Have you decided to do something about drinking, other drug use, or addictive behaviors such as gambling, sex, or use of the Internet? If the answer is "yes", you've already taken some important steps toward a better life.
There will be many choices to consider along the way. Fortunately, a wealth of assistance is available from professional, community and self-help resources to support and guide you to do your best.
If you're like most people, you probably agree that it makes perfect sense to talk to someone about your problems with substances or behaviors. Talking to a counselor or psychotherapist who is an expert in the area of chemical dependency usually is a good place to start.
However, it takes courage to come to terms with this sort of problems. Many people are unwilling to take steps in their own behalf. You deserve respect for your willingness to come to terms with the situation.
Acknowledging that help is needed may not be easy; but keep in mind that the sooner a person gets help, the better the chances are for a successful recovery.
In our society, the myth prevails, that problems with substances or behaviors is somehow a sign of moral weakness.
As a result, you may feel that to seek help is to admit some type of shameful defect. Problems like these tend to get worse when ignored. Seeking help is a sign of strength and commitment to actively do something to come to terms with the situation. You do not deserve to be shamed for having a problem. You may however feel more and more ashamed if you do nothing about it.
The important thing to remember is that you have choices.
Unless your life or the life of those around you is in immediate danger, you are free to choose among available options.
Another exception to your right to choose may occur if you are ordered into a recovery program by the court system. If that is your situation, you may have no choice about being in treatment but you will have many choices about what you get out of it.
If you come to see me for help, I will ask you a number of questions about your alcohol/drug, gambling, sexual behavior or Internet use to determine whether you are experiencing related physical, emotional, social, family or work/school problems. Try to answer these questions as fully and honestly as you can.
If your body has become dependent, detoxification may be required. Most health care providers recommend detoxification in a controlled environment such as an inpatient hospital or rehabilitation setting, in order to provide protection from some of the worst physical effects of withdrawal. Medication is sometimes provided to ease the detoxification process. For those who have become biologically dependent on street drugs, prescription drugs or alcohol, appropriate medication may be prescribed to relieve the desire to self-medicate. The goal is to break the seemingly endless loop of trying and failing in recovery.
Sometimes, a recommendation is made for a follow-on stay in a residential program.
If we decide to work together in outpatient counseling, we will discuss your goals and develop a plan to meet them. The most important point to remember is that unless your life or the life of others is in danger because of your drinking/other drug use or addictive behaviors, you will always be in the position of gathering information and making decisions in your own best interest. I will never tell you what to do but I will assist you to come to terms with the situation. My professional role (based on considerable training and decades of experience with recovery) will be to support and guide you to define, confront and resolve your problems.
We can work together, focusing on and working toward reaching the following milestones of early recovery:
Assessment of your medical needs and attending to them
Addressing your cravings to use
Accomplishing day by day initial abstinence (if that is your goal)
Beginning your education about addiction and abuse
Creating the beginnings of a support system
In addition, you can consider many treatment options including family member participation to help support recovery for everyone involved.
Since abuse and addictions have profound negative effects upon entire families and all concerned others, anyone who is touched by an alcohol/drug problem or other addictive behaviors is welcome to contact me at their discretion to inquire about help and support.
Whether you participate in an inpatient or outpatient program, individual counseling, group counseling, a self-help recovery program such as Alcoholics Anonymous/Narcotics Anonymous or a non spiritually based program such as Secular Organization for Sobriety, give yourself credit for taking steps toward a better life.