Category Archives: Sex Addiction

Recovery Coaches working with sex offenders

Legal Consequences Crisis Management Team -Recovery coaches working with sex offenders

It is 5:30 am and a band of FBI and local sheriff authorities pull up to a New Jersey suburban house in a development not far from Philadelphia. Adorning Kevlar vests, and windbreakers with the yellow letters FBI on their backs, they storm past a toy doll stroller in the sidewalk. They bang on the door with their fist, demanding “Open up this is the FBI”. After a few more wraps, a bleary eyed woman about 40 years old opens the door a crack and peers out. With a burst of energy, five FBI agents and two local police enter her foyer, issue her a search warrant and spew out demands, only one she actually hears, “Your husband is under arrest for child pornography…where are the laptops, tablets, cell phones and computers?”

Emily, (all the real names in this story will be withheld for privacy purposes) is dazed. She is in her bathrobe, and slippers, her hair is mussed, her eyeglasses crooked. She is barely awake. She glances at the stairs. She sees her two children at the top of the stairs, as a troop of agents make their way up to them. The agents ascend, as her girls descend. They are squeezing towards the wall making way for the army of six foot tall, 250 pound men barreling past them. They are asking “Mommy, what is happening?” A sheriff from the local police department asks where her husband is. She says he is at work; he works the midnight shift at a local hospital. The Sheriff gets on his walkie-talkie and bursts out some demands, checking on a similar event at her husband’s workplace.

It is 6:00 am, and Tom is just wrapping up from his shift as a nurse. His supervisor walks up to him with a force of blue windbreakers flanking him on either side. “Tom,” his supervisor says, “these gentlemen want to see you in my office”. As they turn to go to the office to FBI agents take Tom at the elbows and nearly lift him off his feet. He is escorted to the supervisor’s office, is placed in an arm chair and the door slams. Tom hears the words he has feared for the past two decades. “You are under arrest for the possession of, and the suspected distribution, copying, or advertising of images containing sexual depictions of minors.” For some strange reason, Tom is relieved. He thinks “It’s over, it is finally over.”

An unlikely band of brothers

It is Monday night, a steady stream of middle aged men drift into a hospital conference room, and take a seat. One of them opens a gym bag and starts to place books, pamphlets and tri-fold fliers on the table. A clear plastic envelope stuffed with one dollar bills is placed next to a thin loose-leaf binder. He sits down, opens the binder, checks the time on his cell phone and says, “Welcome to the Monday night meeting of Sex and Love Addicts Anonymous, my name is Ken, and I am a sex and love addict.” The seemingly normal cohort of men reply, “Hi Ken”.

The Monday night meeting of Sex and Love Addicts Anonymous begins. The reading is on Step Three; made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God, as we understood God. During the share a newcomer, Tom, tells his story about what brought him into the rooms tonight. He is not sure he can be helped. He knows he has been a porn addict for all of his adult life. He says he has just been found out and he has no idea what will happen next, to his life, to his marriage, to his kids. He was advised to go to a 12-step meeting for sex addiction and luckily, he saw this meeting listed when he searched online.

The members of this unlikely band of brothers looks at Tom. His head is down. His focus is on the ravaged cuticles of his right thumb. As he raises his thumb to his mouth, a tear rolls down his cheek. They know how he feels. Each one of them have felt this same despair. Joe raises his hand to share. Joe is almost 45, yet one would think he is no older than 35. His Goorin Brothers Slayer cap is on backwards, his flannel plaid shirt is unbuttoned revealing an LA Dodgers vintage t-shirt. Appropriately ripped skinny jeans end in a pair of Vans slip-ons. He gets current, talking about his therapist, his groups and what the third step means to him. Then he looks directly at Tom. “I know there is no cross talk in this meeting, so let me just say this, Tom, can we talk after the meeting?”

Joe knows what has happened to Tom. Tom need not even say the word ‘legal’ for the subliminal message to be delivered. Joe knows because it happened to him, less than two years ago. The Cop Knock. The end of life as he knew it. The opening up of a new world. A new life without any more hiding. Relief.

The start of a new life

Joe and Tom walk to the hospital café and Joe buys Tom a soda and a sandwich. It is the first thing Tom has eaten in two days. The café is empty, they find a corner table and sit down. After just a few minutes, Tom’s experience from the last week is told. Joe’s head was nodding the whole time, but he lets Tom talk.

Before an hour was up, Joe had given Tom the names of three men, Michael, Steve and Jay. Also, the phone number of an attorney and of a therapist that specialized in treating sex offenders. As they walked out of the hospital, Joe said the first call should be to Michael. Michael will coordinate everything. And Joe was right, Michael coordinated everything.

Michael answers the phone at 9:30pm, and Tom was on the other line. Michael was already informed by Joe, just minutes before. By 10:00, Michael had assembled the Legal Consequences Crisis Management Team on a conference call and briefed us all. The attorney appointment will be made by the client, Tom. The therapist introduction will be on the phone, and the first group therapy meeting is tomorrow and Joe will bring Tom. Michael will coordinate the lawyer and therapist calls and speak to his parents. Jay and Steve will call Tom daily, for support. I am assigned to work with the wife. All of these recovery coaching services will be free to Tom.

Doing service to give back what we have freely received

Every one of us responds to this call. It initiates a recruitment effort that rivals the Avenger’s response to Ultron’s threat to eradicate humanity. This Legal Consequences Crisis Management Team is committed to respond to any sexual addiction crisis- the family affected by a patriarch’s incest, the individual devastated by sexual trauma, or the man that has heard the “Cop Knock”. We know they feel alone, whether they have been abandoned by their family, abused by loved ones or in this case, arrested for an illegal act. Tom needs this “Avengers” team to help him, because this is territory he is not familiar with. However, this team is very familiar with it; the family dynamics, the law, the courtroom, treatment and therapy, prison and the re-entry process. They have walked this path, and emerged on the other side, as healthier and better people for the experience. So, we are there for Tom, in order to keep our own sobriety, we are doing service to give back what we have freely received.

This band of Recovery Coaches comes to the aid of individuals dealing with the crisis of legal consequences of their sex addiction in the New Jersey, Delaware and Southeastern Pennsylvania region.










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What is a recovery coach?

What is a recovery coach, a peer recovery support specialist or a professional recovery coach?

In 2013, I published Recovery Coaching – A Guide to Coaching People in Recovery from Addictions, since then the duties and responsibilities of recovery coaches, peer recovery support specialists and professional recovery coaches have expanded significantly.

In this post, I hope to help define for those interested in becoming a recovery coach what certifications they should seek, the places they could work and what they can anticipate as compensation for their work.

What kind of certification should a future recovery coach receive?

Recovery coach training and certification is a requirement in this field. Coaching certification and training is one of the fastest growing aspects of the healthcare field. The number of recovery coaching training and certification courses has expanded to over 300 institutions nationwide. Many employers require recovery coach and peer recovery support specialist certifications. In the links section of this web site is a state by state listing of all the organizations that offer certifications for addiction recovery coaches.

If you are reading this post to receive basic recovery coaching information, first decide if you enjoy working with people in recovery from substance misuse or want to work with people in recovery from a mental health or behavioral health disorder.

Are you interested in working with people in recovery from addictions or in recovery from a mental health or behavioral health diagnosis?

A nearly universal definition of a peer recovery support specialist or a recovery coach is an individual with the lived experience of their own recovery journey and wants to assist others who are in the early stages of the healing process from psychic, traumatic and/or substance misuse challenges, thus, this peer can aid and support another peer’s personal recovery journey.

Some certifications for a peer recovery support specialist give an individual the training necessary to work with individuals with a behavioral health disorder or a mental health diagnosis. These certifications include more training on the nature of behavioral health disorders, the medications used to treat these disorders, crisis interventions, life/occupational skills, and trauma informed care. A recovery coach working with people in addiction recovery does not necessarily need these types of training. In this post, I will focus on the recovery coach working with people in recovery from substance misuse.

The individuals that work with people in recovery from substance misuse are called recovery coaches, as well as peer recovery support specialists (PRSS), peer recovery support practitioners (PRSP), recovery support specialists (RSS), sober companions, recovery associates or quit coaches. In all cases, they support individuals in recovery from addiction(s), which can include alcohol, drugs, gambling, eating disorders as well as other addictive behaviors.

The basic recovery coaching credential is required. If you want more specific training, one can add certification for treating co-occurring disorders, the application of Narcan which includes the certification for coaching persons detoxing from an opioid overdose, certification coaching individuals in Suboxone or Methadone treatment also called Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT) and Medication Supported Recovery (MSR), certification for spiritual recovery coaches and credentials for coaches working with individuals with behavioral addictions such as sexual compulsivity, internet gaming and gambling disorders. Treatment centers may require a drug and alcohol counseling certificate to work with inpatient clients.

Recovery coaching credentialing has expanded to include recovery coach supervisors, training for individuals that want to manage other recovery coaches, or an elevated level of certification called professional recovery coaching.

A professional recovery coach is an individual that has been coaching for several years, has hundreds of coaching hours under their belt, manages other coaches and/or has received other coaching credentials. A professional recovery coach is sometimes referred to as a life recovery coach. A professional recovery coach can receive training from any of the organizations that train peers or recovery coaches, and in addition, they can receive training from the International Coach Federation’s accredited life coach training program. Recently, Connecticut Community of Addiction Recovery has started developing a Professional Coaching Certification.

Where do you want to work?

Some recovery coaches seek to work at a recovery community organization (RCOs) or a recovery support center. An RCO is an independent, non-profit organization led and governed by representatives of local communities of recovery. The recovery coaches at these recovery community organizations work with people of all financial means, addicts that are homeless, offenders, even professionals like nurses, teachers, lawyers and highly educated individuals, who have hit bottom. Sometimes, the recovery coaches at these centers receive a salary from the RCO. RCO recovery coaches can also be volunteers, opting to perform their coaching duties for no reimbursement at all.

Recovery coaches can be employed by treatment centers coaches often escort a client home from a treatment center insuring they do not relapse in the first 30 days after discharge. More half way houses or sober living environments are employing recovery coaches. In fact, many recovery coaches have opened a transitional living home or a supportive sober living environments. They act as a recovery coach and a house manager at the same time, their presence adds to the quality of the recovery experience for the residents.

Recovery coaches can work in emergency departments in hospitals, detoxification centers or sobering centers; working with individuals in crisis, either detoxing from an alcohol or opioid overdose.

Lastly, some recovery coaches run their own business. They will visit clients or call them over the phone or use SKYPE. These recovery coaches market themselves by contacting a treatment center’s aftercare coordinator, maintaining a web site or will seek referrals from therapists. These coaches meet face to face with the client weekly and will work with them over the phone or face to face on a regular basis. The client is billed directly for the coaching services.

How much do you want to be paid for your services?

Recovery coaches are paid a variety of rates. A recovery community organization, a treatment center, sober living environment or social services agency recovery coaching rates are from $12-$20 per hour. If a recovery coach receives their salary from a social services agency, or a recovery community organization that agency may have received a grant to run a peer program from the State or Federal government.

A professional life recovery coach can bill from $35 up to $100 an hour for their coaching services. These professional recovery coaches bill their clients directly and incur expenses for running their coaching practice such as insurance, travel and overhead. This ‘pie in the sky’ $100 per hour fee of a professional recovery coach is not for the inexperienced or newbie coach. There are significant responsibilities a recovery coach has for their client, primarily keeping them free from relapse or overdose, or in other words- keeping them alive.

Soon, there will be reimbursement from health insurance companies for recovery coaching for individuals who are diagnosed as dependent on a substance. New York has an arrangement with the state’s Medicaid offices to reimburse for recovery coaching for individuals who are diagnosed as dependent on a substance. Other states, Tennessee, Pennsylvania, Maryland and Massachusetts, are formulating similar Medicaid payment plans, but these reimbursements are not yet in place. Currently, private independent health insurance companies do not cover the services of a recovery coach working with an individual in recovery from an addiction.

In less than four years the field of recovery coaching has grown significantly. With the advent of the Affordable Healthcare Act and the newest legislation to fight addiction, the 21st Century CURES and the CARA Acts , recovery coaching is now recognized as one of the most important tools to initiate and maintain long term recovery. This recognition will continue as the benefits from recovery coaching continue to be realized.


Posted in Addiction, Addiction Recovery Posts, alcohol, Alcoholism, body dismorphia, Coach Credentialing, Drug Abuse, Gambling, Health, internet addiction disorder, love addiction, mental health, Opioid addiction, Pornography, pornography addiction, Recovery Coaching, Relapse, Sex Addiction | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on What is a recovery coach?

Addicted to Porn: Chasing the Cardboard Butterfly

Addicted to Porn: Chasing the Cardboard Butterfly is a new documentary by writer-director Justin Hunt and is narrated by Metallica’s James Hetfield.

The movie is not about James Hetfield. Hetfield’s connection to the film is solely based on his connection with Hunt after the two worked on Hunt’s previous film Absent, a documentary about disengaged and absent fathers. Hetfield, who grew up without a father, spoke candidly in that movie—about his road to recovery.

Hunt named the film as a nod to a scientific study where painted cardboard butterflies were used to see if male butterflies would be more attracted to the larger, more ornate butterflies. Guess what? They were. The analogy? Humans who choose a two-dimensional sexual exchange versus the real thing.

There is no sex or porn education in schools, so porno films are serving as the only educator kids can find on sex. Then, guess what? Kids get into relationships and try to do what they see in porn, and think that is the way to be sexual, romantic or intimate. Well, it doesn’t work that way.

Don Hilton, the neurologist in the film, explained that viewing porn can create the same chemical reaction as cocaine use—activating endorphins and the delta FosB. “The reason I wanted to include the portion about the brain in the film,” Hunt told writer, Dorri Olds for an exclusive interview published in, “was because many try to discredit the idea of an addiction to porn.” He described naysayers who said porn is impossible to define. “An image I think is pornographic may not be to somebody else,” said Hunt, “so I had to come up with a common denominator. For the purpose of this film, the word ‘pornography’ refers to sexual images that cause the chemical reaction in the viewer’s brain.”

It’s easy to draw parallels to alcohol and drug addiction. Another parallel is what Hunt called the shame cycle. Porn addicts use sexually explicit images to manage their mood. After indulging in the compulsive behavior, they then feel ashamed. That shame creates anxiety, so they watch more porn to calm their nerves. It is the same circular shame spiral that exists in substance abuse.

Hunt said, “I’ve interviewed people who said, ‘The only way I knew how to stop feeling bad was to look at porn, but the reason I felt so bad was that I’d looked at too much porn.’ My first film, American Meth, was about drug addiction.

“By the way, Absent wasn’t about James Hetfield—it was about the impact of absent fathers. You can have that father wound and turn it into something positive, like James did with his music. While we were making that movie, we built a friendship based on paternity—or should I say, the fraternity of fatherhood. [Laughs] We talked about our kids, parenting, being husbands, so when I discussed this project with him we both felt it was important to try to make a difference in the world. That’s why he decided to be a part of this and help me out. I commend him because he did this right as the band’s new album was coming out and touring. It’s not like he was sitting around with nothing to do.”

There have been many movies about porn, but they’ve been about the industry, about adult film stars. Those weren’t about the brain or what Hunt calls the “porn progression.” Another remarkable aspect is that he created the whole movie without any provocative imagery. I asked him if that was intentional to avoid including any possible triggers for pornography addicts.

“Yes, a big problem with documentaries about porn is that people struggling with that issue can’t watch those films because they become triggered. You can’t make a movie to help people with an addiction, and then fill it full of triggers. That’s like me saying, ‘Dorri, I think you have a drinking problem, let’s go have a beer and talk about it.’”

The movie is not anti-porn. Hunt calls it “porn informative.” He believes the topic should be more openly talked about. Hunt said, “We’re just letting you know that porn addiction is a real thing and we need to start having conversations about it.”

Another important issue the film raises is how technology is allowing people to be exposed at an earlier age and at a much higher rate. “We know how it affects the brain and we know that young kids’ brains are not ready for that. They get into public schools and public education, but there is no education on sex or porn so the porno films are serving as the educator. Then, guess what? They get into relationships and try to do what they see in porn, and it doesn’t work that way.”

The movie shows one couple whose relationship is being destroyed by the husband’s addiction to porn. Hunt said this could have easily been a seven-hour movie. “There are so many different avenues that we could have gone down,” said Hunt. To fit everything into a movie-length film, Hunt said his goal was to expose people to the idea that kids are learning about intimacy and sexuality from porn. A doctor in the film points out, “Kids are learning about sex from ejaculations to the face. That’s what they’re learning about sex and romance and intimacy.”

Hunt has three children, 16 and 13, and a three-year-old daughter. I asked if he had broached the topics of drugs, alcohol, and pornography with the two teenagers.

“Yeah,” said Hunt. “They’ve been with me through the entire process of working on these films, and they’ve been on stage with me and they’ve watched me speak. They’ve watched the newspaper and the magazine articles come out. They’ve gone to radio spots with me, so they’ve seen this. They’ve seen the impact that drug addiction has, and they’ve seen the four-year process of making this film and what porn can do. That’s one of the beautiful side effects of what I do for a living—my kids get to see and learn.”

It seems his kids are open with him. “My daughter is in eighth grade and she told me that she knows of sixth graders who are texting nude photos of each other back and forth on Snapchat.”

He pointed out that because of technology, “we’re choosing synthetic relationships over authentic relationships. We’re not seeing the beauty in the people before us because we’re buying into the myth of what we’re seeing on computers and smart phones and movies. That’s just sad because we’re missing out. We’re destroying the essence of women and we’re buying into this imitation beauty.”

He said 88% of the scenes in porn have aggressive behavior of some kind, physically or verbally. The other thing to consider is how many of these films make people seem like objects. They’re objects for release. That’s all they are. And that’s what kids are learning when they’re watching porn in those formative years.

Hunt said, “When young people are naturally going to want to learn about sex and relationships and sexuality and intimacy, instead of learning courtship and humanity, they learn a selfishness, a way to just get theirs. One of the guys that I interviewed who didn’t make it into the film, was a juvenile therapist. He said there’s a massive increase in anal sex and oral sex amongst teenagers because of porn. They are mimicking what they see.”

Another part that had to be cut for length reasons was about a porn-addicted pastor. “We had an entire segment on how prevalent porn has become in the church,” said Hunt. “He was busted because his wife had gone away for the weekend at a time when he was really deep in his addiction. While she was gone he’d spent the entire weekend on the computer looking at porn. She got back when he was in bed reading. She tried to get on the computer but it crashed. When she rebooted it, all these sexual images came up. She said, ‘Hey, can you come here for a second?’ He got out of bed in his underwear and went over to her. She said, ‘What’s this?’ And that’s how he was busted; exposed. He’s standing there in his underwear exposed, at the moment his addiction was exposed.”

At that point Hunt looked at his watch and said, “We’ve been talking for 36 minutes, right? That’s 120 million searches for porn that have happened since you and I began talking.”

As our conversation was coming to a close, I asked him who his target audience for the film was. He laughed and said, “I’m going to go with a quote from the movie Argo: ‘People with eyes.’ The average age that people start actively looking for porn is about 10 years old. One in three porn addicts are women, 58% of divorces cite porn as one of the reasons, and 67% of men look at porn once a week at least. It affects the whole human demographic.

“When you look at someone you can often tell if they’re an alcoholic or a drug addict, but you can’t look at anyone to see if they’re a porn addict. Also, getting back to the topic of the brain, your brain can purge coke when you stop using it. It can purge alcohol. But you can’t purge these pornographic images completely out of your mind.”

I asked Hunt if he was in recovery from an addiction. “No,” he said, “never done a drug in my life and have never been addicted to anything else either.” So, why did he become interested in addiction? “I saw people facing problems. When we made American Meth, people weren’t talking about the topic all that much. Far Too Far came from what was left over in my brain from making American Meth. I turned it into a narrative that was based on a true story where a woman on meth pulls her ear drum out with pliers because she thinks the FBI is listening to her thoughts. When we made Absent, people weren’t talking about absent fathers like they are now. I hope that my new film will open up a conversation about porn addiction.”

This article was written by Dorri Olds and was originally published at on 02/05/17

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