/ By Brandon McDonald

Why Desert Solace is a 90-day Sex Addiction Treatment Program

Desert Solace is a 90-day residential pornography addiction treatment program. There is a reason for this. In the past we’ve experimented with shorter stays, like 45 days or 60 days, but time and time again, we see that the best results come for those who go through our inpatient sex and pornography addiction treatment program for 90 days.


There are other sexual addiction treatment programs out there, like Paradise Creek or Gentle Path at the Meadows, that only offer stays of 30 or 45 days.  One fairly popular sex addiction treatment program is only 14 days. 


When asked why their programs are not 90 days, they will tell you that their programs are “more intensive” than a 90 day program, which implies that you can get as much “healing” done in 30 or 45 days as you can in 90 days. This sounds great, right?! You mean I can do half as much work and get the same results?! 


Based on my own experience and what I see from people I know who went through shorter programs, the results for guys who go through our 90 day program vs those who went through shorter programs are much better. Their recovery is much more stable, they’ve had more experience dealing with triggers and stressful situations, they’ve built up a stronger recovery network, and had more time to plan for a life of recovery when they get out. 30 days is barely enough time to learn the basics. It’s not anywhere near enough time to learn how to implement that knowledge.


Why is 90 days so important? For a few reasons actually. First, it takes time for the brain to clear from the “fog of addiction.” I experienced this firsthand myself and we see it time and time again in our clients. The first few weeks is pretty rough. My brain was so used to getting soaked with all of the feel-good hormones that come from pornography addiction that I needed some time before I started seeing things more clearly. For the first time in a while I could actually see the real consequences of my addiction and recognize the need for a different path.


Once my brain started to rewire itself to get reward out of doing activities that didn’t involve pornography, I could see life in a whole new way. But that took time. After 60 days is when we really start to see our clients “wake up” and really grasp the new way of life that recovery provides.


Second, Learning about addiction and getting all the recovery tools available is important, and all of that can be done in a fairly short period of time. We have clients come through who have spent years in therapy and going to 12 step meetings. They have all the knowledge they need. But they haven’t been able to figure out how to apply it to their own lives. What we do at Desert Solace is we give men real experiences of recovery where they feel safe to use the tools of recovery and apply it in real life situations. 


Sometimes, our clients trip up and fall on their faces. You might be thinking that’s a bad thing. How can someone in rehab have a slip or even relapse? But we never look at a slip or a relapse as a failure. Honestly, it’s sometimes the most powerful experience a client can have while going through inpatient treatment because they get to learn from it in a safe environment where we can show them how to pick themselves back up and do things differently the next time. Maybe it’s better for them for that to happen while still in rehab then when they get out and they don’t have the same level of support and access to therapy as they do in here.


The real miracles in Desert Solace happen after 45 days. Anything less than that and we are selling our clients short. That is why we charge less money for 90 days than most pornography treatment centers charge for 45 days. We believe so much in our 90 day program that we’re willing to offer it at a more affordable cost to the client.

Addiction Treatment Research Supports Longer Programs

You might think I’m biased because I went through the 90 day program myself and now I work at Desert Solace. But I’m not the only one who thinks that a 90 day program is more effective. The research in residential addiction treatment backs me up on this.


One interesting fact that I found in my research – Did you know that the original 28-day or 30-day rehab model was only created because it was the maximum amount of time the Air Force would allow its cadets to go on leave? There was no actual science or research behind the 30 day treatment period, it was just a matter of convenience. After the first 30-day treatment program was established for the Air Force, other treatment centers adopted that same time frame and the insurance world used that as their standard for what they would cover.


When it comes to actual scientific evidence behind longer stays in residential treatment, it is becoming increasingly clear that longer stays are better. They lead to longer lasting recovery and less frequent relapses. In the drug and alcohol treatment world, most treatment centers are moving to a 90-day treatment program because of this.


Taking a closer look at research data suggests that 30 days isn’t nearly enough time:


  • Research published in 1999 by Bennett Fletcher, a senior research psychologist at the National Institute on Drug Abuse, has shown that though 90 days isn’t a magic number, anything less than that tends to increase the chances of relapse.
  • Another study, part of an NIDA-funded project called Drug Abuse Treatment Outcome Studies, followed 549 patients who had several problems in addition to their drug use and who entered a long-term residential program. Those who dropped out of treatment before 90 days had relapse rates similar to those who stayed in treatment only a day or two. After 90 days, however, relapse rates dropped steadily the longer a person stayed in treatment.
  • Studies of youth also reflect the connection between longer care and a greater chance of recovery. A 2001 UCLA study of 1,167 adolescents receiving substance-abuse treatment found that those in treatment for 90 days or more had significantly lower relapse rates than teens in programs of 21 days.


Addiction can be a chronic disorder and is characterized by relapses, which is why spending a longer period of time in treatment is so important to finding long-term recovery. More time in treatment allows people to learn to handle stress, develop ways to cope with environmental cues that could trigger addictive behaviors and improve relationships that are needed to sustain recovery.


The first 30 days of treatment is more of a “first step” than anything. It allows the client to cope with their withdrawal symptoms, find their footing in a new environment and establish a relationship with their therapist.


It usually takes 30 days just to detox from the overload of addictive chemicals floating around in an addict’s brain. The mind and temperament are not at a place where they can handle the treatment needed to overcome addiction. New clients often need time to overcome emotional instability, poor judgment, sleep problems, physical complaints. These are all issues that keep a person vulnerable to stressors that may lead to a relapse. Sending someone back into their old environment after just starting to stabilize is a recipe for relapse.


Brain scans of recovering addicts support the idea that changes are still taking place three months or more after treatment. Chronic addiction damages the brain, such as reducing the number of dopamine receptors, chemical pathways that allow for normal brain functioning.


The problem is that it’s tough to convince some addicts or their family members that 90 days of treatment offers the best chance of success. People argue against leaving their jobs or families for that long. They want to move past their addiction as quickly as possible.


When an addict sees an option of a 30-day program, they want to believe everything can be fixed very quickly and that life can go back to normal.


But that’s just not the nature of addiction. Addiction recovery is a long-term process, just like you might treat any chronic health condition like heart disease or cancer. It requires consistent treatment and lifestyle changes over a long period of time.

It's Worth It. You are Worth It.

In our own experience of speaking to men who are looking for help breaking pornography addiction, we encounter a lot of resistance to the idea of spending three months or more devoted to nothing but recovery. People view it as a sacrifice, but we reassure them they’ll gain way more than they lose.


We’ve had graduates lose a job because they prioritized their recovery above their careers. They see it as the best way to save their lives, their marriages and their families. And eventually they see that the jobs they end up with are better than the ones they had before. The risk is worth it to them.


Mere convenience seems to be a driving factor for many people who call us and ask for the shortest treatment program we have. They aren’t looking at it from a perspective of getting the best treatment possible that will give them the best shot at long-term recovery. They are just prioritizing the short-term convenience of a shorter stay. That’s a mistake you don’t want to make when you have your marriage or your career on the line. It’s much easier to do one 90-day treatment program than it is to go to a 30 or 45 day program and then having to go into treatment again later on because you didn’t get what you needed.


I get it. It’s hard to take that much time off work and be away from family and friends. I’ve been there. It wasn’t easy for me. But looking back, I don’t think I’d be where I’m at in my recovery if I didn’t do the 90 day program at Desert Solace.


In the end, the question you have to ask yourself is – “Am I Worth it?” Are you worth spending the amount of time necessary to free yourself from an addiction that is destroying your life? Why take a chance on a shorter program? Contact us today and we can tell you why it’s worth getting the best treatment possible at Desert Solace.

Contact Us to Speak to a Recovery Expert About Our 90 Day Pornography Addiction Rehab Program