Are Drugs or Alcohol Taking Over Your Life?
Have you been thinking about making significant changes in your life but fear that you can’t? Have you tried to cut back on your drug or alcohol use or stay sober but end up right back engaging in unhealthy and risky behaviors? Do you find that you’re consistently breaking agreements and letting yourself and others down? Has your drug or alcohol use caused relationship, job, family or legal problems? Do you feel guilty or ashamed about your behavior while inebriated? Do you wonder why others can just have a couple while you’re unable to stop?
Addiction can take over your life. Your relationship with a substance may have already become the most important relationship you have – causing significant damage to everything else in your life. Although many people who are addicted to drugs or alcohol can maintain highly functioning lives, eventually the substance will take over and its power over you can lead to potentially catastrophic events. It can destroy your relationships, your career and your physical, emotional and mental health. It can cause you to hate yourself. It can rob you of your personal power.
You Are Not Alone
Alcohol and drug abuse and addiction are very common. There are very few people who haven’t been affected – directly or indirectly – by a substance abuse problem. But, an alcohol or drug problem doesn’t define who you are and it doesn’t have to run your life. With help, countless people have worked through their addictions and have gone on to live amazing, sober lives. That is a very real possibility for you, too.
You Can Recover
Substance abuse issues are very treatable. People recover from both short and long-term addictions everyday. The big piece about recovery, though, is that you have to want to recover and you need to learn how. Addiction can be a tricky thing. Experience shows us that people are as likely to relapse when life is going very well as when life is going very poorly. Recovery means learning to live a different way, and figuring out how to do so is very difficult to do without help.
Support is an integral part of the healing and recovery process. A trained and experienced BPS therapist can help you through the difficulties that may emerge as you begin recovery and work through your addiction. In therapy, you’ll be supported as you uncover and begin to understand the emotions and triggers that cause you to use. You’ll learn to recognize your “addictive voice” – the part of you that only cares about using, which can be very convincing and difficult to ignore. With help, you’ll develop alternative options to using. You’ll learn new and healthy coping skills. You can increase your self-awareness and self-esteem.
Like many before you, it is very possible for you to regain power over yourself, your choices and your life through substance abuse counseling. You can go on to live in a happier, healthier and sober way. But, to do so, it’s key that you really make a commitment to change and find a highly trained therapist who you can easily relate with. Working on yourself and through your addiction within this framework can make a profound difference in how you view yourself and interact with the world around you.
But, you still may have questions or fears…
I am guilty, ashamed and embarrassed by much of my behavior. It’s so bad that I’m terrified to reach out. I don’t think I could talk to anyone – even a therapist – about some of the things I have done and felt.
One of the great things about therapy is that you don’t have to worry about being judged. It is a priority of all BPS therapists to provide you with a safe, respectful and comfortable environment. And, you are certainly not the first nor will you be the last person to feel ashamed by their behaviors, thoughts or feelings. What’s important now, though, is that you reach out and ask for help. It’s the inability or refusal to reach out that keeps the pattern of alcohol or drug abuse going. Admitting that you have a problem and asking for help are the first major steps to doing things differently and breaking that pattern.
It seems like I’ve tried everything to stay sober and nothing helps.
One of the best things you can do is to find the right therapist – one who is highly qualified and experienced in working with people struggling with drug or alcohol addiction.
Many people come to BPS having worked with other therapists who were not trained to handle substance abuse issues or who they couldn’t relate with – which is a waste of time and money and likely will not help. At BPS, we’ll conduct a referral assessment and match you with a therapist who is trained and experienced in treating addictions and whose personality is a good match with yours. Once you find a good match, making that commitment is up to you. It may prove to be the investment of your lifetime. Imagine being much happier and healthier on a regular basis and ask yourself what that is worth.
There have also been significant advances in neuroscience and our understanding of the brain, which helps us treat addiction. And, you are different now. You are different everyday. Reaching out for help today might make all the difference. Today could be the day that you start to get a handle on your substance abuse problem and something life-changing clicks.
I think I might have a problem, but it’s really not that bad. I can handle this on my own.
How long have you been saying that to yourself? Months? Years? And, yet, here you still are. Most people need support as they work through their addictions. It is very difficult to do it on your own. Some do, though, and often end up as “dry drunks” – meaning that although they are sober, the pain that caused them to abuse a substance is still there. This can be a very difficult and joyless way to live. We heal in relationships and there is tremendous power in sharing your experience with another. An experienced BPS therapist will help you get to the root of your pain and support you as begin to understand your emotions and triggers. And, your therapist will help you find ways to handle these feelings in ways that do not include drugs or alcohol. Having this support as you work through these difficult emotions is an essential part of the recovery process.
We encourage you to schedule a referral assessment with a BPS therapist, trained by bPS Director, Dr. Jan Hittelman. We will work with you to determine what your specific issues are and to ensure a good match between you and a BPS therapist in terms of personality, style and expertise.
You can also check out our free, online therapist directory, which will match you with a therapist who has expertise working with substance abuse issues.