Residential sex addiction rehabilitation programs are expensive. Tens of thousands of dollars expensive. However they are amazingly great for sex addicts of all kinds, but especially for people who simply cannot face their addiction and don’t understand the risks they are taking and the damage they are doing to themselves and those around them. I know a young woman who has already lost her husband and a job and is probably at risk for losing her two young children if she doesn’t get some serious help, and yet she is on the fence even about resuming attendance at Sex Addicts Anonymous meetings let alone getting therapy or rehab. I know a man who has an arrest record for sex with a child and despite the fact that he still frequently “slips” and views illicit pornography, which could get him thrown back in jail, he does not consider a residential program. You would think that such folks would do whatever it took to get the money to get the help but it often doesn’t happen. They are very lucky indeed if those around them force them to make the choice to get serious help. Only in this way can they begin to break through their denial.
Many people can’t or won’t go straight to rehab, but will go to an Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP), a 1-2 week all-day every day program designed to help people in the initial stages of breaking through the denial and committing to treatment. Many people go from IOP’s to residential rehab programs of 30-60 days or more once they realize how much they have to resolve to get better. Sometimes IOP alone is enough to get the person on track with a community based program of therapy and 12-step meetings. But IOP is not cheap either, still in the thousands of dollars depending on the program and the lenth of time.
Some residential and outpatient intensive treatment programs say that they provide a few slots for low income people and this is certainly worth pursuing. Also most programs will submit a patient’s claims to their insurance with a psychitric diagnosis such as Depression, which may be covered, but often they don’t get the claim paid and are on the hook for the cost. Money is a big problem for many seriously addicted people who are left to suffer and even deteriorate, often ending up in jail or prison where they get no help at all. Treatment works, incarceration doesn’t (but that’s another blog).
There’s really no great answer at this point in history, but until sex addiction is seen by the larger society as a mental disorder that is covered by insurance, the professionals in the field should continue to see patients for reduced rates for outpatient therapy. Family and friends can be enlisted to help set up a “program” for the addict who is still living in the community. The best would be to put together a program of individual and group therapy or a self-help “feedback group” formed by members of a 12-step program to discuss their progress, attendance at a 12-step sex addiction program (preferably every day), and participation in a 12-step writing group using one of the many good workbooks that can be bought online. As part of the step writing group, the addict should pair off with a “recovery partner,” a sort of “buddy system” for meeting and discussing their work on recovery. For people in remote areas, Sex Addicts Anonymous has a large number of telephone meetings (like conference calls) as well as online meetings.
For now it’s a case of doing the best you can. It’s messy and it’s a struggle but there is no doubt that it is worth doing.