San Diego Addictions Counseling
Do you find yourself using drugs and/or alcohol to cope with stressful situations or big life events? Do you find yourself hiding or disguising your substance use from your closest friends and family? Are you spending a lot of your time thinking about or spending money on drugs and/or alcohol? Do you ever attempt to control your substance use by telling yourself things like “just one more time” or “I’ll quit tomorrow”? If you have answered “Yes” to any of the above questions, you may have a problem with an addiction.
As an experienced Addictions Counselor I can help you make a full recovery.
When most people picture an “addict”, they think of a crazy, disheveled-looking person injecting needles into his or her veins. The truth is that most people struggling with addiction problems do not fit this image. In fact, most people who battle addiction are regular-looking men and women with seemingly regular lives, jobs, and families. Not to mention the majority of people with addictions start out by having “just one more drink” or “just one last puff” because they enjoy the sensation and temporary feelings of release that these substances give them.
For instance, narcotic painkillers, which are often given to patients for severe and chronic pain, have recently become the substance of choice for many individuals struggling with addiction. They are relatively easy to acquire, and are recommended to you by your Doctor whom you trust, so you think, “Why not?” But when the pain goes away and you start taking them for other reasons, such as to experience the euphoric sensations they provide or to temporarily escape the realities of day-to-day life, this becomes problematic.
The same goes for alcohol. While it is not uncommon to have a glass of wine with dinner or grab a beer while watching the big game on TV, if you find yourself engaging in this drinking behavior daily or even multiple times per day, these should be red flags as signs of addiction.
Finding Answers About Your Addictions
When thinking about substance use versus substance abuse, try framing it by asking yourself: “What is the reason I am about to have this drink? (Or take this pill?)” Ask yourself if you are using the alcohol to celebrate, perhaps at a work function or on a night out with your friend or spouse. Or perhaps you are drinking alone, in the morning, before you go to work to ease your anxieties about the day’s inevitable troubles that are just waiting for you on your desk at the office.
Using a substance like alcohol or a narcotic painkiller is perfectly acceptable in certain situations, like if you are sipping a glass of champagne at a wedding reception or taking a pill to relieve some extreme physical pain. It is when you begin to use these substances for other reasons, reasons that are not commonly acceptable, that you begin to venture from substance use to substance abuse. Maybe your friends and family have previously commented on your substance usage and you have dismissed it. Or perhaps you are aware that others are becoming concerned about your habitual behaviors, so you are taking precautions and hiding your substance use from them. You may try to justify your actions by saying things like “Drinking on a daily basis is perfectly normal in some cultures and countries”, but deep down you know that you are using the alcohol to serve another purpose. You are not having “just one drink” to “celebrate” or to be “happy” about anything in particular. You are not taking that painkiller or smoking that marijuana to relieve yourself from extreme physical pain. You are drinking that alcohol, taking those pills, and smoking that marijuana to relieve yourself from a different kind of pain that is coming from somewhere else. Perhaps it is emotional pain, trauma, or some other type of psychological distress.
Alcohol and drugs are very habit-forming, and not only can you become physically addicted by developing a dependency on the substance to function, but you can also develop a psychological addiction, whereby your day just does not feel complete without engaging in your habitual substance use.
Addictions are powerful and complicated psychological disorders that often involve many facets and differ from person to person. Persons struggling with addiction feel an uncontrollable need for their substance of choice, whether it be alcohol, prescription medication, or illicit/street drugs. Someone who is addicted to something may want to stop their behavior, but feel as though they cannot change, regardless of what they do in attempt to cease their actions.
So when is it all enough? How do you know when to stop? How do you know that you have a problem and how do you know when to seek help? As I have previously mentioned, if you have noticed yourself spending excessive time thinking about the substance, spending more money on it than usual, or are hiding your behavior from your loved ones, this is indicative of a problem. Furthermore, if the reasons for which you are using these substances are not common or socially acceptable, then perhaps you need to ask yourself why you’re engaging in these behaviors. When addictions begin to interfere with your life, such as your job, your relationships with other people, and your family life, then you definitely have a problem.
Steps to Recovery
The first step in Addiction Counseling is recognizing that you have a problem and taking responsibility for your actions. While this is not easy to do by any means, it is the first and most important step toward your complete recovery. This step is completely reliant upon you, because after all, only YOU can make the decision to change and only YOU can decide when you’ve had enough and want to ask for help. Asking for help does not imply weakness or a flaw in your character. In the past, persons deemed as “addicts” were described as people who exhibited zero will-power and who lacked character and morality. We now know that this far from the truth. Instead, reaching out to a professionalTherapist or Counselor shows that you are courageous enough to recognize that your substance use is interfering with your daily life and day-to-day functioning, which ultimately shows that you care about your health and your life and that you want to regain your control back.
It may seem impossible right now to even think about stopping “cold turkey”, but together we can come up with a strategy that is tailored to meet your needs and that pertains to your specific situation. We will discuss your reasons for using certain substances, and try to figure out what the underlying problem is. Maybe you have unresolved anger from a traumatic childhood experience. Or perhaps you are experiencing a rough patch in life, where nothing seems to be going your way. Just keep in mind that together we can talk about these issues in a confidential, warm, and safe environment.
We can figure out your reasons for using substances and try to employ other, healthier coping mechanisms in place of drugs and alcohol. We can also determine what your specific triggers are and what sets you off so that you can make a conscious effort to avoid these types of situations or events. While you are certainly in the driver’s seat regarding the recovery process, together we can change your life and get it back onto a track that you are comfortable and satisfied with.
Together we can Break the Destructive Cycle of Any Addiction!
I am a trained and professional San Diego Addictions Counselor who has been providing addiction counseling for over 30 years. I have helped many individuals, couples, and families overcome a wide array of psychological disturbances, including addiction problems. With the help of a trained professional, recoveryis possible. As your Counselor, I will take you through the steps to complete and total recovery from your addiction. We will navigate through these steps together, one at a time, and at a pace that you are completely comfortable with. Together, we will identify and overcome the challenges and setbacks that are inevitable along the way. As long as you are dedicated to making a positive and healthy change in your life, I am confident in my ability to help you get your life back on track.
Please do not hesitate to give me a call today for a free 15 minute consultation so that I can better get to know you and your specific situation. I will provide a judgment-free, safe and confidential environment whereby you can feel comfortable asking questions and working with me along the journey to recovery from your addiction.
San Diego Therapist for Addictions
Copyright ©2012 Jan Rakoff. All Rights Reserved.