Why Sex and Porn Addicts Seek Residential Rehab

Despite their initial resistance, recovering sex and porn addicts typically seek some form of professional help. For many of these individuals, residential treatment serves as an initial step on the pathway to healing. Usually, this is recommended by an outpatient therapist or a 12-step sponsor, or it’s insisted upon by the addict’s betrayed partner. Occasionally, an addict will decide to enter rehab simply because he is miserable and wants to change his life. Whatever the impetus, sex and porn addicts almost universally find that a short stay in residential treatment does them a world of good.

The length of these programs varies depending on the treatment facility, typically running anywhere from two weeks to two months. At our Seeking Integrity: Los Angeles rehab, we initially recommend a two-week stay for sex and porn addicts. We like the two-week format because clients can almost always take vacation time from work to seek treatment, rather than having to speak with their employer about a leave of absence. That said, about half of our clients decide to extend treatment for another week or two.

One common misconception about residential treatment for sex and porn addiction is that after completing the recommended program, addicts will be cured and will never again struggle with problematic sexual behaviors. In reality, there is no cure for sex and porn addiction or any other addiction. Sex and porn addicts, like all other addicts, must battle the addiction on an ongoing, lifelong basis. Their desire to engage in the addiction does not ever completely go away. It lessens, certainly, and recovering addicts learn to respond in healthy (non-addictive) ways when triggered, but the desire to engage in the addiction does not disappear entirely, no matter how good the treatment center or how motivated the addict.

So, rather than trying to cure sex and porn addicts, residential treatment focuses on the following:

  • Distancing sex and porn addicts from the people, places, and things that trigger their problematic behavior patterns.
  • Helping sex and porn addicts determine which of their behaviors are problematic and which are not.
  • Reducing sex and porn addicts’ denial by helping them see the full extent of their dependency on sexual fantasy and behavior as a means of distraction and emotional self-stabilization.
  • Educating sex and porn addicts about the full extent of their consequences, looking at harm not only to themselves but to their family, friends, employers, and others.
  • Identifying sex and porn addicts’ triggers toward addiction and developing relapse prevention tools that they can utilize when those triggers arise.
  • Coaching and supporting sex and porn addicts while they build the ego strength, social skills, and support network necessary for lasting sobriety and recovery.
  • Breaking through sex and porn addicts’ resistance to participation in lifelong, ongoing recovery and healing from their addiction.

As stated above, residential treatment is often the first step on the road to long-term sex and porn addiction sobriety and a healthier, happier life. However, these intensive programs do not cure the addiction. Instead, they help addicts to break their long-established addictive patterns, and they begin the process of building needed awareness and coping skills. In short, residential treatment programs, such as the programming provided by Seeking Integrity, are meant to prepare sex and porn addicts for the lifetime of recovery to come.