Trying to understand and overcome addiction on your own can be a very slippery slope. In addition to the seemingly endless forms of addiction – food, drugs, sex, gambling, shopping, alcohol – there appears to be an equally infinite number of ways that addictions can wreck havoc in our lives. Like a pebble tossed into a pond, the ripples spread out further and further, encompassing various aspects of family life, friendships, work, attitudes, physical health, stability, security, finances, psychological well being, and on and on until it seems impossible to put life back on track, reign in the terror, ease the pain and restore a peaceful life. But it can be done – and addiction counseling makes it possible.
The Cost of Addiction
Addiction Counseling can take many paths to wellness. Certainly the benefits to addiction counseling can be seen in lives turned around as your hope for happiness is restored. Addiction counseling assists you in looking specifically at the effects and connections of addictions to your neurobiology, brain chemistry, sugar balance, stress and depression levels, cravings, weight management, sleep habits, cognition and other possible side effects involving unhealthy addictions.
Getting at the Roots of Addiction
Addiction counseling strives to get at the root of addictions – the painful thoughts behind the negative, destructive and attacking behaviors and actions that only appear to be out of your control. The underlying thoughts often include guilt, false ideas, shame, neediness, abuse, self-hatred, anxiety, depression, fear, obsession, control issues, as well as, feelings of isolation, lack, insecurity, confusion, dependence and discomfort.
Acquiring the Tools Needed
Counseling for addiction provides the tools needed to create the inner change of mind that is necessary to manifest and achieve both the inner and outer changes required to live the life you truly aspire to. Addiction counseling puts the keys to happiness and satisfaction back in your own hands reclaiming the control you had given to many outside forces that only seemed to have authority over your life choices and decisions.
Psychotherapy for addiction helps you step back and examine what is really being sought, as well as, how and where it is being sought. Then, together with a non-judgmental therapeutic presence – you can question the validity of beliefs surrounding the likelihood of achieving these goals and truly finding what is sought after. In this way, addiction counseling can get to the root of underlying causes for addictive habits which merely cover over the deeper problems that need healing and resolution.
Making Healthy Choices
Addiction counseling makes it possible to actually find what you are looking for, clearly determine and define what that is, and discover how to make the right choices. A centered, loving, healthy, secure, peaceful state of mind is the goal that can be accomplished in addiction counseling. Counseling for addiction helps you choose for yourself, rather than against yourself, away from pain, rather than towards it, opening the way for the peace you deserve and realizing the power of your own decisions. An aspect of that decision making comes into play with actions taken to break the chains of addiction.
Addiction counseling may be effectively supplemented by joining an appropriate support group –
- Alcoholics Anonymous (AA)
- Gamblers Anonymous (GA)
- Overeaters Anonymous (OA)
- Debtors Anonymous (DA)
- Sex and Love Addicts Anonymous (SLAA)
- Adult Children of Alcoholics (ACOA)
It may involve finding a group in which to do the 12 Step program, choosing a sponsor, attending more than one group at times – for example, when it applies – AA and Alanon for what is referred to as the “double winners.” The addiction counselor may suggest supportive resources in the form of reading material and books.
The Ultimate Goal
Addiction counseling helps you work through the feelings that underlie all addictions – while encouraging you not to become identified with your addictions – nor to live identified with the addiction as you proceed through recovery. New healthy relationships are fostered to replace the old unhealthy ones whether they were with substances, things or people. Finally, addiction counseling teaches you to find real peace by learning to recognize the triggers that would spur a relapse. Through support via individual and group therapy along with attending 12 Step programs, cultivating hobbies, interests and healthy relationships, addiction counseling ends the vicious cycles, breaks unhealthy habits, renews your strength and faith in yourself and helps to heal your mind that thought it was helplessly imprisoned and controlled by your addictions.
Photo credit: Viktor Hanacek