Is Addiction Running Your Life?
When it comes to drugs and alcohol the reason most of us use them is because we like the way they make us feel—and/or for their ability to help us escape from our daily grind, from problems we’re facing, or from emotions we don’t want to feel.
For some of us, when we first start experimenting with drugs and alcohol a light bulb turns on. We may feel like we've finally found the thing that we had been looking for our whole lives—the thing that is going to make us feel OK and help us deal with almost anything!
Hard day at work? Have a few or six beers.
Got in a fight with your partner? Get stoned.
Feeling sad, happy, angry, tired, etc.? Pop some pills.
You get the point here.
Plain and simple: drugs and alcohol work. They do the job… until they don’t. This is precisely why many of us use them in the first place, and also why it’s so damn hard to stop once addiction sets in.
“The only way to have your life turn out different is to act differently”
– Dr. Walter Ling
How do I know if I or someone I love is suffering from an addiction?
If you landed on this page, chances are you've got a hunch that you or someone close to you might have a problem with either drugs or alcohol or both. However, if you aren't sure, see if any of the following statements ring true for you:
You find yourself using drugs or alcohol for longer than you intended. Maybe, you find yourself using more than you did when you first started experimenting with drugs and/or alcohol.
You've tried to quit or cut down in the past, but haven’t been able to stop. Or, perhaps you were successful for awhile, but ended up using again.
You have such strong cravings or urges that you find it hard to concentrate on anything else.
You stopped doing things you use to love doing.
You've encountered problems in your work or relationships because of your drinking or drug use.
Maybe, you've even had friends or family make comments to you about your drinking or drug use.
You find yourself needing more alcohol or drugs than you used to in order to get the same buzz or high.
You feel worse when you’re not taking drugs or alcohol.
If any of the above hits home, it's highly likely that you are suffering from an addiction.
Addiction counseling can help.
Reaching out for help when you're struggling is something that takes a whole lot of courage and bravery. It is something I deeply admire in the people I work with. I have had years of experience helping countless people and families overcome monsters like addiction. It can be a tough road, but the rewards are worth it.
Perhaps you're reading this, however, and you're not even sure you want to stop using drugs or alcohol—you just know that your current way of using is not working. Because there is no "gold standard" when it comes to addiction treatment, my focus will be on starting where you're at. I will never try to make you into something or someone you don't want to be—whether your goal is sobriety or not.
The danger of one-size-fits-all approaches.
The reason that I have never been in favor of one-size-fits-all approaches, especially as they relate to addiction treatment, is because while they can be helpful for some, they can be the exact opposite for others and actually do more harm than good. How? Well, when people are sold that a particular “group” or “treatment method” is the surefire way to get sober and finally end what is often a long battle filled with suffering, if that group or treatment method doesn’t work (or simply doesn’t “click” with a person) a person may be left feeling like nothing will work for them. This can make someone feel like giving up for good.
The reality is that what works for one person is not guaranteed to work for another.
“Isaac is a caring and perceptive therapist. His broad experience and adaptable approach allows him to work effectively with each client’s unique needs.”
- Martin Leamon, MD
Addiction Psychiatry/Clinical Professor of Psychiatry, UC Davis Health
Important things to remember when it comes to seeking addiction treatment:
Everyone is unique. While one-size-fits all approaches work for some, they don’t work for everyone.
Find a program or treatment that works for you. Make it your own and tailor it to fit your needs.
Be honest with yourself.
Take an open-hand approach rather than a closed fist.
Helpful things to keep in mind when starting addiction counseling:
What are your goals?
What do you want to get out of addiction therapy?
Where do you want to see yourself 6 months, 1 year, 5 years down the road?
You are not your addiction.
Remember: your struggle with addiction is not the most important thing about what makes you, you. In our work together, we'll focus on helping you get reconnected with the most important aspects of who you really are.
If you or someone you love is suffering from an addiction—or maybe you're not sure, but you want to explore your relationship with substances in greater depth—you don't have to go it alone. I'm here to walk alongside you and help you figure out what the right path is for you. If you want to get started with addiction counseling, call me today and schedule an appointment!
Isaac Smith, MAT, LCSW, NTP is a holistic psychotherapist located in Sacramento and Fair Oaks, CA. He specializes in addiction, anxiety, depression and grief and loss. Isaac is trained in several modalities, including Motivational Interviewing, Dialectical Behavior Therapy, and Problem Solving Therapy. He is passionate about the interplay between mental health and nutrition, and is a certified Nutritional Therapy Practitioner. To find out more about Isaac click here: therapy and counseling in Sacramento and Fair Oaks.