As a Christian with a sex, pornography, or masturbation addiction, the emotional weight of your behaviors is great. Your guilt, fear, loneliness, and shame are likely compounded because your behavior goes against your morals. You also may feel reluctant to seek support and guidance from those around you for fear of judgment.
Being a Christian makes some aspects of sex addiction even more difficult, said T.C. Ryan, author of Ashamed No More: A Pastor’s Journey Through Sex Addiction and pastoral consultant at Boulder Recovery.
“In following Jesus, what we do with our life matters. What we do with our body matters,” he said. “It’s clear to Christians with sex addictions that it’s neither appropriate nor acceptable. And the guilt and shame of knowing that something you’re doing is wrong is extremely isolating.”
And the negative impact isn’t just on the person with the addiction. It affects their family, too. Christian families, especially partners, often feel like their church community turns away from them when they need them the most, T.C. said.
“They’re in a horrible bind,” he said.
A sex addiction can shake your faith, but you can heal, and you don’t have to do it alone.
A Christian program can provide evidence-based treatments while incorporating your faith.
What is a Christian Inpatient Sex Addiction Program?
Sex addiction treatment through a faith-based program offers a unique opportunity to heal in the context of your Christian faith. Centering sex addiction treatment in faith helps you restore your relationship with God while addressing the addiction.
Christian inpatient sex addiction programs offer the same treatment options as non faith-based programs. You will use individual and group therapy to stop destructive sexual behaviors and create a foundation for recovery. But you’ll do it with a focus on faith and forgiveness to heal your relationships — with yourself, your loved ones, and God.
Working with a group on the same path to recovery helps alleviate the loneliness, shame, and even fear often associated with recovery. Just as God teaches you to be kind to everyone and to help others, leaning on those around you during treatment helps keep you strong in faith and healing.
Matt Wenger, Clinical Director at Begin Again Institute and Boulder Recovery, said group therapy is invaluable in sex addiction treatment of all kinds.
“Group therapy is the most effective treatment for addiction recovery,” he said. “Addiction clients are often dealing with deep-seated fears of rejection and abandonment. Group therapy is a modality that can address these.”
Integrating Faith with Recovery
Combining your Christian beliefs with a treatment plan can help strengthen your recovery and provide a guidepost to avoid relapse. Faith-based rehab programs rooted in Christian beliefs include therapists and staff who understand that your faith is crucial to long-term recovery.
As Christians, sex addiction can feel shameful and something you may seek to hide. T.C. said many Christian men with addictions aren’t living authentically or with true self-awareness.
Instead, T.C. wrote, these men have a sense of who they are in relation to what they show others — the face they wear in public. Then they have a shadow self — the self with the addiction or the part of themselves that they don’t like — that they keep hidden.
Addressing your behavior and treating the cause can help you understand God’s grace and forgiveness. Sex addiction is often rooted in trauma, and working through that trauma in a supportive and forgiving environment gives you the impetus to make strides toward healing.
Using the skills you’ll learn in a Christian inpatient sex addiction program, you will address adverse sexual behaviors and let go of guilt and shame while embracing your faith and your relationship with God. And most importantly, you’ll learn to forgive yourself and others.
Forgiveness and love are vital to your successful healing — forgiving yourself and overcoming the guilt and shame associated with sex addiction are the cornerstones to long-term recovery. As a Christian, leaning on your faith strengthens you to rebuild relationships with yourself, those around you, and God.
Benefits of a Christian Inpatient Program
The level of care and support during sex addiction treatment in a Christian inpatient program is similar to a program that is not faith-based. The trained staff and therapists work with you using the same treatment modalities and therapies. The added benefit of including faith-based elements is that they heal those seeking spiritual renewal as part of the process, empowering them to move forward in their faith and recovery.
Other benefits of a Christian inpatient program include:
- Holistic Healing. The treatment program’s comprehensive physical, mental, and emotional aspects include spiritual healing and care. Including prayer as a form of mindfulness and meditation seeks to heal your spirit holistically, as part of the whole you.
- A Faith Community. The community involved in and surrounding you during treatment becomes part of your community of faith. This support network can offer encouragement, understanding, and accountability, which are critical components of recovery.
- Moral and Ethical Guidance. Christian values and teachings from the Bible inform one-on-one sessions and group interactions as staff strives to include tenets like love, humility, forgiveness, strength, courage, and more. Connecting your faith with your recovery provides a foundation for long-term success that can weather future challenges.
- Prayer and Worship. Including prayer, worship, and other spiritual practices can offer strength and comfort to those in recovery, helping them to feel connected to a higher power and to find peace and resilience during challenging times.
- Forgiveness and Healing. Christian teachings emphasize forgiveness, redemption, and healing, which can be particularly powerful for people having guilt, shame, or self-condemnation related to their addiction.
- Individual Approach. A Christian inpatient sex addiction program also provides privacy to work on healing at your own pace. The focus on walking the path to recovery with faith at your side allows you to heal through self-discovery and hard work in privacy and without judgment.
Guidance for Families and Loved Ones
The support you receive from your family and loved ones is critical in sex addiction treatment. A Christian inpatient sex addiction program also provides faith-based resources for your family and those you love. The ability for them to receive spiritual and emotional support during your inpatient treatment program allows all of you to heal while strengthening the bonds of your faith — strong bonds that will help you stand firm in your faith and healing long after the treatment program is complete.
Relying solely on church-based forgiveness and healing may be difficult as church staff and Christian leaders often do not have the added training to fully support and treat the trauma that causes sex addiction. Some church leaders may not offer marriage or family counseling. If they do, the counseling may not be enough when offered through the church. Church leaders sometimes rely on prayer and Bible study or even publicly shaming someone rather than understanding the root causes of sex addiction and how the mind and body respond to trauma.
“When Christians come forward and seek help, specifically from the church, church leaders don’t deal well with sex addiction,” Matt said.
He said church leaders aren’t equipped to help people with compulsive sexual behavior because they don’t fully understand the issue or how to address it.
“They have the best intentions, but they make unintentional mistakes that can harm those that come to them for help,” he said.
Therefore, Christians tend to suffer in silence. They’re afraid of letting others down or being judged or abandoned by the church.
“Addiction discovery can result in the loss of family, home, and sometimes even employment. And a loss of connection to their church can be devastating,” Matt noted. “This can also feel like abandonment or disconnection from God, especially when their status as a Christian is called into question.”
A Christian inpatient sex addiction program treats the root cause of the addiction and uses your faith as a way to strengthen your relationships with God, yourself, and your loved ones for long-term healing. Using outside resources that are faith-based provides the best of both worlds — treatment for the causes of sex addiction while strengthening your faith. Together, renewed and refreshed love and faith strengthen everyone, which is crucial to your success in treatment and long-term healing.
How to Choose the Right Christian Inpatient Program
Once you’ve decided a Christian inpatient sex addiction program is the right choice for you, the next step is deciding which of those programs is the best fit.
When choosing treatment, consider:
- Staff Qualifications. Seek a program that offers a certified sex addiction therapist (CSAT). These mental health professionals have specialized knowledge to help people experiencing sex addiction.
- Program Structure. Check that the inpatient treatment has a program structure suitable for your recovery. How long will you need to be there? What will you do during that time? Is this feasible for you, and does it seem helpful?
- Including Faith. Ask about their faith-based program and what that includes. Is the faith-based program Christian or more specific to a religion based on Christianity? Ask if the treatment program includes focusing on your relationship with God and maintaining your faith.
- Alumni Feedback. What do others who’ve experienced the program say about their experience? Look at reviews and ask if there are alumni you can talk to.
Understanding the similarities and differences between Christian inpatient programs will help you choose the best one to support your recovery.
How BAI Can Help
At Begin Again Institute, we understand the benefits of Christian inpatient sex addiction programs. The Boulder Recovery 14-Day Christian Men’s Intensive provides support and healing using faith- and evidence-based treatments.
We also offer a Partner Support Program to guide your wife through her healing journey.
Your pathway to healing while strengthening your faith begins today, and BAI can help. Contact us to learn more about how a faith-based Christian inpatient sex addiction program can aid in your recovery.