Options for Getting Help
In all forms of treatment for sexual addiction the goal is to eliminate those sexual behaviors which the addict identifies as dangerous or disruptive to his or her life, work, relationships etc. and which he or she has been unable to stop by sheer will power alone. Thus the first step in getting help will be for someone or something to bring the person to the awareness that they need help. This can take many forms. For some people it is a dawning realization that they don’t want to live the rest of their life in the grip of a sexual compulsion. For others there is a crisis that they cannot ignore such as a spouse leaving, losing a job, or getting arrested. Click on Defining Sex Addiction for a description of the characteristics of the sex addict and the nature of the compulsive behaviors.
The goal of sex addiction treatment is never to eliminate sex from a person’s life. It is only to open the way for enjoyment of sex in a healthy and appropriate way. This is similar to treatment for those with eating disorders in that sex is, or should be, a normal part of life rather than a secret compulsion. It is unlike Alcoholics anonymous in that it does not require total abstinence, although most programs recommend a period of abstinence during the beginnings stage of recovery. The four major kinds of treatment or support for those in need of help with sexual addiction are:
1. Residential Programs
2. Intensive Outpatient Programs
3. Outpatient Individual or Group Therapy
4. 12-Step Programs: anonymous self-help programs
Listed below are descriptions of each kind of program along with the names and links to the most prominent resources currently available in each type.
1. Residential Programs Treating Sexual Addiction, Trauma, Love Addiction and Codependency. Residential or “inpatient” programs are essentially live-in rehabilitation centers for sex addicts of varying lengths from 30 to 90 days. Typically these programs have a medical evaluation, an individual and group therapy component, lectures and a great deal of “experiential” work, art therapy, family systems and trauma history exercises. Most programs introduce and encourage participation in a 12-step program. Family participation is involved in various ways including a “family week” for most programs. Cost: $15,000 – $35,000 and up depending on the program and length of stay. Some programs have a few “sliding scale” slots available.
Del Amo Behavioral Health: www.delamohospital.com
Keystone Center: www.keystonecenter.net
Life Healing Center: www.life-healing.com
The Meadows: www.themeadows.org
Pine Grove Treatment Center: www.pinegrovetreatment.com
Center for Sexual Recovery at The Ranch: www.promises.com
The Refuge: www.therefuge-ahealingplace.com
Sante Center for Healing: www.santecenter.com
Sierra Tucson: www.sierratucson.com
2. Intensive Outpatient Programs for Sex Addiction
Intensive Outpatient programs are all-day lecture and participatory sessions combined with daily therapy. These programs vary in length from one to two weeks. Some of these are geared to those new in recovery and emphasize “jump-starting” treatment and others are specialized to address issues following residential treatment, e.g. couples’ intensives. Cost: $3,000 to $7,000 (approx) depending on the program and length of treatment.
Center for Healthy Sex: www.thecenterforhealthysex.com
Institute for Sexual health: www.sexualtreatmentprograms.com
Psychological Counseling Services: www.pcsearle.com
Sexual Recovery Institute: www.sexualrecovery.com
3. Outpatient Therapy: Therapist Locator
Outpatient therapy is just that, therapy with a Psychologist, Social Worker, Marriage and Family Therapist or other Counselor qualified to treat sex addiction. Most often the clinics providing the Intensive Outpatient Programs also provide regular outpatient individual and group therapy with qualified therapists or interns. In some communities there are no clinics but are therapists certified in the treatment of sex addiction. These can be found using the Therapist Locator links listed below. Cost: normal range for therapy.
Society for the Advancement of Sexual Health: www.sash.net
Int’l Institute of Trauma and Addiction Professionals: www.sexualaddictiontherpists.com.
4. 12-Step Sex Addiction Support Groups
Twelve step meetings are an integral part of any sex addiction treatment program. There are 12-step meetings for sex addicts all across the U.S. and in other countries as well. There are around a thousand different Sex Addicts Anonymous groups meeting in this country at present. These are free self-help programs modeled on the Alcoholics Anonymous program where people gather for mutual support, reading of the program literature, “working the steps” with a sponsor etc. Although these have a reputation as “faith based” they are very accepting whether the person has any religious or spiritual orientation or not. Cost: none.
Sex Addicts Anonymous (SAA)
National: (713) 869-4902
A national 12 step program for sexual addicts and sexual offenders.
Love Addicts Anonymous
Love Addicts Anonymous is a 12 step community that provides a program of recovery from love addiction.
Sexaholics Anonymous (SA)
National: (615) 331-6230
A national 12 step program for sexual addicts and sexual offenders.
Sexual Compulsives Anonymous (SCA)
National: (800) 977-4325
Mostly urban 12 step program, primarily for sexual addicts.
Sex and Love Addicts Anonymous (SLAA)
National: (781) 255-8825
National 12 step program for sexual addicts and those with patterns of unhealthy romantic relationships.
Sexual Recovery Anonymous (SRA)
National: (212) 340-4650
12 step program similar to SA except “committed relationship” is used instead of “marriage”. These meetings are limited in number but open to everyone in sexual recovery.
12-step Groups for partners of addicts and recovering couples
National: (615) 833-3152. 12-step program for spouses of sexual addicts and partners of sexual offenders. Companion program to SA.
National: 612-537-6904 12-step program for partners and significant others of sexual addicts and sexual offenders. Companion program to SAA.
COSLAA (CO-Sex and Love Addicts Anonymous)
National: (860) 456-0032 A 12-step support group for the recovery of family, friends, and significant others whose lives have been affected by their relationship with someone addicted to sex and love.
Recovering Couples Anonymous (RCA)
National: (314) 830-2600. 12-step program focused on the recovery issues of the couple itself.
Both partners (addict and co-addict) are encouraged to attend. All committed couples are welcome.
In communities where there are no sex addiction 12-step meetings, there is always the option of attending one of the other 12-step programs and adapting it to one’s own use. Many sex addicts find an affinity for 12-step groups relating to “survivor” issues, codependency issues, etc.
Most sex addiction 12-step programs also have online meetings and tele-meetings (like conference calls) available for those who are in more remote areas.