Seeking mental health support for addiction is an important step. You may have been signposted to Sweet Mental Health as I offer online counselling help for addiction. In this blog, I give an overview of how talk therapy can assist steps toward recovery.
When should I get help for addiction?
Would you say that the thoughts of substances or stimulants are changing the way you cope in life and relationships?
If you answered yes, then it is fair to say that you could be ready to work with someone who wants to hear more about the behaviour which is causing you to feel this way. Likewise, if you have been asked to seek help then you could be feeling like you have to work with someone. This could be for legal, professional or personal reasons. All of this is hard to manage and may threaten the enjoyment or escape you have in the addiction going on. With or without sobriety you may feel slightly panicked by having to get help for addiction. In no uncertain terms, being free of addiction is tough to do.
However, the ‘should’ word to the question above could feel judgemental. It might be that you prefer the space and solace of the substance or stimulant of choice. You may wrestle with the recurring thoughts, “I am fine.” Or, perhaps it feels like you are being forced to give up what makes you happy. It could even be that you are ready to leave relationships or even a job to carry on the behaviour you are experiencing.
These are good enough reasons to get help for addiction. Not for anyone else other than for you and your physical, mental and emotional health.
What if I do not care about my physical, mental and emotional health?
I believe that if you have read this far you could be challenged by the responsibility when looking after your physical, mental and emotional health. It feels quite adult to say, “would you like to look after your well-being?”
Whereas, being in cycles of addiction doesn’t necessarily need much questioning in the fix to be happier, free of negative thinking or even to quieten the discomfort in the life you currently live in. There are ways to have an active addiction with little fuss or noticeable changes to who you are when some keep addictions like pornography a secret. Most addiction promotes clever and secretive ways to consume the substance and stimulant of choice. In short, we are creative when we do not want people to know about unhealthy ways of being.
And it is here that I offer a chance to ask, what is it about not caring about your physical, mental and emotional health that seems problematic? It could be an early death. It may be the end of a toxic or unhappy relationship. It might even be that your feelings and emotions are just so painful that you prefer to not feel them. The likelihood is that if you feel this way, we could do work around what it does feel like in a safe, non-judgmental and confidential space to imagine an alternative way of being.
How can addiction counselling or addiction psychotherapy help?
So far I’ve covered when to start questioning how addiction is affecting your life. It could be that someone or some situation is causing you to ask for help. While also accepting how difficult ending an addictive behaviour is because sobriety might not yet feel like the best answer. Finding help in addiction counselling or addiction psychotherapy is tough to do as there are likely to be frequent relapses to work with. The first answer I would like to suggest is that working together can help by allowing space to be honest and building trust in a therapeutic relationship. Whether you choose each week, or fortnightly sessions there is an expectancy for you to be accountable.
The reality is that you may find an ending addictive behaviour is harder to do than accepting this could be the best time to care about your physical, mental and emotional health. And together we will look at the behaviour which started the escapism and cycles of addiction which control the freedom you could experience by acknowledging that finding help with addiction counselling or addiction psychotherapy help is a regular and important way to remain focused on life away from alcohol, drugs, food, pornography or gambling.
Is addiction counselling a long-term or short-term financial commitment?
It will depend on the level of addiction and presenting difficulties which have led to behaviour change. Let’s say that you had a hard and emotionally disruptive time growing through childhood into adolescence. And, as a young adult you ‘went off the rails’ to try and resolve some of the developmental difficulties which the brain, body and emotional self had to cope with. This challenging term is a dysfunctional way of saying you had to cope somehow. And in these coping strategies, you felt comfortable. It could be that your sense of self with a substance or stimulant is more familiar than life without it because it is a well strode path to keep you safe.
Would you say it is fair to suggest that the amount of narrative which has kept you safe will be plentiful? In long-term work where trauma-informed practice is needed, I believe that it would be unethical to suggest it could happen with short-term work – that is 6 weeks or less. It could be that long-term work which is 10 sessions or more will support you better with fewer relapses because of the accountability in the therapeutic relationship.
I believe you have to look for a suitable and well-trained professional to start with. Check out the blog ‘What are the benefits of counselling?’ which signposts how to find someone to meet your needs.
What addiction support will people be able to give?
For most people who are in the cycles of addiction, there are people and places which have seen the behaviour. It is a professional belief that there is more success in looking at the behaviour to challenge what it is about changing that matters the most. I would suggest that the people and places around those in addictive behaviour there is a lot which can be done to prevent relapse.
My advice is to change the patterns of behaviour. This could mean using a different shop, or route to a location where you once got the substance or stimulant of choice. It could be that eating with family or friends may feel supportive – but only if this feels safe to do so. If you are someone who uses pornography, you could ask someone you trust to set up a parental lock on devices or ask internet providers to add locks. Likewise, you could look to advise gambling sites or shops to block you. Admittedly, these are extreme measures to be accountable.
In the most difficult situations, where harm to self, or others occurs it could be advisable to use an in-patient rehabilitation centre. By being isolated from familiar routines and people you will be offered around-the-clock support by professionals who can meet your physical, mental and emotional health needs. If this is not a possibility, then a daily or weekly support group, as well as one-to-one addiction counselling or psychotherapy, is advisable. I would recommend you do this in the next town along, or somewhere nearby and not where you are likely to see familiar faces.
This will be hard but worthwhile to see a healthier version of yourself because you deserve to be well and happier.