Desert Solace co-founder Jerri Jorgensen explains the role of self-acceptance in addiction treatment, noting that trauma and self-doubt are often at the root of addiction.
At Desert Solace, one of the guiding principles is that “the opposite of addiction is connection.” Jorgensen explained that connection to others and oneself is an important part of addiction treatment.
Jorgenseen said that people who suffer from addiction are often trying to escape some kind of trauma or negative-self image by using addictive substances or behaviors to feel numb or distract themselves.
“(Addiction is) just another place to hide,” Jorgensen said. “It’s another place to avoid, to escape, to numb the pain; it’s all about pain. And then they may act out. And it can be drugs, alcohol, food, shopping. There’s so many ways to avoid. Some are more socially acceptable than others.”
Jorgensen explained that, when people face their negative emotions and trauma and connect with themselves, there’s a powerful potential for healing.
“The opposite of addiction is connection,” Jorgensen reiterated. “It’s connection to themselves; recognizing who they are at their core. Without all the masks and all the stories and all the stuff that we put on ourselves … It’s connection with our loved ones, with our spouses, with our kids. We have guys that graduated our program and go, ‘Oh my gosh, my kids know who I am now because I’m present.”
Jorgensen explained that the self-esteem issues at the core of many kinds of addiction can begin with traumatic life events or with negative self-comparisons.
“Usually addiction of all kinds is ‘I’m not enough,” Jorgensen said. “‘I don’t measure up to my siblings. I’m not enough for my wife. I’m not enough at work. I’m not enough,’ over and over again.”
Trauma can also play a role in addiction, Jorgensen explained. Part of addiction treatment often involves confronting the negative scripts people have about themselves as a result of trauma.
“A lot of people have turned to other addictions … because the core issues have never been addressed,” Jorgensen explained. “And the core issues are usually trauma of some sort.”
Furthermore, Jorgensen described how traumatic events aren’t necessarily tied to truly horrible life events. Some, she said, have more to do with how people perceive themselves as victims or failures and downplay their own agency in their lives.
“It’s not necessarily the event that happens to us,” said Jorgensen, “it’s the stories that we make up about it. Like, ‘Oh gosh, okay, I got turned down for this, well, what does that say about me?’”
She continued, explaining that “that’s where the pain hits, that can be the trauma. And then they act out.”
Jorgensen further explained how those who suffer from addiction may end up spiraling as a result of guilt associated with “giving in” to their addiction.
“Then they feel like a piece of crap again because they’ve acted out,” Jorgensen explained. “The pain comes in again. What do they do to relieve the pain? Act out again. That’s what we call the addictive cycle.”
Addiction treatment plans often focus on helping those who suffer from addiction to understand that they aren’t morally bankrupt for developing an addiction — instead, their addiction is a type of disease that affects their brain.
“It’s not something that can just be wished or prayed away,” Jorgensen said. “It really has made an impact on the brain.”
Instead of moralizing addiction, Jorgensen prefers to treat addictive substances and behaviors as one of a number of choices, with many other choices being healthier and more socially acceptable.
“I like the verbiage of this isn’t going to take you in a direction you want to go,'” Jorgensen explained. “‘This is not gonna get you what you want.'”
When loved ones ask her for advice on how to talk about addiction with family members who struggle with it, she recommends adopting a similar way of framing the problem.
“You get to have the conversation with them,” she said, “‘Is this going to work in your life? You’re not mad. You’re not sick, you’re not wrong. This just isn’t going to work. So let’s go for something that works.’”
The addiction treatment program at Desert Solace is based on a scientific understanding of how addiction affects the brain. By offering a 90-day residential addiction treatment, Desert Solace helps clients get away from the life stressors that compound the disease.
“They say it takes 45 days just to start changing the brain paths … and just to clear out the brain so they’re even really processing properly,” Jorgensen explained. “And then the other 45 days to really instill all those beliefs about themselves, of who they really are. Not who they’ve been told they are, who they believe, all those false beliefs. We get to just peel those away just like an onion.”
Jorgensen stressed that addiction is a widespread problem that affects people differently. She hopes that one day, addiction won’t be as stigmatized, so people have an easier time coming forward and asking for help.
“The days of isolating are over,” Jorgensen said. “There’s people out there that … think, ‘I’m the only one.’ Oh my gosh. This is a pandemic.”
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 professional chef, equine therapy and more. With ongoing outpatient support for patients and their loved ones via phone calls and online messaging, Desert Solace believes in involving the client’s family in the recovery process.
Note: Article contributed by KHTS AM 1220 & 98.1 FM
How Self-Acceptance Plays A Role In Addiction Treatment
Desert Solace / Addiction Treatment Center / Pornography Addiction / Sex Addiction / Inpatient Addiction Treatment / Porn Sex / Porn Addiction / Recovery Center