In-patient treatment for sex addiction

The phone call from the other woman happened on a dreary January Saturday afternoon in 2014. The Seahawks were set to play at 1:35pm and we were planning to watch the game in our family room with our son. He struggles with an anxiety disorder, and had recently returned mid-term from his sophomore year of college in Maine. I had never been a fan of American football, at all, until this son. The Peacemaker begged to play when he was in the third grade. He played tackle football for five years before deciding for himself that it was just too dangerous. When your baby is out on that field, you forget how much you never liked the sport, and you figure it out. You learn to appreciate it, somehow.

On January 11, 2014, Marshawn Lynch ran for 140 yards and two touchdowns, Steven Hauschka kicked three field goals in blustery conditions and Seattle’s defense flustered Drew Brees and New Orleans in a 23-15 victory in the NFC divisional playoff game. (espn.com)

That happened to also be the year the Seattle Seahawks won the Super Bowl against the Denver Broncos. It had been an exciting year for pro football for us up in the Pacific Northwest and it was also the year our son decided to stop watching football after reading and researching the level of brain damage suffered by pro players.

We actually never did watch that January afternoon football game in 2014.

At about 1:00pm on that Saturday, I received the phone call from the other woman letting me know my husband had had a relationship with her for many years. My whole world blew apart on that day, and our son was right there with me. I know there are lots of people who have been able to keep their secrets from their children, even their adult children. That was simply not the case for me. Our son is intuitive and he was right there, asking me if I was still going to watch the game with him.

The first time he came into my room, I was still in shock. I was waiting for his father to come clean. I was waiting for the truth from a man I had been with for 30 years. From a man I thought I knew. I sent my son away and told him we would be in shortly. The next time he came to me (he knows how distracted I can get) he knew. He knew something was drastically wrong. Despite my initial attempts to keep my emotions in check, I just couldn’t. When I say he was there with me, he was physically, emotionally and mentally there with me. That’s not necessarily how I wanted things to play out, but at that point, I didn’t have a choice. It just was.

There were many days when I hid the severity of my trauma from him because there was no way I wanted him to have to suffer through my pain, but there were some days when it was inevitable that he see me raw. I look back now and can only imagine how awful this all was for him, but I also know there was no way I could have done things any differently.

The phone call was on a Saturday afternoon. By Saturday evening Blue Eyes had left a message for his therapist saying he needed to see him as soon as possible. By Monday he had an appointment with the therapist. Although the therapist knew Blue Eyes had “issues,” and at this point he had been seeing him for almost four years, since his brother’s suicide, Blue Eyes had never come clean about his cheating, obsessive porn viewing, his grooming behaviors, and all the rest. Once he did though, the therapist immediately diagnosed him with a process disorder and he named it sexual addiction. Although this therapist, himself an attorney, and a recovered alcoholic, continued to see Blue Eyes for a few months, he also suggested two things: 1) that Blue Eyes immediately check himself in to The Meadows in Arizona (like that week!), and 2) that Blue Eyes enlist the services of a local Sex Addiction (CSAT) specialist.

Blue Eyes did end up calling the CSAT. He did not call The Meadows in Arizona. There was so much fear for the both of us during this time, those first couple months post discovery and diagnosis. Blue Eyes did see the recommended CSAT for a few months, but then it ended quite badly. I was never fond of this man and although he claimed to be a recovered sex addict himself, my vibe was that he was certainly profiting from his knowledge of sex addiction, but he was not recovered. I’ve written about this before. From my experience, really good therapy is hard to come by.

We talked about Blue Eyes going to in-patient. I was afraid that my trauma would worsen with him away. After all, the vast majority of his acting out happened while he was away from me and intellectually I knew he wouldn’t be acting out in a rehab environment, but emotionally, at the beginning, I was afraid of the emptiness. I was afraid my pain and loneliness might propel me to a place where I would no longer want to work it out. It was difficult enough to try and heal with him there reminding me he loved me and wanted to be with me. What would happen if he suddenly wasn’t there. I was being selfish. He should have gone to rehab.

From his perspective, I think he was afraid of rehab for numerous reasons. Rehab was a complete unknown, and he would be away from work (a co-addiction). I was also a bit worried about this since Blue Eyes is our company’s sole sales person. We spent quite some time trying to figure out a “good” time for him to go to rehab. The new CSAT was recommending against it, but I think it’s because he didn’t want to lose a new patient, and the intensive hours and money that go along with a new patient. I think Blue Eyes was afraid of such a drastic change to his environment. I think he was afraid of being in a really uncomfortable place. He didn’t want everything to change so completely overnight. There was also the factor of money. It’s not that we didn’t have the money, he just doesn’t like to spend money and this was a lot of money. Couple that with the fact that none of his 12-step brothers had been to rehab. None.

The aspects of rehab that looked really positive to me, for him, however, were that many of the facilities worked a whole body approach. At the same time that he was receiving therapeutic help for his warped brain function, he would also be practicing mindfulness, and treating his body well with a healthier eating style, yoga, and other core strength classes. Then there was equine therapy, and exercise. The Arizona and California facilities boasted great weather and gorgeous campuses. I felt it was really important that if we were going to spend the money, that every part of his body was treated because every part of his body had been abused.

In the end, he didn’t go to in-patient rehab. He did do the 9-day intensive with Omar Minwalla through The Institute for Sexual Health, but that was only nine days and it was out-patient. Although this intensive was a catalyst for Blue Eyes’ recovery, it wasn’t a replacement for in-patient therapy, in my opinion. With the clarity of hindsight, I think he should have gone to an inpatient facility that first summer.

Although Blue Eyes hasn’t really struggled with remaining sober, he has struggled with a balanced lifestyle. I can’t say for sure if things would be different now if Blue Eyes had attended rehab for 4, 6, 8, even 12 weeks. My instinct is that rehab would have been worth it. I think he would have learned other really valuable tools in rehab that don’t go directly to staying sober, but go to lifestyle choices. He still needs so much help managing his stress, his workaholism, his mood swings. There’s most likely an undiagnosed personality disorder beneath it all and rehab is a good place to get to the bottom of that.

In hindsight, I should have pushed him towards rehab from the beginning.

19 thoughts on “In-patient treatment for sex addiction

  1. Handsome and I have this running joke that you have an inside line on what post we need to see on a given day. lol We are teeing him up for a 30-day inpatient stay as I write this. If it comes to fruition he’ll leave in a week. With two years of sobriety his treatment will be less (if at all) focused on the sex addiction and more on all of the related baggage – everything that makes emotional regulation so difficult for him. I’m sure that encompasses family of origin issues and underlying personality disorders. He’s worried that 30 days is too long to be away and I’m thinking that it’s likely not long enough. We each have our own perspectives, I suppose.

    Between his previous intensives with Dr. Minwalla and at Onsite, he has always made great strides forward and come home better than he was before he left. It just seems that 7-8 days isn’t quite long enough for things to “stick”. He has a ton of tools and resources at his disposal, but he needs more awareness of when he needs to put them into motion. (In short, he needs to be more self-aware of when he’s being a jerk and figure out how to knock it off.) Also, if his ADHD is truly a reason he struggles so much with his recovery work, he needs his meds assessed and adjusted until he’s at the right dosage so we can at least get that issue off the table. That assessment should be easy and reasonably speedy in an inpatient setting.

    I think in those immediate days after discovery inpatient can seem overwhelming and perhaps like overkill. Unfortunately, once you realize that the acting out is just one layer of a really big onion often a lot of time has passed. I agree with you though that it’s never too late to head to rehab. Yes, I’m sure it’s scary for the addict, and it’s certainly costly (but there are ways to get all or a chunk covered by insurance), and it’s a burden for the partner to hold down the fort at home while the addict is off in some spa-like setting for several weeks, but if it helps? Why not try? (I’ll let you know in about 6 weeks if I come up with any reasons…)

    Happy holidays to you and BE and the boys!
    xo

    Liked by 1 person

    • Beleeme got me thinking about this. Some days I wish I could just go to rehab. I am interested to hear if Handsome goes, and if he does, what he thinks about his time there and what resources they recommend for the ADHD. Also interested in how you guys chose, when the time is right. I do think for BE the thought of rehab was overwhelming in the first year, and none of his 12 step guys had gone, so he had no reference point. Basically for three years we were just trying to survive. Cheers to 2020! ❤️

      Liked by 2 people

      • I’m interested in hearing about ADHD recommendations, too.

        My husband was in a facility, twice. Locked psych units. But it wasn’t rehab. It was suicide watch and in-patient treatment for Major Depression. We had no choice or “say” in the matter – he was committed and the docs weren’t going to let him out until they felt he was safe (wouldn’t kill himself). I’m disgusted with how he was treated in the 1st facility. They gave him many liberties b/c he was a doctor. I heard the nurses whispering “He’s a DOCTOR!” The psychiatrist didn’t know what she was doing and she believed everything he said (like she’d believe a colleague). But he was a patient!!! The doc sent him home and he was delusional. A couple of days later, he almost succeeded at dying, except I was able to stop what he was doing to himself. Back he went to a different psych unit. This is a man, a doctor, who never had any type of psych history. I was floored.

        He’s putting himself back together, and he’s seeking direction – – – but this is a long road for him. The state of OH ruined his career. They “disciplined” him for becoming sick and suspended his medical license (to me – this is against his rights – the ADA). I doubt he’ll ever be able to practice again b/c of the fallout form OH, and that’s a shame – his depression has been in remission since 2017. He never harmed a patient, was never reported for misconduct and never charged with a crime (no substance abuse, either). He got really sick after he had resigned from his job, in preparation for a move to NY.

        For me, I’m glad I can talk about this stuff and it doesn’t affect me (freak me out – cause anxiety) anymore. It’s what happened. Nightmarish. But real.

        And – yep – a good therapist/psychiatrist is HARD to find. I have an excellent therapist who I only see “as needed” now – she did some work with me on processing the trauma / hypnotherapy. I was thinking of seeing her again for a tune-up.

        Liked by 1 person

          • Yes they are. I literally haven’t been able to talk w/o coughing for months b/c of all the health issues and surgery. So, I’ve been saving a few things to bring to her to work on. If I was in “dire straights” – I would have used the app on my phone to “talk for me” – but I’ve been managing fine (no perfection, of course), and appreciative for my husband rising to the occasion to be there for me, and also trying to be more patient with the process. And, really, living as much in the moment as possible is what I’m trying to do. ❤

            Liked by 1 person

            • That is indeed what we need to do, live in the moment. Not stress about the small stuff and truly enjoy all that we have. I’m so glad your husband stepped up. It’s their own insecurities that drive them down that rabbit hole. So glad he was able to overcome. xo

              Liked by 1 person

      • I’ll let you know if/how it goes. He was scheduled to leave Friday but he had an accident at home the day after Christmas and ended up in emergency surgery that night. He’s home now, but I’m not sure he’s going to be fit to travel in less than a week. I’m keeping my fingers crossed. 🤞🏻

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I too had no choice re My son, he was there when the first bomb landed at the bbq at our house. He too is very sensitive, an empath like me, and I know although he out a brave face in it he was terrified: mum, who always held it together was broken. I look back and see how Frightening that was have for him. Would your H not benefit from that therapy now. Perhaps even more so given all the work he has already done?
    Have a mellow Christmas Kat. ❤️❤️🎄⭐️🌟

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I really appreciate you sharing this, Kat. I realize you have probably shared it before but it was new to me.
    I can imagine it is almost impossible to hide such a shocking revelation from older kids who are right there with you in the home. One of ours was living in a different country and another in a different province so it was a completely different scenario.
    Also, hindsight can be a bit of a curse! At the time we don’t know what the effect of our decisions will be and we do what we think will be OK – at that point in time. We are also in a crazy mental place which makes planning and thinking through courses of action very difficult.
    The most important thing is you got proper help, and you were wise enough to ditch the therapist you didn’t feel was helping you both (I agree good therapists are VERY hard to find).
    You guys seem to have made tremendous progress …and that is something to be proud of … and to take courage from.

    Liked by 4 people

    • I haven’t written about rehab before really, it was prompted by a recent blog comment by beleeme, but I have written about the further traumatizing and ineffective therapists. I have also written about my sons. The younger was home as written here, honestly he was feet away when I was taking the phone call from the long term acting out partner. Our other son was in Montreal at the time, thus the reason I took the “no caller ID” phone call in the first place. Both our sons knew about their father’s secret life within a week of the phone call. It took a little longer to get ahold of the older son… he’s a bit of a cat’s in the cradle story. 🙂 Busy busy young man. Anyway, it was impossible to hide from my younger extremely intuitive and sensitive son. We helped each other though. I honestly did not realize how much he struggled with anxiety until after the discovery of his father’s secret life. Anyway, we do the best we can with what we have at the time and although I am empathic, I am no therapist. The whole discovery and months that followed were so devastating. My boys were great. I’m glad they knew. I realize it is not optimum or necessary for children to know. In our case, it was. I wanted them to know that what their father did had nothing to do with them and we both loved them, but his addiction explained a lot of his choices to be away from us over the years. They wanted me to know that they knew that what their father did had nothing to do with me and they loved me and appreciated that I was always there for them. I was very proud of how they responded. They have a better, more honest relationship with their father now and he’s not hiding behind lies anymore, but again, our situation is unique in that my husband was away a lot and the knowledge of his addiction helped them understand that he wasn’t running away from them or me, but to the only way he knew how to manage his life. I think they’re pretty proud of how he has managed his life since diagnosis. Also, my sister and parents know, so I can be open and honest with them and that feels good too. They love my husband unconditionally and he is lucky to have them in his life. It makes the holidays a whole lot easier for me. ❤

      Liked by 5 people

      • Yes, I can imagine having that support is helpful. I have found this a lonely road! We have daughters and I was sure they would be deeply traumatized if they knew everything. I was in no place to support them at the time, and couldn’t know if they would get the support they needed (since we were all living so far apart) so this has been the right path for us – at least for now. We may reverse that decision in the future if it becomes necessary.

        Liked by 1 person

        • I totally get it. I was so desperately lonely before I told my parents and my sister, but ironically they really weren’t in much of a position to help me (because I am forever the strong one in their minds) but they have been amazing with my husband. I think people naturally gravitate towards what they perceive as the underdog? Because of my husband’s childhood/parents, everyone seems very understanding of his idiosyncrasies.

          Anyway, I have found my way and the LA trauma therapist is my safe space. I know that now. We each have to make decisions we feel are right and protecting our kids will always be instinctive. I know that my husband’s sponsor told his daughter right away and she didn’t speak to him for years.

          Maybe not always, but it seems more difficult for daughters who put their Daddy up on a pedestal of what a great husband looks like. Only you know what is right for your family. I do understand.

          Liked by 2 people

          • Speaking of pedestals – I put my husband up on a pedestal. I thought he was the upstanding, level-headed, law-abiding, honest, smart, successful doctor/husband. Boy, was I wrong about some things. Dishonest and what a risk-taker. It all built up so much – mental breakdown – career trashed – lack of identity. I respect him now; it’s just different. I respect the fact that he is working on healing himself and our relationship and boy, is that a loooong process.

            Liked by 1 person

            • I read this a lot on the blog, beleeme. Putting husbands up on pedestals and setting ourselves up for disappointment. There is a complicated set of reasons to how we choose our mate. It’s not merely about physical attraction, or money earning ability as Hollywood would have us believe. Most of us don’t meet someone and marry them the next month. We have time to evaluate their strengths and weaknesses and how they will match with our own. At least that is what I did. Blue Eyes is not like either of my fathers. Both my father and step father were home every night for dinner (they wanted to be), they actively parented every day, they fixed things around the house, changed their own car oil, and mowed their own lawns. Neither is perfect, but especially my step father is a great father, husband, and role model. I was with BE for quite a while before I committed to marrying him. I knew he wasn’t like my fathers, but I also didn’t want him to be like his own father and I even said it to him numerous times…”I don’t want to marry someone like your father.” I think I cried it a few times. Perhaps I could see the writing on the wall, but I never ever ever thought BE would do what he did. In ways he is JUST like his father, and in ways he is really very different. I always knew he had serious challenges with accepting his own reality, and being honest. I think I’ll write a post about this. TY for inspiring me to write. ❤

              Liked by 1 person

              • I hear you on complicated reasons in choosing a mate, Kat. We are all different with criteria. I had a few specifics that were “absolutes” – – – my mate had to be as smart/educated as me or I wouldn’t respect him, my mate and I would have to be compatible in conversation (love talking and discussing “stuff” – whatever – politics to a movie we watched to belief systems, etc.). I just had a conversation with a single friend older than me (I’m 52) and she’s dating and I asked her what attracts her to a certain man or not. Physical. Only. Wow. Blew me away. I’m not judging; it was just so different from my view of life and love and relationships. She knows I swim deep and she respects that; people are different. I’m more attracted to the heart and the mind, I suppose. I’m glad whatever I said helped you get some inspiration for writing. 🙂 I’m thinking through a post in my head about purpose. I don’t write very often, but I think that purpose is something I need to process.

                Liked by 1 person

                • I find writing so soothing. It seems though when I put goals out for working on the book, I just end up with more blog posts. Not sure what’s up with that. When I met Blue Eyes, I had no criteria as I was absolutely not looking for a boyfriend, much less a husband. But the more I dated, the more I appreciated BE’s traits. Way way back then, I’m sure he had no idea how his life would play out. He’s more educated than me, but I can hold my end of a conversation. I liked his compassion and brain power and energy. I just didn’t realize it all came with a huge cost. xo

                  Liked by 1 person

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