I have a good friend that suffers from sexual addiction. She is a single Mom living in a shelter for abused women as part of a “second step” or “phase two” program. She is extremely worried that her addictions will destroy any relationship she might ever have with a man and also terrified of the life her daughter would have if she ends up succumbing to her desires. Is there anything I can do to help? What resources are available to learn more? Where can she go for help that is confidential, effective and inexpensive?

A. Your friend is fortunate to have your support, compassion and willingness to help. People with sexual addictions often feel alone and ashamed.

One idea is to talk to one of the shelter staff members about whether your friend can be referred to a sexual addiction counselor. Either you can speak to a staff member or she can. From my experience, individuals who work at the community level are the best resource regarding available local programs. Many of the women who enter shelters usually have a number of issues they are facing and need to be referred to one or many local resources. For instance, links to services may include food pantries, relationship and legal counseling, mental health and substance abuse services, housing services, and many more. This might be one way the shelter staff can help.

If that is not an option then perhaps you can try the local community mental health center (CMHC). They may know of services she can be referred to. Again, since the CMHC staff work at the community level, they’re usually the “go to” people for locating community resources.

I’m not certain of your specific location so I am only able to provide you with links to national resources. Sex Addicts Anonymous (SAA) is one resource to try. A website called sex addiction help has a list of references to national resources that may be of assistance to you. Lastly, this website has a place to enter your zip code and find local therapists who treat individuals with sexual addictions. I hope these resources are helpful to you. Thanks for writing and I wish you and your friend the best of luck.