Addiction is more than just a nearly uncontrollable craving for any substance or compulsion to do things. It’s not just mere dependence on drugs, alcohol, or anything even like using drugs to sleep. To people who suffer from it, it’s their way to manage their stressors and carry themselves. Simply, it’s a massive portion of their lifestyle.
This is why having to get treated for addiction is particularly hard. People who are struggling with addiction often lie to people—friends, family, colleagues, and most importantly to themselves—that they have it under control.
What is addiction?
Craving for something is normal. Hunger is a normal and shared sensation that everyone can feel. However, when it comes to addiction, one’s hunger or craving for something is nearly insatiable.
Strictly speaking, addiction is a chronic and complex dysfunction of the brain that gives those who suffer from it an obsessive fixation on things that they find rewarding. This means, that addiction is not exactly entirely about the object e.g., alcohol, drugs, gambling, but rather the gratification that they receive from satisfying their craving.
Since it involves the brain’s reward circuit or the mesolimbic dopamine pathway, the person is subject to bouts of euphoria by satisfying the need. As the person feels more ‘rewarded’, the pathway becomes rewired, resulting in a decreased feeling of satisfaction and a constantly increased need for it.
Is addiction treatable?
Absolutely. Addiction and other related substance-use disorders (SUDs) are treatable and manageable through a multidisciplinary intervention involving psychotherapy, medication, detoxification, and rehabilitation.
Contrary to the stigma, people who suffer from addiction are entitled to leading a normal and sober life post-treatment. The central idea of addiction recovery is ‘recovery’, and not being cured, after all.
In line with this, rehabilitation centers are devised in a way to empower clients in reclaiming their place in society, as well as capitalizing on their newly-found strength. You can check out Jackson House Rehabilitation Center at https://www.jacksonhouserehab.com/ to know more about this.
Moreover, what made the process for addiction recovery more possible is the continuous efforts of mental health practitioners and volunteers, as well as advocates to further improve the therapeutic setting for addiction recovery. On that note, here are some of the ways on how counselors can impact your addiction recovery journey:
- Counselors Understand What You Are Going Through
Even up to now, mental health is still burdened and heavy-laden with different stigmas and stereotypes. Despite all the efforts of some to advocate and spread mental health awareness, there are still people who refuse to accept its importance. This is why approaching mental health, albeit easier than in the past, is still difficult, nonetheless.
That’s why your counselors are one of your best allies. People suffering from addiction are so bombarded with judgments and are constantly under derision from the society, but despite all that, your counselors know what to do.
They understand that it’s not easy. They know all about your withdrawal symptoms. They may or may have not undergone the same thing, but they have the heart and knowledge to understand that addiction recovery is nothing to scoff at.
- They Encourage You
The battle of addiction is more of an internal than an external one. Indeed, the object of addiction may be an external factor, but considering its debilitating psychological effect and biochemical predisposition, the person is in a constant fight with their urges.
And, your counselor knows of it. They are aware of the regular fights you have with yourself, and aside from being proud of you, they’re by your side to encourage you to keep going.
There will be times when you feel like giving up. Or instances where you tell yourself you’re weak. Your counselors will believe in you and will make ways to keep the sessions going.
Don’t think that they’re doing it because it’s their job, that they have no choice, and you’re just a paperwork that they need to accomplish for the day. Mental health counselors have a multitude of industries they can involve themselves in. So, if you’re talking to an addiction recovery counselor, chances are, they like and value what they are doing.
Furthermore, holding therapy sessions is draining. It takes a toll on someone’s mental health to help others navigate around their thoughts and create a resolution for their problems. Remember that psychology, psychiatry, and other mental health industries are industries for giving help.
- They Educate You
Understanding what you have is one of the steps in better managing your symptoms. Having a grasp of what addiction is can make your recovery personal and interactive.
Your counselor will help you understand that you’re more than your addiction. That you’re still a person who’s capable of healing and is worthy of all the love and affection. Addiction may be a condition, but understanding its ways can help you best in your recovery.
Moreover, counselors will involve you in every step of your addiction recovery. This means, that whether it’s Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT), or any detoxification procedure that you’re going to go through, you’ll know what will happen. Trust is an important component of your healing process, and you’ll get that from your counselors.
In addition, they will help you recognize your triggers, as well as the nature of your condition. Given that people who suffer from addiction have different triggers and reasons, it’s important that you’re aware of yours. This could help you process what you’re going through, and make you understand that it’s there for a reason—something that you’re fully capable of getting out from.
- They Educate The People Around You
Surprisingly, the most painful comments and remarks come from friends and family. Perhaps it’s because you’re expecting that they’re going to stand by you no matter what, but all hope is not lost. Again, the stigma and stereotype around addiction may be because of the lack of information and awareness, so your counselor may help them understand your condition better.
Counselors are equipped to help you and the people around you get a basic understanding of addiction. The goal is to educate them and convert them into willing allies who can you support when you’re out of the rehabilitation center. It’s crucial to be surrounded by people who know how addiction works, to avoid problems in post-rehab, such as having a relapse.
They can do this by holding regular family therapy sessions or encouraging them to attend seminars about addiction. Family therapy is important to help you and the members of the family how addiction has affected the dynamics of your family, as well as guide you in reframing your relations with them.
Moreover, having a realization about the real-life effects of addiction is therapeutic, in and of itself. The aim is not to promote guilt and provoke self-deprecating behaviors, but to help you recognize and acknowledge that addiction has crept up to your interpersonal relationships and may continue to do so, if not attended immediately.
- They Create A Safe Space
At this point, you probably have already understood how counselors can positively contribute to your healing journey. But more than that, they may make you feel safe and loved, which can result in a myriad of good things that will empower you more.
‘You can’t give what you don’t have’, as what the famous adage says. This is true; what you presently don’t have, you can’t give out to the world. And your counselors will help you create and recognize a safe and non-judgmental space where you can heal comfortably.
To elaborate, one of the glaring symptoms of addiction is denial. Denial involves a degree of deceit, which may cloud your better judgment in selecting the company that will positively affect you.
Before your addiction recovery, you may find yourself involved with people who encourage your symptoms more, whether intentionally or unintentionally. It may be colleagues who regularly go out for a drink or friends who have the same substance-use condition. Nonetheless, being able to recognize the kind of environment that can help you grow and can impair you is important.
Your counselors are capable of giving you that sense of safety and non-judgment, thereby enabling and empowering you more in filtering the types of people you go out with. This may be a tad bit easier inside the rehabilitation center since everyone is in the process of recovery. But post-rehab, outside—where triggers run amok—it may quite be a challenge at first. This is why counselors make it a goal to help you discern the kind of environment that can help you heal.
- Counselors Help You Get Support
Once rehabilitation ends, addiction recovery still continues. You may still have to take some medicines or go to sessions every now and then, but one of the steps to help you get back on your feet is to sign yourself up to support groups.
Support groups are community-based groups where people who are in the process of recovery meet up and discuss things. It’s a positive, safe, and non-judgmental environment where everyone can speak up and talk about their journey (or anything for that matter).
Usually, support groups are a form of group therapy, which means the group helps each member process their recovery process, as well as give them emotional and social support. Your counselors or the rehabilitation centers are part of a network of support groups in which you can become a member, to further help you in your addiction recovery journey.
Suffering from addiction is daunting. It’s not easy but it’s definitely manageable. While getting back on your feet may be difficult at first, your counselors will help you in your journey in countless ways possible.