ALCOHOL/SUBSTANCE USE DISORDERS
- Do you often crave alcohol or drugs?
- Have you had difficulty in areas of your life that are important to you, such as relationships, school, or work and wish that you could turn back the clock?
- Do you feel powerless over your addiction?
- Are you a family member or friend of someone who has struggled with alcohol or drugs?
- Would you like to change, but feel embarrassed or ashamed to ask for help?
Traditionally, alcohol and drugs have been and are still perceived differently amongst many cultures within our society, which can help explain why some people choose to use a particular substance for the first time. If a substance is legal or misinformation from the government has been spread about the particular substance being “safe” or having medicinal uses, a person may be more likely to use it for themselves or others, such as a child or vulnerable adult. Other reasons why someone may start using alcohol or drugs for the first time include:
- to feel good
- to feel better
- to do better
- curiosity or peer pressure
Alcohol/substance use disorders affect you and your relationships. Many people who experience addiction and do not get help lose everyone who is important to them, even if they are able to eventually defeat the addiction and there are several reasons why this may occur. Other consequences of alcohol and substance use disorders, especially if they are left untreated include having impaired thinking and behaviors. You may also have physical and other psychological problems and more.
DRUGS ARE THE NUMBER ONE CAUSE OF INJURY AND DEATH IN THE UNITED STATES
If you have struggled with an alcohol or substance use disorder, it is critical to your well-being and the well-being of others that you get help. It is certainly understandable that you may feel embarrassed or ashamed to ask for help and to expose yourself in alcohol and substance abuse counseling or psychotherapy. I think most clients (if not all) feel that way. There’s probably an element of shame that you feel when you ask someone for money for your alcohol or drugs or don’t fulfill your promises and hurt people that love you, right? Addiction is very common and while there is more that we don’t know about why a person becomes addicted v. why others do not become addicted or can stop immediately without professional help when it comes to some substances like alcohol, we do have proven methods of alcohol and substance abuse counseling and psychotherapy can work.
ALCOHOL AND SUBTANCE ABUSE COUNSELING
Alcohol and other substance use disorders are complex disorders and there is no one-size fits all treatment. The first step for anyone who has this kind of problem is to admit it and seek out help. Depending upon the complexity of your condition, you may need inpatient treatment, for purposes of detox or outpatient medical intervention to ensure that you do not end up in a state of withdrawal that is worse for your body if you just try to quit on your own. Other supportive services may be necessary as well, once you are stabilized. But, if your body is not yet dependent upon the alcohol or other substance or are further along in your recovery, individual counseling may be what you need. Psychotherapy is another treatment approach that may be added on or as part of the individual counseling for alcohol and/or substance abuse. The good news is that there is hope and healing is possible because alcohol and other substance use disorders are very treatable if the person is motivated to change.
ALTHOUGH YOU MAY SEE THE BENEFITS OF PSYCHOTHERAPY AND ALCOHOL OR SUBSTANCE ABUSE COUNSELING, YOU MAY STILL HAVE SOME QUESTIONS OR CONCERNS ABOUT THE PROCESS…
I am a family member or friend of someone with an addiction. How can you help me?
I personalize my treatment approach based on your situation. You may have heard the buzzword “co-dependent” as it relates to addiction and that may even describe your relationship, but that’s not always the case. Alcohol and substance abuse counseling, psychotherapy, and even forgiveness therapy are possible treatment approaches that may be tailored to you and your situation based upon your relationship with the person who is struggling with addiction. Addiction has touched nearly every person’s life at one time or another, whether because they personally struggled with it, or a family member or friend is currently struggling with it or did in the past. Whether you are currently in the relationship or the relationship is over, I have many years of experience in this area to help you.
I have struggled with addiction most of my life. I have tried to stop before. I doubt that you can help me.
Like others who are suffering and have tried to get help, this is a valid concern. The difference with alcohol and substance use disorders, however, in comparison to other mental health disorders, is that they are “habits” that can be changed if you decide that you love something more than you “love” whatever it is that has resulted in the addiction. In session, we will work towards understanding your reason for starting to use alcohol or drugs, including any unconscious conflicts or motivations. This will help you to develop a new understanding of your habit by assigning new language to your motivation. You can then learn what it means to love and decide whether your current temporary solution to relieving your pain is working for you or if you want to change and know what real love is by learning to give it to others first. The secret to overcoming any addiction is choosing to love something else, more than whatever “feeling” you get from your addiction.
I don’t have the money for counseling or therapy.
The first step towards recovery from addiction is about taking responsibility for your life and investing in your future, so that you can have a better life after you change the habit of addiction. You have been able to find ways to pay for alcohol or drugs and may have even gone so far as to lose your job, family, and housing. There are social services programs that are out there that are supplemented by taxes and the generosity of others, but they also vary in quality.
If your addiction or your family member or friend’s addiction wasn’t serious enough, you wouldn’t be reading this article and searching for help. You already know some of the possible consequences of choosing not to change your behavior and how hard it can be to do it without professional help. You probably have a good idea of how much money you have lost over the years and will likely continue to lose if you don’t change. You are worth the investment. Continuing the habit of addiction will only cost you more. The choice is yours.