Boundaries are one method by which family members of those struggling with addiction can help themselves and their loved ones move forward throughout recovery.
Watching a loved one struggle with addiction can be heart-rending. Family members and spouses of those suffering from addiction may change their entire lives to better accommodate their loved one, letting addiction set the tone for the entire family dynamic.
The reality of the situation is that addiction is complicated. It affects the whole family, not just the person who’s suffering from the addiction directly. When families become centered on addiction, the bond between family members can become strained.
That’s why at Desert Solace, we believe in helping both the person with the addiction and their family to move forward in recovery.
It’s commonly known that people who struggle with addiction often suffer from self-esteem issues, thinking that their inability to stop indulging in their addictions makes them weak or shameful.
Many people don’t know that family members may also struggle with negative self-image.
“If only I’d been stricter with my child, he wouldn’t be harming himself like this,” a parent might think. A spouse might say to herself, “if I was a better wife, my husband wouldn’t turn to his addiction as a way of numbing out.”
Both of these statements are ways for family members to blame themselves for their loved ones’ addiction. But addiction isn’t the fault of any one person — it’s something that’s built up over time from pain and shame.
That’s why for families struggling with addiction, setting boundaries is so important. Boundaries allow family members and their loved ones to communicate with one another, letting them know what they can do to show affection and love for one another without overstepping into micro-managing or controlling behavior.
Desert Solace teaches family members of people in addiction about boundaries to help them set clear goals with their loved ones. They do this because they know from personal experience that setting boundaries works.
Desert Solace was founded by Mark and Jerri Jorgensen after their journey towards healing Mark’s addiction to pornography.
“When I figured out that [Mark] … had a pornography addiction,” said Jerri, “I went ‘Well, that’s not going to work in my life. That’s not going to work for me, but I’m willing to take this journey with you. But I am not living with someone in addiction.’”
In this way, the Jorgensens were able to be clear about their goals — to stay married and work through Mark’s addiction — and the situation that would make these goals impossible: if Mark did not start a journey of recovery, Jerri could not remain in the marriage.
Once those goals were met, the Jorgensens founded Desert Solace to help others reach their own recovery-related goals.
As the family liaison for Desert Solace, Jerri Jorgensen says that setting good boundaries is one of the most important things family members can do for their loved ones in recovery.
“Boundaries are critical, and boundaries aren’t punishment — they are for our safety,” said Jorgensen. “Because you can’t control anyone. And [the family members] get to learn that.”
Desert Solace is an inpatient addiction treatment center in St. George, Utah. Desert Solace specializes in the treatment of pornography and sex addictions. Additionally, they offer treatment programs for gaming, gambling and substance abuse. Their inpatient facility for porn, sex, gaming, gambling and substance addictions features professional, licensed counselors, a top-rated chef, equine therapy and more. Desert Solace believes in involving the client’s family in the recovery process.
Note: Article contributed by KHTS AM 1220 & 98.1 FM