Has Your Substance Use Become A Problem?
- Do you wake up in the middle of the night regretting what you may have said or done the night before?
- Has drinking or drug use become your way to mask difficult thoughts and feelings you would rather push away?
- Are you ready to come to terms with your substance abuse and figure out what your next steps will be?
Perhaps as much as you’d like to break the habit of nightly drinking, you continue to slip. Or maybe you experience problems at home or work as a result of substance use that are becoming harder to ignore.
If you already have a mental health diagnosis, such as anxiety or depression, drinking or drugs may have become your preferred coping mechanism. But ultimately, your substance use may be causing a rollercoaster of feelings that aggravates your symptoms and leaves you feeling worse.
You May Be Hiding Your Behavior From Others
You might feel ashamed that your drinking has gotten out of hand, leading you to hide it from others or rationalize the impact it has on your life. Deep down, you may be frustrated that you aren’t living authentically in alignment with your values.
The pain of substance abuse can leave you feeling isolated and confused. If only you could cut back or stop altogether, you could get life back on an even keel. Or maybe you have already gone through addiction recovery and could benefit from working with a substance abuse counselor one-on-one.
The good news is that addiction therapy offers you a non-judgmental place to talk about your substance use—or abuse—honestly and openly. In alcohol or prescription drug addiction treatment, you can decide what action you are ready to take.
Drinking And Celebrating Are Interwoven In Our Culture
Having a substance use disorder can affect anyone, no matter our age, gender, or education level. According to the 2020 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), “40.3 million Americans, aged 12 or older, had a substance use disorder in the past year.”¹
Substance use can be exacerbated by the amount of stress we are exposed to as well as pre-existing mental health disorders. However, what makes alcoholism in particular so insidious is how normalized it is in our culture. Drinking is associated with celebrating and is incorporated into most special events. Because drinking is entwined with how we socialize, it can be hard to escape its influence and acknowledge when we have a problem.
Addiction Is Both A Mental And Physical Issue
In addition to its underlying emotional component, addiction is also physiological. As the substance begins to alter the circuitry of the brain, naturally-producing dopamine becomes depleted. And because we require more substances to get high the longer we use, our addiction grows. To quit substances, we have to address the symptoms of withdrawal that may also arise.
Admitting that your substance use has gotten out of hand can be difficult. You may be in denial that you need help. However, getting curious is the first step in determining how much it impacts your relationships, self-esteem, and energy level.
Although substance abuse can be an isolating disorder, with therapy you don’t have to go through this journey alone. With counseling, you can evaluate your level of concern and make whatever adjustments you deem necessary to curb your addiction to drugs or alcohol.
Addiction Counseling Will Be Your Personal Journey
For many of us, turning to substances is the solution to an underlying problem. Drinking or taking drugs has become an unhealthy coping mechanism for dealing with life’s stressors. Substances might also offer a way for you to self-medicate underlying anxiety or depression. If substances have been a solution that’s no longer working for you, that’s okay. In addiction treatment, we just have to find out what the underlying problem is.
Substance use disorders are often cloaked in shame. Talking to an addiction counselor gives you a safe, non-judgmental space to process what you are experiencing. Therapy allows you to examine the reasons why you may be using substances in the first place. By digging deeper, you can learn not only how your substance abuse affects your daily life, but also how to cope with and heal the big feelings that underlie your behaviors. Whether your substance use disorder is mild or moderate, we can help you find answers for how to move forward into a more authentic life.
What To Expect In Addiction Counseling
This is your journey—you will be the one in charge of setting your goals and determining what you want to accomplish. Perhaps you would like to quit substances altogether or at least try to curb your use so it’s no longer out of control. Or, if you have relapsed after going through recovery before, you might want to reestablish your sobriety.
If you’re willing to dive into your past to uncover what hurts substance use might be masking, counseling can help you reveal the “why” that fuels addiction. By exploring your history of trauma and attachment, we can examine this “why” together. What’s more, your counselor will help you identify what repairs you might need to make within your relationships as well as encourage you to tap into outside support to gather community.
Additionally, if we determine that outpatient addiction counseling isn’t the right level of care, your therapist will be happy to help coordinate the appropriate inpatient treatment for you.
Our Somatic Approach To Addiction Therapy
Utilizing somatic modalities that address both body and mind can be a beneficial treatment for drug addiction or alcohol abuse. When substance use becomes a daily habit, we lose the ability to regulate our nervous system, which throws our window of tolerance out of balance². However, somatic or body-based approaches can help regulate your nervous system and restore balance by getting in touch with the body through breathwork and other grounding practices.
Millions of people suffer from substance use disorders—but with therapy, you don’t have to suffer in silence. With the support and accountability of an addiction counselor, you can set and reach goals that you are passionate about and create a vision for what your substance-free life will look like.
But You May Have More Questions About Addiction Counseling…
Once I start substance abuse therapy, what if I realize I’m not ready to quit drinking?
You don’t necessarily have to stop drinking to explore the reasons why you use substances. However, if you are feeling that nudge to seek therapy, some part of you has already realized that your substance use—or, perhaps, abuse—is out of balance with your life goals. We encourage you to lean into that voice and explore the role substances are playing in your life. Ask yourself what potential changes you would like to make to align your goals with your authentic self.
I have tried Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) before and it hasn’t worked for me. Does AA have to be a part of my treatment for alcoholism?
There is no one-size-fits-all answer when it comes to recovery groups. While we highly encourage supplementing group therapy with your substance use disorder counseling, this choice is entirely up to you. While groups like AA have helped millions of people, new groups are popping up every day that can provide you with the support and community you need during the recovery process. If you need a referral, your therapist will be happy to help you.
If I don’t consider myself an addict, do you still recommend counseling?
As therapists who specialize in addiction and substance abuse treatment, we don’t believe in labels that might stigmatize. In therapy, we can simply acknowledge that substances have become a problem in your life and go from there. Addiction counseling is a judgment-free zone. Whether we use terms like “addict” and “alcoholic” or you prefer “alcohol-free” and “abstinent,” we can use whatever language you are comfortable with. Most importantly, we will focus on how you can align your values to how you live your life.
We Can Help You Come To Terms With Your Substance Use
Getting honest about your relationship with substances can lead to a happier, more balanced life. If you would like to find out more about addiction counseling, please visit our contact us page or call (720) 798-4064 to schedule a consultation.
There is so much love for you here!