Addiction counseling can seem like an intimidating thing to do. Admitting you need help for an addiction can be a difficult first step, but telling someone you barley know all of your deepest, darkest secrets can seem like a place you would never be able to reach. Many people struggle with this part of recovery, but addiction counselors are here to help in a non-judgmental, positive way.
Why Is There Addiction Counseling?
Not everyone has a support system to lean on when recovery gets tough. The reasons are different for each person; they do not have family or friends that live close by, their support system is involved with drugs, or they are facing shame and stigma for having an addiction. If you do have a support system, it may still be tough to talk to your closest friends and family in fear that they may not understand what you are going through. The addiction may also come as a shock to some, and if they do not understand the science behind addiction, they may find it hard to find the right thing to say. In its most basic meaning, counseling is defined as “a professional relationship that empowers diverse individuals, families, and groups to accomplish mental health, wellness, education, and career goals.” Like addiction, some people stigmatize counseling and say that “only weak people go” or “they must be crazy”. However, this is far from the truth, especially when it comes to addiction counseling.
In the midst of this opioid epidemic and rise in mental health illnesses, we need to do less hiding and more talking. It can be easy to feel alone and ashamed of who you have become, but you deserve to be heard and helped. Talking about your feelings when you are happy, sad, angry, anxious, excited helps you cope with things life throws your way and helps you connect with others that may be going through the same thing. Going to counseling doesn’t mean you are weak; it means you are brave and ready to face your problems head on. It may be weird at first to talk to a “stranger” about yourself, but you will be surprised at what you learn about yourself and how much you grow the more you talk.
Who Am I Talking to in Addiction Counseling?
There are two popular types of addiction counseling: individual and group. Depending on the program you are in, you may have the option to do one or both. Like any other medical service, counseling is private and your information is protected by HIPAA laws. You will speak with a trained professional who is experienced with addiction and will be a part of your support system. They may ask about your drug use history, your personal life, your goals, and your struggles. The purpose of counseling is to not point out your flaws and make you feel worse, but to identify what led you down this path and how to avoid those triggers in the future. If you feel alone in your recovery, or need to grow your support group, consider seeing an addiction counselor to help you succeed!