Different Flavors of Addiction Counseling
Updated: Sep 11, 2018
· Individual counseling focused on developing and sustaining abstinence:
Many chemically dependent people make the mistake of thinking that stopping their drinking or other drug use equals success. While it is always a good idea to stop, the key to success is staying stopped and developing a comfort level in sobriety. This requires many different skills: relapse prevention skills, communication skills, anger management skills, emotional management skills, assertiveness skills and recreational skills, to name just a few.
· Relapse prevention training to identify relapse triggers and develop effective coping skills:
Even individuals highly motivated to stay sober often get “triggered” and find themselves in relapse. These triggers may be people, places, or things; they may be thoughts or feelings; they may be entirely sensory in nature. It is critical to identify one’s individual triggers, avoiding the ones we can and developing coping skills to deal with the triggers we cannot avoid.
· Codependency counseling for affected family members:
Everyone close to a substance abusing individual gets affected and we each develop different ways to try and make sense out of a senseless situation. We try to control a person or situation that seems to be out of control. We attempt to help someone who obviously needs help, but nothing seems to work. We take on responsibilities that are rightfully not ours and we make excuses for our loved one’s seeming inability to be responsible for themselves. We focus so much of our energy on the one we’re trying to help that we lose sight of our own needs. Everyone needs help.
· Family systems education aimed at overcoming childhood issues for Adult Children of Alcoholics:
Those who grow up in alcoholic or similarly dysfunctional family systems learn to adapt to the insanity and inconsistency to which they are exposed. Children take on different roles, often determined by their birth order, in response to their situation. They later carry these ways of responding into their adult relationships and experience difficulty with intimacy. Unwritten rules in an alcoholic family include Don’t Talk, Don’t Trust, and Don’t Feel.
· Communication skills:
Addiction is a disease of isolation. What initially seemed to lower inhibitions and make people more sociable, eventually causes them to become more and more isolated as their behavior becomes more antisocial. Addicts and alcoholics experience feelings of embarrassment, shame, and even self-loathing. They have to lie about their behavior to others and even to themselves. Their loss of self-esteem makes communication with others extremely difficult.
· Assertiveness skills:
As addiction progresses, the addict becomes more and more selfish and self-centered. When the addict gets clean and begins the recovery process, he or she needs help in identifying their needs and asking for them appropriately. They may not feel worthy and are afraid of being seen as still selfish. The family members or loved ones have often lost focus on themselves and are completely out of touch with their own needs. Both need help to ask for what they want.
· Integration into 12-Step recovery:
While 12-Step programs are not the only path to sustainable recovery, they are the most successful treatment the world has ever seen. 12-Step programs teach accountability, provide reality checks, supply identification and a sense of belonging, offer validation, offer direction, and point to a reliance on God. Involvement in 12-Step programs, for both the addict and the affected family member, provides a platform for recovery and greatly accelerates the recovery process.