Has your use of drugs or alcohol to escape the stresses and strains of daily life gotten out of control?
Do you find yourself having trouble getting out of bed in the morning, consistently late for work or appointments because of how you feel? Are your relationships suffering because you are pre-occupied with your substance use? Are you struggling in your recovery? Do you feel trapped by your cycle of addiction and sometimes think it would be easier to just give in?
When self-medication crosses the line into addiction, it can feel like you have lost all control and there is no turning back. Managing an addiction is exhausting, and can have a long-term negative impact not only on you, but family members, friends and co-workers, as well. Negative social consequences around your job, profession and potential court involvement can also take a toll. Re-establishing the trust you’ve lost can feel almost as daunting as finding your way to recovery.
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Path to Recovery
When you’re struggling to regain control of your life, it can be an isolating and even frightening experience. When you’re in the midst of it, it may feel as though you’re alone, because there’s no one else who can understand what you’re feeling or going through. In fact, addiction affects over 20 million people every year, just the United States alone. You’re struggle is real, but your path to recovery is not as far out of reach as it may seem in the moment.
Addiction is not an issue you should feel shame about, but often people who struggling with addiction do feel shame, and go into hiding because of it. This isolation makes it worse. The underlying issue in all addiction is a need for comfort. We all need comfort and support and we will reach for what is available and “works”, whether that support is good for us or not. You may think you can just stop on your own, but the truth is you cannot simply stop and remove the substance as a support without replacing it with something else. Going with no support doesn’t work. You’re not likely to succeed, and will probably end up feeling worse about yourself. This leads to needing comfort and, when you reach for the comfort of that substance, the cycle continues. What matters now is that you are here, and seeking the help of an experienced professional counselor who can provide you with the kind of support you need to move forward in your journey toward recovery.
Creating Sustainable Sobriety
Once you’ve established your sobriety, whether through a rehab facility or with the help of a twelve-step program, you need to stay there. While twelve-step or similar programs provide an excellent framework for maintaining your sobriety you may sometimes find you need something more. You might want to explore the motivations underlying your triggers, or the deeper emotions that fuel your addictive tendencies. In addition, you may want to learn tools and skills that will help you navigate the social situations you’ve found troublesome in the past.
You’ve done one of the hardest things there is for a person to do, which is escaping the tyranny of addiction. Sober support is essential for remaining on this new path you’ve chosen for yourself. At West Hartford Holistic Counseling, our experienced counselors can support you in re-establishing your life, finding social and emotional stability and sustaining your sobriety.
Now that you’ve made that choice, you may have some questions about the process of recovery and what to expect.
How do I overcome the fear of relapsing?
One of the biggest sources of our fear and anxiety is feeling like we don’t know what’s going to happen. Working with an experienced counselor, you will come to an understanding of your triggers and what motivates you to fall into the self-medicating behavior that leads to your addictive cycle. Once you’ve got a handle on the people, places and things that can trigger you, you’ll know what to expect, both from yourself and your environment. That knowledge can help you suspend your fear, so you can stay present in your sobriety.
How do I regain the trust of my family and friends?
Actions speak louder than words. One of the hardest lessons you will learn around establishing your sobriety is acceptance: acceptance of yourself and acceptance of the consequences of your past actions. No litany of promises will help you re-establish the trust you may have lost, but simply staying the course and demonstrating that you are authentic in your desire to maintain your recovery will show the people in your life that you are sincere. You may have to prepare yourself that some of the people in your life will never fully trust you again, and stay grounded in the positive experience of those who do.
How do I rid myself of the toxic people who don’t seem to support my efforts to get sober?
One of the most important things you can do for yourself in establishing and maintaining your sobriety is to set boundaries. As you work with your counselor to understand the people, place and things that trigger you, you will begin to see where those boundaries need to be set. Impulsivity, and the poor choices that go along with that impulsivity, are a hallmark of addictive behavior, whether you’re actively using or sober. With the deep understanding of your triggers that develops through your work in counseling, you will be better able to identify who is supporting your efforts and who is undermining them.
How do I move through my maturity as a sober person?
When you fall into the spiral of addiction, you also fall into a state of sort of suspended animation. When you re-emerge, you are exactly where you started when you picked up. The challenge this presents is that you have to start moving forward again, learning the tools and skills that will support you, not only in your recovery, but in your activities of daily living. Working with an experienced counselor is one of the keys to creating this forward motion for you, both as someone in recovery and as a person. Your counselor will help you to understand where your strengths are, where your challenges may be, what you need to work on and what you need to let go. This is all part of your unique recovery process and the process of reclaiming your life.
How do I regain trust in myself?
Trust in you is a matter of acceptance and a willingness to believe that bad behavior does not make for bad people. No matter what addiction is—a disease, something hereditary, a behavior problem or a choice—you have gotten to a place where you recognize your vulnerabilities. Counseling for your addiction will support you getting a perspective on those vulnerabilities, so you can develop strategies to address your triggers and gain confidence that you will be able to meet whatever challenges your vulnerabilities throw at you.