ALCOHOL/SUBSTANCE ABUSE COUNSELING
- Do you have a problem with alcohol or drugs?
- Are you afraid of what will happen if you give up alcohol or drugs?
- Do you want to change and be free from addiction?
- Are you concerned about the stigma attached to going to counseling?
Alcohol and substance use disorders, often referred to as “addictions” are actually bad “habits” that some people have developed as a way of trying to cope with underlying psychological conflicts. There’s much that we do know and that we do not know about “why” some people are more susceptible to craving alcohol or a particular drug once they’ve tried it. Whereas others can have a glass of wine with dinner every night or even be heavy drinkers when they are out with friends and then just decide not to drink anymore because they enter into a relationship or have a spiritual conversion. The same is true for other addictions like food or gambling.
A BIOPSYCHOSOCIAL MODEL FOR ALCOHOL AND SUBSTANCE ABUSE COUNSELING
There’s no one-size fits all approach to treating alcohol and substance use disorders, which is why I believe that the biopsychosocial model is the best one for understanding and treating these and other addictions. The biopsychosocial model integrates information from the medical field about brain chemistry, the field of psychology about the conscious and unconscious, and fields such as sociology, anthropology, and social work about the history, cultural and spiritual beliefs that may influence the person. Thus, this comprehensive model helps guide treatment.
This means, there’s good news! Alcohol and substance use disorders, just like any other bad habit, can be broken or changed. Alcohol and drugs no longer have to control you. All that it takes is for you to decide that you love something else more than you love the alcohol or drugs and to do whatever it takes to do the hard work to maintain that loving relationship. In session, we will work together to help you identify the original reasons why you first started using, any unresolved psychological conflicts that you may have that contribute to your continued use, and help you plan for how to will cope with temptations that can make you susceptible to relapse. I have a lot of experience helping people obtain and maintain sobriety, as well as helping family members recognize their co-dependency and stop enabling their loved ones who are struggling with addiction.
ALTHOUGH YOU MAY SEE THE BENEFITS OF ALCOHOL AND SUBSTANCE ABUSE COUNSELING, YOU MAY STILL HAVE SOME QUESTIONS OR CONCERNS ABOUT THE PROCESS…
I don’t think I have a problem with alcohol or drugs, but other people think that I do.
It is not uncommon for other people to notice that we are having a problem before we do. If someone has brought it to your attention that they have concerns about the amount of alcohol or drugs that you are using or the effect that it is having on you, it’s time to seek out help from a professional. Remember that while it may be tempting to be angry at the people who are sharing their concerns with you, it’s actually an act of love to let someone know that they have a problem.
I have tried to stop drinking and using drugs multiple times throughout my life. I’ve been an addict for thirty years, beginning since I was a child and with only a few months of sobriety here and there. What am I missing?
While every person’s situation is different, this sounds like the typical child who lacked supervision and had access to alcohol and drugs because at least one parent was an addict too. Forgiveness therapy would need to be integrated into your treatment so that you may forgive your parent(s) and potentially others who you harbor anger towards, including those who may have assisted your parent(s) in their addiction, also known as co-dependency. Your addiction is essentially your way of “getting back” at your parents, even though it does nothing except hurt you. Once you forgive your parents, you can then learn healthy self-love and learn to share love with others, including those who you may be missing out on now, such as your own spouse and children. Alcohol and substance use disorder counseling is available because these disorders are treatable. There is hope if you want to be free from alcohol and drugs.
My spouse recently left with the kids because of my addiction. I should miss them, but I don’t. I don’t think my spouse should’ve left, but I don’t think I should have to change either.
This is a common problem with addiction. You “love” your addiction more than you “love” yourself and anyone or anything else. If alcohol and drugs have caused problems in your relationships, with your job, the law, or any other area of your life and you are still using, you haven’t learned anything and you are at risk of losing it all. Your addiction is nothing more than an illusion and right now it has you fooled. It’s true that you don’t have to change. Help and hope are available now, but just like your spouse and children, they may not be there later. The choice is yours.
How can you understand me and my addiction unless you are in recovery too?
I have helped a lot of people obtain and maintain sobriety. Addiction is something that is very near and dear to my heart because from a young age I have been around it and as a professional I have dedicated a portion of my practice to treating it and the effects of addiction, including the role of co-dependency. I disagree with the assumption that I must have the same problem as you do in order to understand you and treat you because that flies in the face of the argument that addiction is a disease. Only people who have experienced problems with alcohol and substance use disorder expect that or seek it out, which suggests that there’s a part of you and even those who are in recovery and treating the disorders know that there’s more to it than what the medical model portrays.