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Providing Spousal Support And Helping Addicts Recover

Jerri Jorgensen explains how Desert Solace, an inpatient addiction recovery facility, supports clients and encourages spousal support in each individuals recovery.

Those suffering from addiction may feel isolated, but their pain is not theirs alone. When addiction strikes, it affects family and loved ones as well as the person suffering from addiction, themselves.

It’s often easy to forget about how an addicted person’s spouse is doing while their partner works to forge a path to recovery. That’s why Desert Solace focuses not just on recovery for their clients, but on supporting the spouse through their partner’s recovery process.

Jerri Jorgensen explained the details of Desert Solace’s spousal support offerings on the In My Head podcast.

By offering weekly phone conferences and check-ins, spouses of Desert Solace’s inpatient residents are given support in order to find their own opportunities for personal growth. This way, both partners in a relationship are able to do the work they need to support recovery long after the inpatient session has ended.

Some of the main things Jorgensen hopes to teach spouses during their phone sessions are the importance of setting boundaries and how to build healthy connections. Jorgensen believes that connection is the most important part of the recovery process, and is the opposite of addiction itself.

In Jorgensen’s view, “the wives that drop off their guys [at Desert Solace] and say ‘just fix him,’” need to change their attitudes. “You’re going to get on my weekly calls. I’m going to coach you. We’re going to do wives’ retreats,” she said.

Jorgesen said that one of the lessons she, personally, had to learn during her husband’s recovery was the fact that addiction isn’t able to be overcome with willpower alone.

“I hadn’t dealt with a lot of addiction in my life,” said Jorgensen, “[so] I didn’t know what I didn’t know. And I said, ‘Oh! Well, okay, that’s easy, just stop it.’”

Once it became apparent that “just stopping it” wasn’t a viable solution, the Jorgensens met with therapists and counselors before eventually relying on inpatient treatment to help break the addictive cycle. Jorgensen said that the fact that inpatient treatment allowed her husband to get away from the stressors of daily life helped him deal with the shame underlying his addiction.

Aside from the sheer difficulty of addiction recovery, Jorgensen said that spouses often misunderstand the outcome of recovery — they think that their partners should come out of treatment and never suffer relapses or temptation ever again. Unfortunately, that’s not feasible.

Instead of a magical cure, Jorgensen compares the effects of outpatient treatment to the effects of surgery.

“You’ve had the surgery,” Jorgensen said. “Now you take care of it and you have a healthier lifestyle going out. There’s no more band-aids to just cover it up. We’re ripping off that band-aid and we’re doing emotional, relational, spiritual surgery.”

After their partners come out of inpatient treatment, Jorgensen stresses that it’s important that spouses set boundaries to keep both parties safe and set realistic goals for their relationship while providing spousal support.

“Boundaries,” said Jorgensen, “are not punishment. It’s what you get to do for you for safety. Because you can’t control him.”

Jorgensen said that the desire for healthy boundaries while providing spusal support needs to come from a place of love.

In particular, Jorgensen said that spouses should tell their recovering partners, “‘I’m setting this boundary because I’m still invested in our relationship. I still want to be married to you. … I want this to work, so I’m willing to … look at myself and my own self-limiting beliefs and get the help that I need.’”

It’s important that spouses really do get the help that they need, and this is why Jorgensen suggests spouses seek individual therapy in addition to the resources offered by Desert Solace.

“We recommend that wives get into some treatment, too,” said Jorgensen. “If you find a good therapist — and there’s some great therapists out there, and there’s some not great therapists. So it’s okay to therapy-shop. If it’s not working for you, get out of that door and go to a different one. There’s phenomenal therapists [out there].”

Lastly, Jorgensen said that spouses of recovering addicts should take care not to think of themselves as morally superior to their partners.

“A lot of wives will put themselves in this position,” explained Jorgensen: “‘Well, I don’t do this, so I’m, you know, I’m taking the moral high ground.’”

Thinking this way often just leads to arguments and a fractured relationship, not healing.

Ultimately, Jorgensen said that both partners need to look at the past their self-defeating beliefs and work toward better connections to themselves and each other.

“You’ve gotta go through the pain of what’s causing [addiction],” said Jorgensen. “Because the addiction is just a symptom. It’s not even the problem. It’s just a symptom of the deeper problem. And that’s what we go after.”

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.

Desert Solace
1239 West 4200 North
St. George, UT 84770, USA
(435) 817-1351

Note: Article contributed by KHTS AM 1220 & 98.1 FM