Expand your capacity for choice by breaking the hold of your addiction, whether alcohol, substance use, compulsive sex or many of the other behaviors that began as ways to cope but now amount to self-harm and self-sabotage. Recovery from addiction holds the promise of radical personal transformation.
Crisis triggered by addiction offers unsurpassed value as a catalyst for personal growth that most are otherwise unmotivated to attempt given the shimmering level of difficulty and challenge involved for all. Finding gratitude, compassion and ultimately self-acceptance are the first steps forward after the deep humility that comes with acknowledging that you are no longer in control of an impulse that has, for however long now, begun to act on you.
This is rigorous, daily work that requires commitment not for the faint of heart. The same dedication and loyalty you showed your addiction needs to be turned around and applied to your approach to healing.
Grief is a common response to loss, even the loss of a habit, especially when one has built their identity around a particular behavior. Often the challenges solved and the situations that became tolerable through use of alcohol, drugs, or sex come to the surface and need to be addressed in a new way. People get high to feel more or to feel less, to intensify their experience or to numb, depending on the circumstances.
The inevitable questions arise: How will I feel? What if I feel too much? What if I can’t feel anything at all? Will I be able to date? How do I have sober sex? What if I’m not fun anymore? I can’t do anything without getting high. How will I write? How will I make art? How will l tolerate the mundane, the boring, the painful or the frightening? How will I manage change? There are leaps to be made, defenses to shed, and new experiences of self to be examined. This amounts to an unparalleled opportunity for change for the person who is willing to do the work or simply cannot continue otherwise.
Recovery is a daily practice that comes with daily challenges. I can help you manage a range of emotional experiences that occur in the wake of abstinence from your long held habits. Depression, apathy, hopelessness, anxiety, irritability, and rage are all common responses to withdrawal. Depending on your underlying condition or pre-dispositions, this may take a while. Early recovery is considered by some to range anywhere from 1 to 5 years. Relapse is inevitable for many, making the practice of radical honesty, accountability and vigilance a crucial discipline to develop. Having someone to talk to, who you trust to listen without judgment and provide unconditional positive regard, is more important now than ever.
Most people who drink and use are not “simple” alcoholics or addicts. They are individuals who are struggling with addiction because their sensitivities to the world have caused them considerable distress that they have sought to manage by drinking or using. The phrase “dual diagnosis” refers to the underlying conditions that predispose a person to falling prey to addiction and the complications that make it more difficult to recover. These are the vulnerabilities that often lead individuals to drink and use in order to manage or avoid their symptoms of anxiety, depression or trauma. Self-medicating works until it doesn’t - and then, gradually over time, what used to be an effective coping strategy for dealing with your pain, stress, grief and malaise not only no longer works but itself becomes the problem. This makes recovering from addiction even more difficult, because once you remove the substance, these other issues more fully emerge, sometimes for the first time in years. At this point, the addict or alcoholic is no longer dealing with the loss of their closest friend and coping tool, but the re-emergence of the underlying psychological symptoms. In these cases, psychotherapy is more necessary, appropriate and effective than any medication or 12 step program alone. It is a “cunning and baffling disease,” no doubt.
It is my honor to support individuals in recovery on their path to renewal and change. Perhaps you have recently completed medical detox, residential treatment, or an outpatient program; perhaps you are someone actively working the 12 steps. If you have acknowledged you have a problem that you are no longer able to manage on your own and are ready to accept help, please reach out. I have been there. I see you. You don’t have to walk the path alone.
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