When it comes to addiction, many people struggle with shame and guilt. But, by simply asking these questions, you have begun the process of looking for ways to lead a better life. If you are like most people, you can’t imagine life continuing the way it is now, but you can’t imagine life without your substance either. You may not know how to make a sustainable change.
Ask yourself — how much time are you spending thinking about using? How often are you using? How much time have you spent feeling ill or foggy after use? If you are truly honest with yourself, you will recognize how much time you spend using, thinking about using or recovering from using.
Deep down, you might be scared. Although you may regret all that wasted time, you may not know who you are without this addiction. You may feel utterly alone and uncertain of what the future could hold.
In the United States, one in ten people struggle with addiction. There are a lot of factors that contribute to this issue:
Our biology determines our predisposition to how we are going to use. If our parents or relatives had a problem with substances, we may be more likely to develop a problem. How old we were when we first used can be a factor in the process of our addiction. Certain ethnicities are predisposed to substance use and addictions.
Our psychology also contributes to how we use. We can be predisposed to issues, such as depression or anxiety. We may experience distressing life events, such as traumatic experiences or loss and disappointments, that we try to cope with through using.
Our social environment, both past and present, affects our use. A childhood filled with loneliness, abuse or a sense of ongoing rejection could lead to use and most current work and social groups may center around substance use.
You may be struggling with one of these factors, or a combination. Regardless of your particular experience, the good news is that 98 percent of people who recover from addiction do it with drug and alcohol abuse counseling, support groups and treatment. The longer you engage in addiction counseling, the better your outcome. You are not alone, and it is possible for you to reclaim your life.
For some clients, addressing trauma may be the key to starting the journey. For others, finding new meaning in life may be the foundation for sobriety. Whether you know what you want to do or need help uncovering your deepest needs, my team and I can help you develop the courage to make the changes in your environment that support moderation or abstinence.
I am a strong proponent of having support outside of the substance abuse treatment process. This could look like a strong family support system, a faith community, a 12-step program or a healthy outside interest group. In addition, if appropriate, I may start a conversation about medication. However, the choice to take medication is entirely up to you.
It’s important to understand that it may take a few months to a few years for your brain to recover from your addiction. This means you may not experience pleasure, even while doing pleasurable things, until your brain heals. This phenomena is called anhedonia. Although it may take time, every individual needs to know that they once again can experience pleasure in a substance-free life. Nutrition and exercise can help speed up this process and with the help of talk therapy and other support systems, you will be creating new and healthy pathways in the brain. Then, you can find new ways to experience immense pleasure in life again, without the fog of addiction.
I have over 20 years of experience as a substance abuse counselor, and I know it is possible for you to make a change. Nothing brings me more joy than seeing clients reach their full potential and begin to experience a meaningful and fulfilled life.
As an addiction and substance abuse counselor, I want to help you realize that you have an opportunity to live a different life—and the ability to thrive. 50 percent of success in addiction counseling depends on the relationship you have with your counselor. I believe that trust and respect are the foundation of a good therapeutic relationship. Here, in validating, supportive sessions, you can tell your story in confidence. Privacy and respect are central to our approach.
In sessions, we will address the questions you have about the recovery process, as well as your individual needs and goals. Because everyone is different, we do not use a cookie-cutter approach. Instead, our team will help you uncover the answers and tap into the strengths you already possess and you will feel empowered to pursue your own healing.
For some, the discussion of moderation is appropriate. How can you reduce your substance use in a healthy way that does not harm yourself or others? How can you begin to reduce your unhealthy behaviors? Depending on your lifestyle and goals, we can work with you to develop a plan to help you reduce your intake or addictive behaviors.
For others, abstinence is the clear choice. Together, we can start addressing the fears and challenges that may come up, we will create a collaborative approach and decide where to start.
Relapse is a part of recovery. It is not failure. Relapse does not mean that all your hard work is for nothing. For many, relapse is part of the recovery process and what is important is to remain hopeful and continue with your treatment. There is a lot of useful information that can be gained from your relapse and with the help of your substance abuse counselor, you can uncover the reasons that led up to the relapse and better understand what might trigger the compulsion to use. Then, you can continue to make sustainable changes that serve your overall well being.
In our experience, the clients who fully embrace the process most often have success. Addiction counseling works if you come with an open mind and willingness to work. Besides counseling, some clients may respond well to EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing. This effective form of trauma therapy can help you release the pain of the past and discover a new sense of possibility for the future.
To borrow an old cliché, you get out of it what you put into it. I am here to support your journey to the life you want to lead and to becoming the person you want to be.