Substance Abuse and Alcoholism“High-Functioning,” Is Substance Abuse Compromising Your Ability To Be Happy?
Do you find it difficult to limit your alcohol or drug use? Has the desire to drink or use impacted your relationships, work, or daily life? Do you wish you could simply control your urges?
You may have noticed signs of alcohol and drug abuse creeping into your life. Changes in your sleep and eating patterns have caused you to feel different physically. And it’s likely that physical consequences of overuse—including frequent hangovers and dips in your energy level—have led to a lack in motivation.
As a result, you may not be functioning as well as you could be. Regularly exhausted and/or hyper-focused on when you can unwind after a long day, you may have neglected your responsibilities at work or at home. You are no longer operating at peak performance but rather doing the bare minimum of what’s expected of you.
Addictive Tendencies Can Have Emotional, Relational, And Legal Consequences
Substance abuse can create alarming changes in your personality and attitude. Maybe you’ve developed co-occurring symptoms of anxiety and depression—including agitation and hopelessness—that have caused you to adopt a pessimistic view of the world. If you struggle with mood swings or are quick to anger, you have probably encountered hurdles in your relationships. In fact, your partner, friends, and family may have commented on how your substance abuse impacts them.
It’s also possible that your need to drink or use has created legal trouble for you. Whether you have been caught breaking the law or developed violent habits, your use has likely increased risky and unhealthy behaviors.
While you may consider yourself “high functioning” and successful in other areas of life, your urge to use keeps you from achieving your highest potential. Luckily, however, substance abuse counseling can help you overcome addictive tendencies.
The Stigma Of Addiction Prevents Many From Seeking The Life-Saving Support They Need
“Substance abuse,” “addiction,” and “treatment” can feel like loaded terms, but the truth is that substance abuse disorders are incredibly common. As of 2018, it was estimated that 20 million Americans—or one in every 12—have a substance abuse disorder. Given the continuing opioid crisis and community stressors we have faced in recent years, we can only assume that this number is on the rise. Not to mention, the term “addiction” is so often associated with hard drugs, but alcoholism is, in fact, the most common substance abuse disorder.
Such disorders don’t arise out of thin air or purely from a lack of self-control. If there is a family history of addiction and alcoholism, certain traits can be passed down through generations. And other mental health disorders, including underlying anxiety, depression, and PTSD often drive those suffering to numb their emotions with drugs and alcohol.
There are also circumstantial factors that contribute to substance abuse and addiction. For those who used or were peer pressured to use at a young age, alcohol and other drugs could have significantly impacted development. As the stress of adulthood mounts—between added responsibilities, exposure to trauma, and growing global fears surrounding the pandemic, climate change, or increasingly divided politics—it sometimes feels easier to look towards substances to tune out the world.
Unfortunately, frequent and normalized use is likely to cause addicts to underestimate the severity of their substance abuse. Despite meeting the criteria for drug addiction or alcoholism, many don’t identify as such and instead are likely to downplay their use or believe that their willpower is enough to manage urges. Oftentimes, these folks don’t recognize the importance of healthy coping skills or understand where the addiction originated—treating their use as a surface-level issue rather than a serious mental health disorder.
Counseling is an opportunity to learn about the effects and origins of substance abuse. With these insights, you can overcome elements of addiction and establish a path towards recovery.
Substance Abuse Counseling Provides The Pathway To A Healthier, More Purposeful Lifestyle
If you struggle with substance abuse, you may be in denial or feel immense shame that prevents you from discussing your experience. Yet, therapy is a safe space where you will not be judged. Instead, I will work with you to tailor a treatment plan that will help you make sense of your thoughts, moods, and behaviors so that you can establish healthy, individualized coping techniques for managing stress.
The Process Of Substance Abuse Treatment
Counseling begins with an intake that will help me understand your background, relationships, history of substance abuse, and goals for treatment. We will use this session to build a sense of trust and rapport so that you can feel comfortable exploring your addictive tendencies in a safe, objective atmosphere.
Working together, we will determine which elements of the present are within your control and which aspects of your past are not changeable. This is a key part of treatment that will offer tremendous clarity on why substance abuse originated and when it is triggered.
From there, we will use evidence-based methods to target substance abuse. Behavioral methods—including Cognitive Behavioral and Dialectical Behavior Therapies (CBT and DBT)—are particularly useful for helping clients in overcoming their addiction. CBT interrupts negative and self-doubtful thinking patterns, replacing them with beneficial ones. And DBT offers essential skills in the areas of mindfulness, distress tolerance, emotion regulation, and interpersonal effectiveness.
These approaches to substance abuse counseling will create newfound awareness and help you improve your relationships and outlook. Once you can manage distress more effectively, you will see vast improvements in your coping, communication, and self-care.
You are the expert on yourself and contain the answers to maintain control over your urges. Though there is no “cure” for substance abuse disorders, therapeutic treatment is highly effective and empowering. By pursuing addiction recovery through counseling, you can overcome unhealthy, habitual use to live a fuller and happier life.
Maybe You’re Struggling With Addiction, But Not Sure If Counseling Is Right For You…
I am afraid of what sober living would look like.
From the outside, sobriety may appear intimidating or boring. Yet, the reality is that sobriety can open the door to a new, more purposeful life. When you can focus on replacing unhealthy habits with new, wholesome ones, you’ll see that sobriety offers a much more exciting and happier lifestyle than the one you are leaving behind.
I am afraid that as a substance abuse counselor, you will judge me.
As a counselor specializing in substance abuse, I have had to undergo specific training to create a safe and therapeutic environment. This includes professional training on cultivating warmth, creating a supportive atmosphere, and treating clients with unconditional positive regard. In addition, today’s therapists are required to receive culturally competent training, ensuring that every client is treated with fairness and compassion regardless of background.
I have worked with many clients undergoing substance abuse treatment and understand the feelings of shame and self-doubt involved in this process. I promise to treat you with kindness and empathy so that you can feel empowered in overcoming your addiction.
Therapy is too expensive.
If you are worried about the financial commitment of therapy, I encourage you to consider the cost of not acting now. If you continue to repeat the same addictive patterns, where will you, your work, and your relationships be in two or three years?
Reflecting on this, you may determine that the cost of doing nothing and staying stuck is higher than a life-changing, time-limited investment in therapy.
A Happier, More Deliberate Life Awaits You
You don’t have to be controlled by substance abuse any longer—counseling can help you recover and develop healthy skills for coping. To find out more about how a substance abuse counselor can help, I invite you to schedule a free consultation via email or by visiting the contact page on my site.