Addiction recovery facility Desert Solace Co-owner Jerri Jorgensen explains what separates pornography addiction from other kinds of addictions.
Before the couple founded Desert Solace, Jorgensen helped her husband overcome his own addiction to pornography. Along the way, the two discovered methods that help addicts overcome the shame and pain that lead to pornography addiction.
On the In My Head Podcast, Jorgensen discussed the similarities and differences between more commonly known addictions, such as alcohol and drug addictions, and pornography addiction.
“Pornography is just part of sex addiction,” Jorgensen said. “It’s just another place to … numb the pain,” she continued. “There are so many ways to avoid. Some are more socially acceptable than others. And with pornography and sex addiction, that has such a stigma.”
This stigma, Jorgensen said, sets pornography addiction apart from other addictions, and explains why it’s such a difficult addiction to overcome.
Addiction to pornography, Jorgensen explained, “is a shame-driven disease. A lot more than drugs and alcohol.”
In Jorgensen’s view, addiction is a response to pain, usually caused by trauma.
“Some people think that trauma has to be this huge event where there was molestation, there was abandonment, or a huge accident,” Jorgensen said. “Trauma can be as insignificant as ‘my dad didn’t show up to my ball game,’ or ‘he didn’t come to my band concert’ or ‘I got turned down for a date.’”
This, she explained, is because the event is less important than the story a person tells themselves about why the event occurred. If they believe that bad things happen to them because they are unworthy of love, they can start internalizing shame, which can then lead to addictive behaviors.
After engaging in substances or activities that allow addicts to escape from the pain of their self-hatred, addicts may “feel like a piece of crap again because they’ve acted out,” Jorgensen explained. “What do they do to relieve the pain? Act out again,” continued Jorgensen. “That’s what we call the addictive cycle.”
With pornography, specifically, people who lead otherwise very “clean” lifestyles may be unexpectedly vulnerable. This is because while drugs and alcohol require at least a trip to the liquor store, and at most a connection to a dealer, pornography is available to anyone with an Internet connection.
Because pornography is so accessible in modern society, treatment can be difficult. Jorgensen explained that Desert Solace’s program is designed to address the unique problems that come with pornography addiction.
“In pornography, you may not have a dealer,” Jorgensen said, “Your dealer is your phone. So guess what? (At Desert Solace) you’re not going to have your phone. There’s no electronics.”
After several weeks of digital abstinence, Jorgensen said that Desert Solace clients would be reintroduced to technology gradually, and with accountability.
“The last couple of weeks that they’re in treatment, we give them back their phone, so that they can have it with support,” said Jorgensen. “Because we don’t just want to throw it at them in the end. So everything we do has a big purpose.”
When asked what she’d say to people struggling with pornography addiction, Jorgensen said the most important thing for addicts or those who suspect their loved one might be addicted is to reach out for help.
“They can call me. I can suggest a place to go. I can suggest good therapists or just good resources,” Jorgensen said. “So if you call and you’re not even thinking about residential treatment, we’re still really good resources. Because we’ve been there. We’ve lived it.”
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.
1239 West 4200 North
St. George, UT 84770, USA
Note: Article contributed by KHTS AM 1220 & 98.1 FM