Are you struggling with drinking, using substances, gambling, shopping, or another compulsive behavior that you can’t seem to stop? Do you feel out of control, ashamed, guilty and exhausted by attempts to hide behaviors from others? Perhaps it seems as though you are always letting people down. Maybe friends, loved ones, or family members have threatened to cut ties because they are frustrated and hurt, and you wish you could ask for forgiveness and make everything right. It may be that you’re also worried about how addiction is impacting your job performance or attendance, and you feel increasingly disengaged from priorities and goals that were once important to you. Do you live with the constant fear that you’ll lose everything you care about, but feel helpless to make a change in your life?
You may fear that the cravings, anxiety, insomnia, or other uncomfortable symptoms you are experiencing could continue to worsen, or that you won’t be able to handle all of the emotions that could arise when you can’t numb yourself or find escape. The fear of losing your job, loved ones, financial stability, or physical health could easily become reality. Maybe you begin each day by promising yourself that you’re going to stop, but end up caving to impulses again and again, which only deepens a sense of helplessness and hopelessness. You may long to free yourself from addiction’s demands upon your time and energy, but feel trapped and unsure of how to cope with life without the rituals you’ve become accustomed to. Do you wish you could live a life unchained from your burden and find lasting relief from your pain?
While drug, tobacco, and alcohol abuse are the most well known examples, addiction problems come in many forms. Substance abuse is ubiquitous in today’s society, and when you add in gambling, sex, and food addiction, among others, it’s clear that many people are struggling, sometimes in hidden and isolating ways.
Addiction has been called America’s most neglected disease, with good reason. One Columbia University study found that 40 million Americans over the age of 11 meet the clinical criteria for addiction, and that study only included nicotine, alcohol, and other common drugs. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), more Americans struggle with addiction than heart disease, diabetes, or cancer. You are not alone, and it’s important to understand that addiction is not a sign of weakness – it’s a disease, with a variety of potential causes.
Addiction can be passed from parent to child, whether through genetics or learned behavior. The Anxiety and Depression Association of America reported that at least twenty percent of substance abusers suffer from an anxiety or another mood disorder, such as social anxiety or depression, which can be lonely, painful experiences. Acute trauma from violent events, such as car accidents and deployments in wars, or childhood trauma, including prolonged abuse or neglect, can lead people to turn to alcohol, substances, food, or compulsive behaviors for a sense of relief. For some, addiction begins as a way to pass the time, or the result of innocent experimentation, and takes hold before they realize.
Worryingly, only one in 10 people struggling with substance addiction receive any addiction treatment at all, due to shame, low income, or fear of being discovered. Compare this to other major diseases in the world. What if only one in 10 people with cancer or HIV received treatment? Addiction is a disease that can impact your physical, emotional, and mental health, and there’s nothing wrong with needing help. And there is hope. By seeking the guidance and support of an experienced addiction counselor, you can free yourself from the shackles of addiction and live a happier, healthier life.
Simply put, therapy is the single most effective way to treat addiction over the long-term. A trained addiction counselor can help you identify the causes or triggers behind compulsions, learn effective methods for finding enduring relief, and develop healthy strategies to cope with discomfort, distress, and life’s unexpected challenges. As you break free from the cycle of addiction, you can also address any underlying issues – such as anxiety, depression, or trauma – and begin to foster a new sense of self-esteem and confidence. With support and a dedication to making positive changes, you can transform your life.
In sessions, I strive to create a safe, compassionate, and nonjudgmental environment, where you can feel able to explore your thoughts and feelings and discover how to better manage your impulses. My addiction treatment approach emphasizes accountability and real-world application, and we can work together to tailor-create a treatment plan that addresses your unique experiences, personality, and goals. Our objective is to help you recover and get you back on track to living your life the way you want to.
Since 1998, I’ve dedicated much of my career to helping people free themselves from addiction. From my very first job out of college as a methadone maintenance counselor, to my roles as a clinical manager and program director, I’ve worked with hundreds of people to help them feel better and learn how to cope with obstacles in productive, healthy ways. I know from experience that people can absolutely recover from addiction and go on to form lasting relationships, succeed in their careers, and lead rich, fulfilling lives. With therapy, the power to effect real change is in your hands, and it only takes a single step to begin your journey toward recovery.
If you’re reading this, some part of you is aware that you may have a serious problem. Maybe a loved one has expressed concern or you’ve been scolded at work. Maybe you’ve caught yourself making excuses or lying to others to avoid attracting attention. Maybe you worry that you’re lying to yourself. Only you truly know how damaging your addiction has been – and/or could be – to your life and happiness. I encourage you to ask yourself – are you in control of your addiction, or is it controlling you? Addiction therapy is your opportunity to achieve balance and gain real control over your life.
Therapy is a confidential and nonjudgmental way to safely explore your experiences and discover more about yourself. It’s scary to reflect on your life and consider that something might be wrong, but it’s the first step toward feeling better. At the end of the day, addiction is a disease, and it won’t get better on its own. Seeking help is nothing to be ashamed of.
I invite you to consider all the time, money, and energy you are losing to addiction. Therapy can help you stop spending money on substances, alcohol, shopping, or other compulsive habits. And, as you develop new ways to cope with challenges without numbing out, you can begin to enjoy your time and dedicate your energy to forming relationships and pursuing deeply held goals. The purpose of therapy isn’t to continue on forever, but to solve a problem so you can live freely and improve other aspects of your life. In very real terms, it’s an investment in your life and happiness.
If you are ready to take the next step in self-improvement and live life on your terms, I invite you to call me at (916) 822-2042 for a free, 15-minute phone consultation. I would love to answer any questions you have about addiction counseling and my practice.