A groundbreaking book detailing the unique issues experienced by adult children who grew up with a sexually addicted parent and offering a path to unburden their shameful legacy and embrace sexuality and intimacy without the intrusion or constraints from the past.
Adult children who grew up with a parent who had a sexual addiction are left confused, ashamed, and mistrustful regarding the feelings and boundaries surrounding sex, love, and intimacy. Due to the inappropriate sexual behavior of one parent, and the subsequent impact of betrayal on the other parent, these adults carry sexual secrets, have divided loyalties, and are often caught in the middle of their parents’ struggles. Having witnessed (or known of) affairs, walked in on a parent masturbating or viewing pornography, received extreme or shameful messages regarding sexuality or gender, experienced sexualized remarks about their bodies, been neglected as a result of the addiction, or were modeled extreme moral values (either too permissive or shaming), these adult children of sex addicts (ACSAs) struggle with their sexuality and longings for love.
ACSAs have not had their stories told in any significant way in the recovery literature. Intergenerational trauma is transmitted through the legacy of carried sexual shame—the burden of which is not theirs. Their shame and struggle has often been wedged under various umbrellas of identification: adult children of alcoholics, love avoidant, codependent, sex addict, love addict, and others. A Light in the Dark offers hope for unburdening ACSAs by sharing the experiences of others, as well as examining the characteristics, roles and recovery that point toward the freedom and joy they rightfully deserve.
Kenneth M. Adams, Ph.D., CSAT-S, is a licensed psychologist and faculty member with the International Institute of Trauma and Addiction Professionals and the clinical director of Kenneth M. Adams and Associates in suburban Detroit and Ann Arbor, Michigan. He is the author of Silently Seduced and When He’s Married to Mom as well as co-editor of Clinical Management of Sex Addiction: Second Edition. Dr. Adams is the creator and director of overcomingenmeshment.com workshops. For more on Dr Adams visit www.drkenadams.com or Dr. Ken Adams on YouTube.
Mary E. Meyer, Ph.D., LMFT, is a couples and family therapist and executive director of Full Heart Family Therapy in Ankeny, Iowa. She is a Certified Sex Addiction Therapist and a Developmental and Relational Trauma Therapist. Dr. Meyer is dedicated to helping families heal from the effects of sex addiction and intergenerational family trauma. For more on Dr Meyer visit www.fullheartfamilytherapy.com.
Culle L. Vande Garde, LCSW-S, CSAT-S, is a licensed therapist, author, and speaker in Dallas, Texas. She has spent her 30-year career specializing in the treatment of developmental and relational trauma. She is passionate about assisting adult children of sex addicts and their families heal from the effects of sex addiction and intergenerational trauma. For more information, www.CulleVandeGarde.com.
Publisher: Health Communications Inc (February 7, 2023)
"A Light in the Dark: The Hidden Legacy of Adult Children of Sex Addicts is a seminal, substantive, and groundbreaking contribution to community and academic library Human Sexuality & Psychology collections. Exceptionally well written and of immense informative value for professional and non-specialist general readers with an interest in Sexual Health Recovery and Compulsive Behavior Treatment."
—Michael Carson's Bookshelf, Midwest Book Review
“A Light in the Dark: The Hidden Legacy of Adult Children of SexAddicts shines a bright path to hope and freedom from the shame caused by a parent's sex addiction. Written specifically for, and exclusively through, the eyes of adult children of sex addicts, this book is unique in its approach and offers readers a chance to unburden a shameful legacy. Authors Adams, Meyer, and Vande Garde outline the characteristics, roles, and recovery that guide the adult child of a sex addict into a personalized path of healing. This book is certain to become a welcomed resource for both adult children of sex addicts and the clinicians who treat them.”
—John C. Friel and Linda Diane Olund Friel, licensed psychologists and New York Times bestselling authors of Adult Children: The Secrets of Dysfunctional Families and The 7 (Best) Things Happy Couples Do
“Finally, a distinct, expertly informed guide to understanding the impact sexual addiction has on adult children. For too long, adults who grew up in homes with a parent who was sexually addicted have lived without clear language, concepts, and tools to help them understand their experience, reduce their shame, and change their relational patterns. A Light in the Dark provides a helpful guide out of the fog of this previously neglected phenomenon into clarity and healing.”
—Michelle Mays, LPC, CSAT-S
“A Light in the Dark is a book whose time has come—a beautiful testimonial and guidebook for adult children of sex addicts (ACSA) raised in the accompanying deceit and chaos of addiction. The authors’ unvarnished, first-hand accounts delineate the characteristics common to ACSAs then deliver the reader to the necessary steps for healing and recovery. This book is, indeed, ‘a light in the dark,’ illuminating the way for those who’ve suffered the childhood pains of growing up in a sexually addicted system. A must read for ACSAs and anyone who works in the field of addiction!”
—Alexandra Katehakis, PhD, author of Sex Addiction as Affect Dysregulation: A Neurobiologically Informed Holistic Treatment
“These three authors have thoughtfully built upon the body of knowledge of developmental trauma and adult children of alcoholics to offer the ACSA an in-depth understanding of the unique experiences of growing up in a family impacted by sex addiction. A Light in the Dark offers adult children not only a framework and language to understand their experiences but, equally important, a voice and path to their recovery. By recognizing and addressing the consequences of sexual shame, they will forge a new path free of their families’ fear, pain, and shame. This book shines light on the dark while providing light for the future. This is an exciting contribution to the recovery field that is much needed and long overdue.”
—Claudia Black, PhD, author of It Will Never Happen to Me, pioneer, adult children of alcoholics movement.