S.A.F.E. Formula: The “S.A.F.E.” Formula is an easy way to define addiction. If the following elements are present, then the person’s sexual problems could be called an addiction: “Secret; Abusive; Feelings; Empty.” Secret — It is a secret. Anything that cannot pass public scrutiny will create the shame of a double life. Abusive — It is abusive to self or others. Anything that is exploitive or harmful to others or degrades oneself will activate the addictive system. Feelings — It is used to avoid or is a source of painful feelings. If sexuality is used to alter moods or results in painful mood shifts it is clearly part of the addictive process. Empty — It is empty of a caring committed relationship. Fundamental to the whole concept of addiction and recovery is the healthy dimension of human relationships. The addict runs a great risk by being sexual outside a committed relationship.