Has Drinking or Taking Drugs Taken Priority In Your Life?
Did your addiction begin as a reward to yourself after a stressful event or as a coping mechanism during a challenging period in your life? Perhaps it has helped you to "unwind" at home after a long day at work, to "loosen up" with colleagues during happy hour or to enhance the fun factor during a night out with friends. Have you used alcohol or drugs to numb out feelings of emotional pain, sadness or depression? Maybe you suffered an injury or had surgery and received a prescription pain medication, but now you continue to habitually use it even in the absence of physical pain or stress. Do you drink, or take drugs, in advance of social situations because they help "take the edge off”? It’s possible you reached sobriety in a treatment program before, but now you are using again and worry you’ll never find lasting relief? Do you wish you could stop relying on substances to get through each day and confidently move forward in a rewarding and connected life?
You may have started organizing your life around your substance use
The idea of actually stopping may feel like breaking up with someone or saying goodbye to a trusted friend. You may have even convinced yourself that you can handle your drinking or drug use despite evidence to the contrary (losing friends or family, being fired from your job, suffering a blackout or getting a DUI). At one time, alcohol or drugs may have helped you get through the workday, but now your boss or co-workers—and maybe even you—have noticed a decrease in your productivity or increasingly frequent missed days at work. Each day, your addiction may be affecting the sleep-wake cycle, leaving you foggy, unclear in thought and low on energy. Your substance use may also be harming your important relationships, especially if you have made choices to spend time with alcohol or drugs at the expense of time spent with friends or family.
You Are Not Alone—Many People Struggle With Alcohol and Substance Use
Addiction to alcohol and/or drugs is very common. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, an estimated 24.6 million Americans aged 12 or older had used an illicit drug in 2013. While rates of alcohol dependence/abuse have been in decline since 2002, 17.3 million Americans were dependent on alcohol or had difficulties related to their use of alcohol, according to the NIDA survey in 2013. According to The New York Times, the opioid/prescription drug epidemic continues at an alarming rate, and estimates suggest overdose deaths from opioids rose 19 percent between 2015 and 2017.
The good news is that with the help of a compassionate, experienced addiction counselor, you can begin taking the right steps to regain control of your life. With a better understanding about addiction, an ability be honest with yourself and a willingness make a commitment to yourself to change, you can begin to take steps toward your preferred future, one that is happier, healthier and more fulfilling.
Addiction Counseling Can Help You Take Your Life Back
My best hope is that we can have an open, nonjudgmental and safe conversation about your past and current type and level of use, and that we may explore the direction you would like to go. I will help you identify how drug and/or alcohol use may be harming your personal well-being and your relationships. Together, we will explore how you would like to live your life and we will explore the difference that getting clean and sober would make in your life. I can help you identify your “readiness” to change, and I can help you examine the costs—and the benefits—derived from your drinking and/or drug use. Further, I can help you modify the addictive thinking and rationalization that usually accompany addiction.
During our initial assessment we may discover that you would be best served by a higher level of care than individual weekly counseling by itself can provide. We'll explore whether individual counseling with me is appropriate for your type and level of substance or alcohol use. We can explore whether a different kind of treatment —e.g., detox, inpatient, outpatient, 12-step program, or combination of these—would work best for you, taking into consideration your personal needs and goals.
As a Solution-Focused Therapist, I will work with you to highlight the strengths, resources and resilience that you already have within yourself to make change—you may not have realized you had them! For example, if you have successfully stopped drinking or using for a period of time in the past, then that is a strength, just waiting for you to harness again. You may have inspired someone else to take care of themselves and to live a healthier, substance-free lifestyle, even if you struggled to consistently do so yourself. That doesn't mean you should give up. YOU HAVE RESILIENCE. AND YOU CAN HAVE HOPE, TOO.
As a certified substance abuse treatment provider through the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy (AAMFT) and the Matrix Institute on Addictions, I understand the struggle. I understand how it starts, how it progresses, and how it takes over your life. I also have hope that you can regain control of your life again. I would like to help you connect—or re-connect—to a sober community as a way to expand your support system outside of addiction therapy. We will work to expand your healthy coping skills so that when you have thoughts or feelings that make you crave a drink or a drug, you can implement your own interventions and build lasting resilience long after you complete therapy.
As a Marriage and Family Therapist, I have dedicated a major part of my practice to helping people identify their alcohol and substance use patterns and to encourage people to examine the effects that their addiction is having on their lives and relationships. I have a passion for helping people figure out what steps they would like to take to create meaningful change and build a future that can be more fulfilling and free of the detrimental effects of alcohol and drugs. I have seen how addiction wreaks havoc in people's lives—and in the lives of those who love them. For those who have found recovery, I have been humbled by the motivation and commitment and hard work that come with that.
What If I Still Have Concerns or Questions About Recovery Counseling?
I’m not sure if I can commit to making change yet.
It's pretty common to feel ambivalent or uncertain about change. But just considering or thinking about addressing your alcohol or substance use is a huge first step. Once you have decided that making a change could be worthwhile in your life, seeking professional help may be your next step. In taking this next step, you are dedicating yourself to improving your emotional and physical health and starting on a new, more rewarding path. But it all begins with you—it is your choice to seek help, and it is on your timeline, not anyone else's. If you have been sober or clean before—even if you lapsed—then you already have the resilience, strength and experience to re-dedicate yourself!
I want to get clean and sober through addiction therapy, but my significant other or family is discouraging me. What can I do?
You may be feeling torn about seeking treatment or therapy because you are not getting encouragement or support from your significant other or family members. You may be feeling some anxiety or depression about your loved one not being on board to support you. Something you might ask yourself is: Why does my loved one deter me from getting help? Addiction and recovery counseling can offer you a safe, non-judgmental environment to explore these issues and what they mean to you, as a way to sort out your feelings, thoughts and plans about moving forward.
I think I might need a treatment program and/or medication management. Can you help with this?
While individual therapy cannot replicate the experience of an addiction treatment program and cannot provide medication management, in an initial session we can sit down and talk about what might work best for you. I can provide recommendations and/or referrals but ultimately you are in the driver’s seat. My goal is to help you sort out your options and to help you decide which direction you would like to go. In most cases, if you are suffering from addiction, individual therapy alone will not be enough. But we can have a conversation about what might be most helpful to you, what you feel you are ready to do or not do, and to help you clarify for yourself what you want from sobriety.
What if I struggle with depression, feel anxious or relapse during alcohol and drug counseling?
It is not uncommon for other issues to come up during the course of getting or staying clean and sober. It is pretty normal to feel the pangs of cravings while you undertake your recovery work. It can be an adjustment dealing with everyday life with a sense of clarity, and absent the fog of the high. Relapse is oftentimes part of the recovery process. It is nothing to be ashamed of; instead, it can truly be an opportunity for you to recommit yourself to living the life you want. No matter the emotions and challenges that arise during treatment, you and I can work together to help you cope with these feelings and thoughts as they come up, and I will provide you with some tools that you can draw upon to counterbalance these issues.
Overcome Addiction and Regain Control Of Your Life
If you are ready to find relief from addiction, I am here, waiting to explore how positive change may transform your life. You can call me at 424-443-8548 for a FREE 15-minute phone consultation, during which we can talk briefly about your alcohol and drug usage issues and treatment goals. If you prefer, you can reach me via this contact form and I will get back to you so that, if you like, we can schedule an initial 50-minute appointment. I will respond to your voicemail or email as soon as possible, usually within 24 hours (business days). If sending an inquiry by email, please limit your communications, as email is generally not a secure or confidential medium.