The Recovery Budget

For over eight years now I’ve heard women tell horrifying stories of how much money has been spent on their husband’s or boyfriend’s recovery programs. Five figures and six figures are poured into equine therapy, religious value outfits, many named to sound like resorts and others named to sound authoritative and calm everyone down. They aren’t cheap, especially when celebrities are known to have checked in there. Then there are the costs of individual therapists before and after these treatment stays. Women watch as their life-savings are emptied, second mortgages are secured, retirement plans are altered—all in order to fund these investments in their beloved’s recovery—which never shows up.

In my case, I lost my health coverage precisely because my ex was covered under my plan. I changed the plan when we were separated but through a series of administrative mistakes, they kept paying his CSAT therapist claims and suddenly I was on the hook for over $5 Grand that I didn’t have. I had to pay or lose my coverage. I lost my coverage. He simply secured his own under his name and kept going.

Like most of my clients, had any of this financial outlay generated anything in my husband that looked remotely like recovery and improvement in our relationship, I would have considered it a sound investment. I wanted him to be well. I wanted my marriage to continue. I loved him. My hopes and dreams for our life together were still my hopes and dreams. To me, his recovery would have been a sound investment. In fact, as others may discover in their lives, during recovery his cruelty toward me escalated and he didn’t even pretend to hide the contempt that he had for me. Everything about “recovery” was used to justify why he needed to abuse, cheat, betray and deceive me, and to learn how to do it in new ways with the therapist’s and support group’s help. Yes, I paid for all this and lost my coverage, to boot.

The other problem related to coverage is that many women tell me that their benefits plan can pay for his stay at the recovery centres/ranches/meadows/-stones/etc., so they go ahead with that investment only to discover after that he won’t submit the claim. After he gets home he doesn’t want anyone to know he went there. So, yet another deception is added to all the others. His bonus is that he also can claim he did what she asked by going and getting a rave review on his (fake) recovery. Then he can carry on pretending his problem wasn’t real or was really just her exaggeration by not submitting the claim for it. So now their bank account has been drained of money she might need for herself and he can weaponize his stay against any complaints she raises about his ongoing conduct.

Of course, a worse problem is when women try to participate in the family or spousal programs from these places and emerge from their weekend program bewildered at best, or re-traumatized, at worst (and it’s usually the latter). Again they’ve spent thousands for this experience, where they are urged to take responsibility for their role in his addiction, commit to staying with him, and also to support him in everything while accepting the concept of “disclosure” controlled by their goals and their priority for his protection. Spousal trauma and needs are not addressed in any serious level of care and commitment. They have simply been the prop needed to pay lip service to the wife in the addict-centered treatment program that has no results to demonstrate any believable expectation for recovery.

You also should be aware that there are referral “kickback” arrangements between some CSAT’s and certain facilities. So, if you go where the CSAT suggests, the CSAT makes money, too. In fact, I’ve heard more than one story where the client is “fired” by the CSAT if the wife isn’t compliant with the facility specifically because her problematic behaviour jeopardizes the “professional” relationship between the two treatment practices.

Clearly I could go on at length at the other money pits within the sex addiction industrial complex, but the point is that all the money goes into his life, usually to no benefit of yours. Whether covered by insurance or not, the money is often gone forever; tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands of dollars gone forever. Meanwhile the wife or girlfriend is still up to her neck in trauma symptoms with no practical support or compassionate caring from anyone. And he is usually strutting about like a peacock listing off his expectations of her now that he did what she wanted.

So my point today is that you need to set up a recovery budget right from the get go. And he needs to agree to it. Your budget should provide equal funds for you both. Some cash funds need to be available to each other for recovery use, and a clear commitment to make use of any and all insurance coverage wherever possible. In some cases you may not be able to submit claims to get the help you need. There needs to be money available anyway. Any back-peddling on him submitting claims means you get the same amount in cash with the understanding that it will not be considered in any subsequent separation agreement. You will deposit that money in a separate account to which he has no access. You then can purchase help and support from anyone you believe can provide it.

The recovery budget is a critical piece for ensuring you can find and pay for the help you deserve. It shields you from financial ambushes that come later with his ongoing deception and lies, and ensures that your recovery is not derivative of or dependent on his recovery, but a legitimate individual claim on relationship finances. This is important. There are no statistics to support any expectation of his recovery. So if yours is contingent on his—you will never get there.

Creating a recovery budget is a first step in you making yourself visible as a real person in this story—a person who is not derivative of his pathologies or someone whose recovery depends on his. Your life is your own. It is precious. It is sacred. He has damaged it to the core of your being. Invest in your life at least as much as you are investing in his. Yes, recovery will cost you. But not just his. Informed and compassionate support for you is not free. And your life is worth as much as his. Make a budget that makes your needs visible and funded.

Please, we only get one life. Don’t let him or his therapist or his treatment program piss away your access to resources to recover from the trauma he visited upon you.

If you are in a recovery story that is turning into a money pit, or if you want to avoid that—your story is safe here.

With you




Diane Strickland