only way out as far as I am concerned is to go through a process where you uncover the repressed painful feelings within you.
IN THE FEELING IS THE HEALING.
It does not have to take a long time. Nor do you have to indulge in it. It is all from the past and so it is not real. The best way to heal these feelings is to allow them to surface without believing in them or getting too involved in the story associated with the feelings. Just feel, own and express the feelings in a responsible way. It is important that you don't dump your feelings on others as they surface within you.
It is also necessary to take responsibility for the isolation in your life. You are responsible for managing your life. Make sure that you have sufficient friends, work, activity and interests that you feel more connected. As the feeling of isolation dissolves, so too will the urges that take you into the deviant sexual behavior.
You might need help during this process. Find a good counselor in your local area who can be present with you and supportive of you as you allow feelings up to be experienced consciously. Do not choose a counselor who is trying to fix you or get rid of these feelings. The goal is for you and anyone with you simply to be present with the pain and the feelings as they surface into the light of consciousness.
I cannot stress enough the importance of Presence in this process. Each one of us is being called into a deeper level of Presence. (Being present)
Sometimes the pain is the alarm clock that wakes us up.