Bethesda Workshops 

a place for healing from sexual addiction in Nashville, TN

General Information

The workshop is held at the Bethesda Center located in the Woodmont Hills Church building in Nashville, Tennessee. If you’re flying, the destination is the Nashville airport (code BNA).

The affordable fee covers all lodging and meals for the duration of the workshop. Specific information about the workshop fee is listed under Financial Information.

We don’t want financial issues to keep people from getting the help they need, and we do our best to work with a participant’s situation. Half of the workshop fee is due up-front and the remainder can be put on a no-interest payment plan. We also sometimes have scholarship funds available. The Financial Information section has suggestions about funding recovery, along with complete details about the payment plan and scholarship program, including a scholarship application.

Bethesda Workshops does not bill insurance. Each participant is responsible for paying the workshop fee. Insurance companies usually cite two reasons for not covering the cost of the workshop: It doesn’t take place in a hospital setting, and we don’t assign a specific diagnosis to participants.

The deposit is non-refundable in the event you cancel your registration. You may transfer to the next available workshop without penalty provided you notify us at least two weeks before the start of your originally scheduled workshop. Your deposit will be held  to be used for a maximum of 6 months or 3 consecutive workshops.  If you transfer within 10 business days of the start date, you’ll incur a $100 transfer penalty. As a non-refundable deposit, no refund will be given if you fail to notify us you won’t be attending, if you withdraw from the workshop early, if you’re asked to leave a workshop, or if you do not complete the workshop.

Bethesda provides limited shuttle service from the Nashville airport. Complete information will be in the packet you receive when you register.

All workshop participants have a roommate; there are no private rooms. Obviously, one reason is to contain costs. More important, we’ve found that a roommate is an important part of the workshop process. Having a roommate forces you to break the isolation that is part of the addiction/co-addiction picture. It also provides accountability and safety. It’s wise to bring ear plugs in case your roommate snores.

In general, anyone who seeks recovery from his or her sexual addiction or co-addiction may attend a Healing Workshop. You don’t have to be referred by a therapist. A participant, though, must be free from suicidal impulses, psychosis, and active alcohol and drug addiction. You must be able to self-regulate and maintain psychological stability while doing intensive work. If you have doubts about whether the workshop is an appropriate setting for you, please discuss your situation with the Bethesda Workshops director before registering.

Yes, the conference hotel has a small exercise room you may use before breakfast or late evenings when you return from the Bethesda Center.

The dress code for the weekend is definitely casual – jeans, jogging suits, shorts, etc. Because of the nature of the workshop, we pay special attention to requiring dress that’s appropriate for our sensitive setting. Females must wear modest attire: no tank tops, halter tops, spaghetti straps, short shorts or skirts, cleavage, very low-riding pants, or bare midriffs. It’s hard to find a temperature in the meeting room that suits everyone (most participants find it too cold), so bring a sweater or jacket. Dressing in layers is a good idea.

In order to keep your focus on your healing process, we do not allow cell phones during the workshop. If you call home, it’s easy to get sidetracked into an upsetting conversation, and work calls will similarly distract you. Leave your cell phone, iPad and laptop at home. If you feel you must travel with a cell phone for safety, turn if off before you walk into the Bethesda Center. You will not be allowed ANY contact with home, friends, work or anyone else from the time the workshop starts until it ends. We’ll collect all phones for the duration of the workshop. The information you receive after you register for a workshop provides instructions on how loved ones can contact you in the event of an emergency. Loved ones should not call the hotel or contact you in any way, including sending cards or flowers to the hotel.

Laptops and phones are off limits during the workshop. It’s in your best interest to stay in the “Bethesda bubble” and avoid all outside distractions. If you don’t think you can take a total time-out from work, it’s best to attend a Healing Workshop at another time.

In the event of a serious emergency, a family member can call the Bethesda Workshops office during the day. Your workshop paperwork will also provide a cell phone number for emergencies overnight.

The Bethesda Center is non-smoking, and we encourage participants to be nicotine free during the workshop. During meal breaks, you may step outside to smoke, if necessary. No cigars, please.

The workshop schedule begins each day at 8:30 am and normally continues until around 9:00 pm. Some nights you’ll have an overnight assignment. You’ll have brief breaks through the day and about an hour at mealtimes. For the duration of the workshop you won’t have time to leave the site, go sightseeing or connect with anyone you know in the Nashville area.

Meals are generally served buffet style and are well-rounded, balanced and tasty. The hotel serves a complimentary full continental breakfast; lunch is usually some kind of hearty sandwich, salad or soup; and supper is a meat option with vegetables and salad. Water and iced tea are the beverage choices. We can accommodate a vegetarian diet with advance notice. You must make your own arrangements for vegan meals or other special dietary needs.

It’s the participant’s responsibility to alert you that he/she has arrived before the workshop starts. We take up cell phones and other electronic devices at the start of the workshop, and after that point, we have a strict policy of no contact with people at home until the workshop ends. (This policy also covers any contact at all with the outside world, including with work.)

If someone fails to show up for a workshop, we contact the person listed as the emergency contact to report that the expected participant isn’t here.

Every participant has a roommate and is not allowed to leave the workshop site or the hotel without receiving permission from a staff member and unless accompanied by another person. No one goes anywhere alone, including driving back and forth from the hotel.

 

Questions from Couples

When faced with the devastation of sexual addiction, a couple may feel there’s no hope for their relationship. The good news is that the crisis of sexual betrayal can be the window into the kind of relationship both spouses have always wanted – a relationship of genuine intimacy. A coupleship in the truest sense of the one flesh union that God intends for marriage.

This kind of renewal, however, takes the same dedication to healing as a couple that’s required for individual recovery. A recovering sex addict and co-addict sometimes think that their individual work will automatically improve their relationship. In some ways, that’s true. It definitely helps the relationship when the addict is being faithful and the co-addict is addressing his or her own codependent behaviors.

Individual healing, though, doesn’t automatically translate into a healthy coupleship. Each couple has its own couple’s dance – a predictable pattern of interaction that’s been developed over the years. Maybe one spouse distances and the other pursues. Perhaps one mate over-functions and the other mate is irresponsible. Often both partners unconsciously project family of origin or other wounds onto the spouse, so that their relationship is complicated by additional baggage that was brought into the marriage. These patterns must be identified, understood, resolved and forgiven.

Rebuilding trust is a key task of couple’s recovery. The addict is responsible for re-earning trust that’s been broken, which is a process of demonstrating change over time. The co-addict must ultimately be willing to re-extend trust, which often is harder. Couples who are years down the road of recovery say that trust can be rebuilt to the point that it’s no longer an issue.

This healing process usually begins when both spouses come to understand each other’s woundedness. This understanding generates compassion and de-personalizes some of the pain the spouse has caused.

Effective couple’s recovery includes getting connected with other recovering couples. Just as the addict and co-addict need their individual support groups, the coupleship requires the same kind of help. A couple benefits from a sponsoring couple to mentor their journey.

The Healing for Couples Workshop provides a huge entry into couple’s recovery. It creates a foundation of compassion and structure that can carry a couple through the hard early months of healing.

Couples often feel powerless as the dysfunctions of their relationship continue, no matter how hard the spouses try to stop. One key answer to breaking this cycle is to change the patterns of unhealthy family systems, which each spouse brings into the marriage. Realize that you and your mate are probably doing the best job you can as a marriage partner. And your parents did, too. Recognize that you didn’t have the modeling, the instruction, or the unconditional love and nurturing you deserved as you were growing up. You lack the tools to have a healthy relationship, especially one struggling with the trauma of addiction. When you identify the ways you get triggered and how it affects your marriage, you can begin to change your behavior.

A variety of factors could have contributed to the failure of earlier counseling. One or both partners may not have been completely honest with the counselor. (Many active addicts won’t disclose their acting out, even to a therapist.) Maybe one or the other spouse was stuck in blame and unwilling to accept personal responsibility for his or her contribution to the relationship problems. Or perhaps you didn’t get the right kind of help.

Unfortunately, many counselors – including Christian counselors – aren’t trained in treating sexual addiction or in helping the marriages touched by this disease. If the “help” you got before didn’t go deeper than the behavioral issues, it’s no surprise it wasn’t helpful. Addicted couples must explore the “whys” behind their behavior patterns – the baggage each brings into the relationship.

We also find that too often couples jump into marriage counseling without working on themselves as individuals. We find this approach rarely works, and it’s why we require each spouse to attend his or her own individual workshop before coming to the couples workshop.

Nearly every couple wonders if – and when – the agony will ease. Trust is the number one issue with most couples. A Healing for Couples workshop is a safe place to express your hurt, fear, and your desire for healing. You’ll be coached to communicate and listen at a deeper level. The example of the leaders offers encouragement and hope, as well as a practical model for interacting differently.

First, discuss the possibility with your mate again. Find a time when things are calm and invite your spouse to a conversation about improving your marriage. Begin by sharing some positive things about your relationship. Assure your mate you’re interested in understanding him or her better and learning how to interact in a healthier way. Emphasize you’re willing to do your part in addressing any issues, and take responsibility for any lapses you’ve had since your own workshop. Share again how strongly you want to attend a Couples workshop and explain how it can be feasible in terms of arranging childcare, finances, etc.

If your spouse is still unwilling to consider coming to a couples intensive, ask why and really listen to the answer. Then take your own inventory first. Are you consistently working your own recovery program? Are you walking your talk? If not, commit to making the individual changes you need to make, and ask if your spouse is willing to attend the next workshop if you demonstrate progress.

Remember, you’re powerless over someone else’s choices. Keep doing what you’re supposed to do and leave the outcome to God. His timing is perfect, even when we doubt it. Don’t let your mate’s refusal keep you from working your own program.