What happens in treatment?

In a general way, treatment for sex/porn addiction and paired substance/sex addiction utilizes the same basic strategies and techniques as treatment for alcoholism, drug addiction, compulsive gambling, compulsive gaming, and eating disorders. Early treatment efforts focus on containing your problematic behavior. Safety is our primary concern. After that, we focus on breaking through your denial, managing the crisis or crises that pushed you into recovery, and preventing relapse.

Treatment includes both individual and group therapy – most often a directive, accountability and behavior focused modality like cognitive behavioral therapy paired with social learning, psychoeducation, 12-step or other addiction-focused social support, and alternative methodologies like psychodrama, art and movement therapies, exercise, meditation, and experiential therapies. Our psychiatrist might also suggest that you begin a trial-run of an antianxiety or antidepressant medication, as these can reduce not only anxiety and depression but cravings to engage in problem sexual behaviors and substance abuse.

What does sex/porn addiction recovery look like?

If you’re like most people recovering from sex and/or porn addiction who are new to the process of recovery, you have little to no idea what the terms ‘sexual sobriety’ and ‘sexual recovery’ mean. You may fear that sexual sobriety and recovery mirror sobriety and recovery for substance addictions, where permanent abstinence is the goal. You may be thinking, “Do I have to give up sex forever? Because if I do, you can forget about me coming to treatment.”

Fortunately, unlike recovery for alcoholism and drug addiction, sexual sobriety and recovery are not defined by long-term abstinence. Celibacy is not a long-term solution to sex and porn addiction. Recognizing this, we define sexual sobriety and recovery as we define the process of healing with eating disorders – another area in which long-term abstinence is simply not feasible. Rather than permanently abstaining from all sexual activity, we ask clients to think about sexual sobriety and sexual recovery as learning to be sexual in non-compulsive, non-problematic, life-affirming ways.

What does substance/sex addiction recovery look like?

If you’re like most people with paired substance/sex issues who are new to recovery, you have little to no idea what the terms ‘sobriety’ and ‘recovery’ mean. You may fear that recovery from the sexual half of your addiction will mirror recovery for substance abuse, where permanent abstinence is the goal. You may be thinking, “Do I have to give up sex forever? Because if I do, you can forget about me coming to treatment.”

Fortunately, unlike recovery for alcoholism and drug addiction, sexual recovery is not defined by long-term abstinence. Celibacy is not a long-term solution to sex or porn addiction. Recognizing this, we define sexual sobriety and sexual recovery as we define recovery with eating disorders – another area in which long-term abstinence is simply not feasible. Rather than permanently abstaining from all sexual activity, we ask clients to think about recovery as learning to be sexual in non-compulsive, non-problematic, life-affirming ways.

The substance abuse half of your addiction is a different story. We will not teach you to drink and use like a gentleman. Instead, we believe in and teach the principles of long-term abstinence from addictive substances. If your substance use and sexual behavior have fused, we will teach you how to separate sex from substance abuse, and how you can be sexual in healthy (non-compulsive) ways that do not trigger your desire to use.

What happens each day in treatment?

As part of treatment, you should expect the following:

  • Full Bio-Psycho-Social and Psychosexual Evaluations
  • Completion of the Sexual Dependency Inventory (Online)
  • Trauma Identification and Containment
  • Behaviorally Focused Individual and Group Therapy
  • Addiction Education
  • Social Learning and Peer Accountability
  • Alternative Therapeutic Modalities (Art Therapy, Psychodrama, Adventure Therapy, etc.)
  • 12-Step Sexual Recovery Focus and Participation
  • Digital Era (Online) Recovery and Participation
  • Prodependent Partner/Family Involvement
  • Shame Resilience Work
  • Self-Care (Exercise, Meditation, Yoga, etc.)
  • Aftercare (Relapse Prevention) Planning and Implementation
  • Continued Treatment-Group Interaction (Weekly Online Meetings)

Will I be able to contact my work, family, and friends?

Within certain limits, yes. That said, while you are in treatment, it is important that you focus on the task at hand – understanding and overcoming your sex/intimacy issues. If you are too focused on outside communication, your process of healing and recovery will be stunted. Thus, we limit the use of phones and other digital devices to early morning and early evening breaktimes. Moreover, digital devices can only be used in common areas. When clinically appropriate, Seeking Integrity staff may revoke phone and/or computer privileges or end a specific conversation. Porn, hookup apps, and similar behaviors are strictly forbidden. At no point should you or any other client access any material that might be detrimental to your treatment or any other client’s treatment. As part of your treatment, your therapist may arrange specific phone or video conversations between you and your significant other. Such conversations should only take place with therapeutic guidance.

Note: There is a 72-hour moratorium on digital communications after your arrival. Seeking Integrity will notify whoever you want about your arrival, but you will not be allowed to use your phone or any other digital device for the first 72 hours of treatment.

Why does Seeking Integrity look at both substance abuse and sex/intimacy issues?

Sadly, addiction is addiction is addiction.

Sometimes substance use and sexual behavior occur in tandem as a way of overcoming sexual shame, overcoming low self-esteem, disinhibiting oneself sexually, or enhancing the sex or drug experience. Other times sexual behaviors alternate with substance abuse, typically with substances being used to numb the shame of recent sexual behavior.

Many men who engage in both substance abuse and compulsive sexual behavior will admit to one problem but not the other. They admit they have a problem with substance abuse, but not sex and intimacy. Or they admit they have an issue with sex and intimacy, but not substances. Sometimes they go to rehab for the issue they’re willing to admit to, and then relapse related to the untreated half of their problem.

Some people think that the pairing/fusion of substances with sex is a gay men’s issue. However, substance/sex issues show up in every population. The term ‘chemsex’ is often used to describe gay and bisexual men with paired/fused substance/sex problems, but all types of people struggle with the combination of substance use and sex. Recognizing this, Seeking Integrity treats all men who struggle with substance/sex issues, regardless of sexual orientation. 

At Seeking Integrity, we understand the interplay between substance use and sexual behavior. And we know that if substance/sex behaviors are in any way paired or fused, both issues must be addressed or relapse is almost inevitable. So whatever it is that you admit to when you enter treatment, we’re going to uncover the behaviors that are tied to it, and we’re going to address your problems completely and holistically. Because that is the best (and we think only) true pathway to long-term recovery and healing.

Does Seeking Integrity take insurance or help with insurance reimbursement?

Seeking Integrity does not take insurance. We believe that extensive involvement with insurance companies compromises the overall quality of treatment. It is, however, possible to contact your insurance company directly about reimbursement. There are also agencies that will help you seek reimbursement from your insurance company. We recommend SJ Health Insurance Advocates (SJHIA).

SJHIA specializes in behavioral health insurance authorization and claims management. Seeking Integrity will provide all required information to SJHIA to help you use your insurance benefits. In turn, SJHIA will verify and communicate to you relevant information regarding your coverage for treatment, using out-of-network providers, plan deductibles, and out of pocket limits.

We strongly encourage you to contact SJHIA prior to enrollment to discuss your specific insurance coverage. A consultation with SJHIA will provide answers to the many questions that arise regarding insurance benefits, along with advice on what approach will best serve you. To contact SJHIA, please call them at 973.740.0023 and ask for Janice Colmar or Alfredia Hackley. You can also email SJHIA at info@sjhealthinsuranceadvocates.com. Be sure to tell them that you are calling or emailing about treatment at Seeking Integrity.

What should I pack (and not pack)?

Please check the weather for the location of the facility where you are seeking treatment. Pack appropriately, with comfortable clothes. There is no need to ‘dress up’ while in treatment. Revealing clothing is not permitted, so don’t bother bringing it. You will be doing some experiential therapy that may occur outdoors, so bring appropriate clothes for that. Bring clothes for daily walks and hiking as well. You needn’t overpack, as our residences have a washer and dryer you can use. Make sure you bring all of your prescribed medications. Bring your phone and other digital devices, as well, as learning to use these devices in healthy ways will be part of your treatment process. We have books, movies, and music at our treatment centers, but feel free to bring your own, keeping in mind that your free time in treatment is limited.