Sexual addiction is best described as a progressive intimacy disorder characterized by compulsive sexual thoughts and acts. Individuals who suffer from this disorder distance themselves from others through multiple sexual conquests, pornography, compulsive sexual behaviors, and other activities that create a wedge between them and their loved ones, their work, their friends, and anyone else who may find out who they truly are.
At its core, sex addiction is used as the primary or even exclusive method for coping with untreated trauma, unpleasant or disturbing feelings, ideas, conflicts and stresses, to the point where compulsive sex may become almost the only way the individual can relate to or connect with others. Those who suffer from sex addiction tend to organize their world around sex and live in fear that someone will get to know the “real” person inside them—the vulnerable, wounded, fearful person.
Only when a sex addict’s dysfunctional behaviors begin to negatively impact them and their loved ones are they willing to admit they need help combating their issues. Often these individuals will reach out to a professional for help in understanding what they are struggling with. Initially, they may seek out one of the many intensive treatment programs available in order to jump-start the recovery process. These individuals have usually broken through a major portion of the denial that accompanies sexual addiction by the time they seek help.
For sex addicts with a high motivation to change, a short-term, intensive program feeds into that imperative to change with an intensity that parallels the addiction. Treatment programs with a short length of stay—28-30 days—market themselves as a quick fix to develop the skills and tools needed to prevent relapse, or eliminate all sexual acting out behavior. This “quick fix” approach is very appealing to many sex addicts who are anxious to move on with their life. However, when you consider that it likely took years of acting out behaviors in addition to intimacy issues and early attachment problems to get to the breaking point, a short-term or outpatient treatment approach to recovery seems impossible.
Evidence shows that only time heals the scars and shame of sexual addiction. Additionally, a program offering a longer length of stay allows more time to work on underlying core issues and co-occurring disorders which many sexually compulsive individuals often struggle with.
Sexual Addiction Treatment
Sexual compulsivity is a treatable problem. Unlike drug or alcohol treatment, the goal of sexual addiction treatment is not lifelong abstinence, but rather a termination of compulsive, unhealthy sexual behavior. Overcoming this disorder involves a period of self-imposed abstinence, requiring a longer treatment process than a typical addiction program might offer.
Gentle Path at The Meadows believes that recovery from sex addiction is different for each patient, and for many, a more intensive level of treatment is needed. For these men, we offer a 45-day minimum length of stay treatment program designed to effectively address the sex addiction and uncover the underlying cause of the dysfunctional behavior. Our experience has shown, over and over again, that individuals who come to us for treatment enter the worst stage of their withdrawal from their sexual addictive behaviors and acting out patterns between the fourteenth and eighteenth day of sobriety. It is during this time that risk of relapse and the desire to return to old behaviors is the highest which inhibits the core treatment process. Our length of stay allows patients to work through the early stages of recovery and progress to meaningful treatment.
Gentle Path at The Meadows’ treatment program was designed specifically to allow adequate time for our patients to experience the full benefit of Dr. Patrick Carnes’ groundbreaking Thirty-Task model which has been empirically validated to be an effective form of treatment for sexually compulsive behavior. Dr. Carnes founded Gentle Path at The Meadows and personally sees each patient during their treatment; another benefit of our length of stay.
Recovery tools can be taught, but reinforcement comes with immersion which is why length of time in treatment usually determines the patient’s success. Individuals who attend, fully engage in, and complete a longer length of stay program, show marked improvement both during and after treatment. They also show an increased ability to bond with their families and the recovery community outside of treatment. The goal of longer-term programs is not to address only the behaviors, but to lead the patients to a change in lifestyle which creates long-term, successful recovery.
Additionally, Gentle Path at The Meadows was specifically designed for men only. We believe that treating sex addicts in a single gender environment allows them to fully engage in treatment. Whereas, in mixed gender programs, both male and female sex addicts may never be removed fully from the object of their desire long enough to fully enter sexual sobriety. This safe setting promotes bonding as patients start to develop the intimacy that has been missing in their lives.
Contact Us Today
Every journey begins with one step. To learn more about the Gentle Path at The Meadows or if you have an immediate need, please contact us or call 855-333-6076.