People enter treatment for a variety of reasons whether it is about alcohol or drug use. Some people just want a safe space to explore whether or not their alcohol/drug use is a problem without judgment. Other people have made an active decision to reduce their alcohol/drug use or to stop their use entirely due to the impact it is having on their lives or because it does not align with how they want to live.
I like to start treatment by talking about the role of alcohol/drugs in your life currently, what it has looked like over time, and what role you are looking to have alcohol/drugs play in your life in the future. We will talk about your goals and collaboratively establish steps toward achieving those goals. We talk about how it goes to work toward these steps each week and discuss any skills it may be helpful to use to achieve the goals. We will also talk about any barriers that can get in the way of you making the changes you desire.
Recovery, if that is your goal, looks different for everyone. For some people, learning about addiction and gaining some skills or tools helps them quickly find their path. For other people, the road to recovery is a struggle and takes multiple attempts. Often, people get discouraged along the way and further become burdened with guilt and shame. It is important to learn about addiction and to address any of your feelings about addiction, as sometimes these feelings can become their own relapse trigger. Know that every time you make an effort toward your goals, you will learn more about what you need for your own recovery process.
I believe people do benefit from support when trying to make changes in their alcohol or drug use. This support can come from family members and friends that you are comfortable talking to about your goals and asking for support. The support can also come from community recovery programs. I am familiar with 12-step recovery programs and will support you in the use of these programs if these programs are a part of your recovery process. However, I know 12-step programs are not a fit for everyone. Some people find groups such as LifeRing or SMART Recovery to be a better fit. I will support you in identifying your own supports as you are ready and help you incorporate them in moving forward toward your goals.
Another potential aspect of the recovery process for some people is the use of prescribed medications. This can include medications specifically designed to help with addiction recovery or medications to assist with addressing some underlying issues that trigger alcohol or drug use, such as depression or anxiety. I am supportive of those who choose to use medication as part of their recovery process and will also tell you if I believe medication could be a beneficial part of your process. I do not personally prescribe medication but will work to coordinate your treatment with a psychiatrist of your choosing.
Here are some links to information on community support programs for recovery:
Here are some books that people have found helpful in their recovery journey as well:
- The Wisdom to Know the Difference: An Acceptance and Commitment Therapy Workbook for Overcoming Substance
- The Addiction Recovery Skills Workbook
- The Mindfulness Workbook for Addiction: A Guide to Coping with the Grief, Stress, and Anger that Trigger Addictive Behaviors