Jerri Jorgensen of Desert Solace explains how their addiction recovery program includes addiction spousal support so both marriage partners can move forward throughout addiction recovery.
When a loved one is suffering from addiction, they don’t suffer alone. Everyone in their lives, to some extent, is affected. Often the person most affected, besides the addicted person themselves, is the spouse.
During an interview with the In My Head podcast, Jorgensen explained how Desert Solace seeks to help both the addicted person and their partner move forward throughout the recovery process.
By means of weekly phone conferences, check-ins, and (in some cases) retreats, partners of inpatient treatments are given their own opportunities to grow while their spouses work on themselves on location at Desert Solace’s recovery facility.
Using the aforementioned resources, the partner will learn what to expect from their recovering spouse and how to set boundaries to keep themselves safe. They will also come to understand that connection is the most important part of the recovery process.
In Jorgensen’s view, “the wives that drop off their guys (at Desert Solace) and say ‘just fix him,’” need to change their attitudes. “You’re going to get on my weekly calls. I’m going to coach you. We’re going to do wives’ retreats,” she continued.
In particular, Jorgensen says that partners need to learn that recovery isn’t as easy as just wanting to stop, then stopping. Jorgensen herself had to learn this lesson when her husband was recovering from pornography addiction.
“I hadn’t dealt with a lot of addiction in my life,” Jorgensen said, “(so) I didn’t know what I didn’t know. And I said, ‘Oh! Well, okay, that’s easy, just stop it.’”
Naturally, that didn’t work out. After meeting with therapists, counselors, and doing outpatient treatments, it became obvious that only an inpatient session, away from the stressors of daily life, was sufficient to really help her husband deal with the shame underlying his addiction.
Another unrealistic expectation Jorgensen said that she’s seen from partners of clients is the idea that recovery treatment will solve all of their spouse’s problems forever.
Instead of a magical cure, Jorgensen compares the effects of outpatient treatment to the effects of surgery.
“You’ve had the surgery,” said Jorgensen. “Now you take care of it and you have a healthier lifestyle going out. There’s no more band-aids to just cover it up. We’re ripping off that band-aid and we’re doing emotional, relational, spiritual surgery.”
Once the inpatient treatment ends and the couple is reunited, Jorgensen stresses that it’s important for the partner to set proper boundaries with their spouse.
“Boundaries,” Jorgensen said, “are not punishment. It’s what you get to do for you for safety. Because you can’t control him.”
As the spouse gets healthier, Jorgensen said, he or she will also start to appreciate the boundaries his or her partner sets as expressions of commitment.
To partners who are worried they’ll sound controlling by setting boundaries, Jorgensen said, “You should tell them, ‘I’m setting this boundary because I’m still invested in our relationship. I still want to be married to you. … I want this to work, so I’m willing to … look at myself and my own self-limiting beliefs and get the help that I need.’”
Jorgensen also suggests partners take this advice to heart and actively seek therapy for themselves. This is where addiction spousal support can really shine.
“We recommend that wives get into some treatment, too,” Jorgensen said. “If you find a good therapist — and there’s some great therapists out there, and there’s some not great therapists. So it’s okay to therapy-shop. If it’s not working for you, get out of that door and go to a different one. There’s phenomenal therapists (out there).”
Finally, partners of people working to recover from addiction should try not to think of themselves as morally superior to their spouse, Jorgensen said
“A lot of wives will put themselves in this position,” Jorgensen explained, “‘Well, I don’t do this, so I’m, you know, I’m taking the moral high ground.’” That line of thinking can foster a victim mentality and lead to pointless arguments.
Ultimately, both partners need to work together to look at the past pain and self-defeating beliefs that are holding them back, Jorgensen stressed. Addiction spousal support helps make sure both partners get the help they need.
“You’ve gotta go through the pain of what’s causing (addiction),” Jorgensen said, “because the addiction is just a symptom. It’s not even the problem. It’s just a symptom of the deeper problem. And that’s what we go after.”
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