Jerri Jorgensen, co-owner of recovery facility Desert Solace, discusses the circumstances and mindsets that can lead to pornography addiction.
Jorgensen is no stranger to the paths that can lead to pornography addiction. After helping her husband in his recovery from pornography addiction, the couple has gone on to found Desert Solace, an addiction recovery inpatient facility specializing in pornography and other addictions.
Discussing Pornography Addiction
Recently, Jorgensen was a guest on the In My Head podcast, where she discussed the similarities and differences between pornography addiction and other, more commonly known addictions.
“Pornography is just part of sex addiction,” said Jorgensen. “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.”
Jorgensen siad that this stigma is one of the factors that can drive pornography addiction. While shame can feed any addiction, pornography addiction can begin due to initial shame surrounding curiosity about sex, and is reinforced by the social stigma surrounding pornography addiction.
It’s “a shame-driven disease,” Jorgensen said. “A lot more than drugs and alcohol.”
Another leading factor in pornography addictioin, Jorgensen said, is trauma. In Jorgensen’s view, addiction is often a response to pain.
Addicted individuals retreat into their addictions to try to escape pain, and if that pain is caused by a deep-seated trauma, it’s often important to treat the trauma before the addiction can be dealt with.
“Some people think that trauma has to be this huge event where there was molestation, there was abandonment, or a huge accident,” said Jorgensen. “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.’”
Jorgensen explained that the reason trauma can form from seemingly small events is that the event, itself, is not important. Rather, the important thing is the story the person tells themselves about why the event occurred.
If people internalize the message that they weren’t treated well because they deserved it — they’re unloveable or unworthy — they will almost certainly feel shame. That shame, if unexamined, can lead to addictive behaviors as coping mechanisms.
Unfortunately, when using these maladaptive coping mechanisms, addicts may “feel like a piece of crap again because they’ve acted out,” explained Jorgensen. “What do they do to relieve the pain? Act out again,” she continued. “That’s what we call the addictive cycle.”
One misconception about pornography addiction is the idea that addicts will likely have other addictive tendancies. In fact, people who otherwise lead very “clean” lifestyles may be unexpectedly vulnerable to pornography addiction.
One reason for this is availability — while the process of attaining drugs requires finding a dealer, pornography is only a “click” or a “tap” away on most Internet-connected devices.
Because of pornography’s easy accessibility, Desert Solace begins treatment by removing the temptation to turn to digital devices.
“In pornography, you may not have a dealer,” said Jorgensen. “Your dealer is your phone. So guess what? (At Desert Solace) you’re not going to have your phone. There’s no electronics.”
Understanding that technology is a necessary part of modern life, however, Desert Solace reintroduces phones to residents after this period of abstinence in a way that allows group 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,” Jorgensen explained. “Because we don’t just want to throw it at them in the end. So everything we do has a big purpose.”
For people who are questioning whether they meet the criteria for addiction or who feel their struggles are insurmountable, Jorgensen has advice: reach out.
“They can call me. I can suggest a place to go. I can suggest good therapists or just good resources,” said Jorgensen. “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