Telehealth sessions in Maryland and DC

Substance Abuse Counseling

Is Recovery New To You And You’re Wondering What Comes Next?

Although you’re relieved to have made it through detox, without the preoccupation of your addiction, are you experiencing an identity crisis? Has being in recovery for addiction left you overwhelmed, disoriented, or ashamed? Do you long to feel connected to others and that you are loved and accepted for who you are?

Now that you’re newly sober, you may feel at sea. Even though you knew recovery wouldn’t be easy, perhaps you’re fully grasping to what degree your addiction had been covering up distressful feelings that had been numbed for so long. You might be easily irritated, defensive, and experiencing mood swings that make you edgy, affect your focus, and lower your tolerance to stress.

Without your unhealthy coping mechanisms, you may feel bored, lonely, and unsure of how to enjoy life anymore. Rather than enjoying sobriety, you’re steeped in guilt as you reckon with the impact that your addiction has had on your life and the lives of your loved ones.

empty beer bottleAddiction Is A Family Disease: Your Close Relationships May Have Been Negatively Affected

Maybe you’re realizing for the first time in a long time how your relationships have been impacted. You might be concerned about how to restore trust with your loved ones, especially your partner. As much as you want to repair the emotional and physical intimacy that was fractured by your addiction, perhaps you don’t know how to be vulnerable and reconnect. Unsure of how to express yourself, you may become frustrated and impatient, sensing that the emotional divide between you is growing wider. You’ve worked hard to get sober, but what now? Substance abuse counseling for drugs and alcohol as well as other types of addiction can help you examine what underlies your unhealthy coping mechanisms and manage your disease successfully so you can regain control of your life.

Addiction Doesn’t Discriminate: It Negatively Impact Millions Of Americans

parents yelling, child hands over her earsThe National Drug Abuse Statistics’ latest survey reflects that “21 percent of people have used illegal drugs or misused prescription drugs within the last year and 20 percent have an alcohol use disorder.” As these statistics attest, addiction doesn’t discriminate. And while anyone can develop an addiction, people with a family history of substance abuse, mental health disorders, or dysfunctional family dynamics are at higher risk. This awful disease impacts people of all walks of life and color as well as different education levels, professions, and status. Addiction is a progressive disease—the more we use, the more severe it becomes. Because it impacts the brain’s capacity to make logical decisions, it’s difficult for us to recognize when we need help. But even when we get sober, we often suffer from the misconception that our work is done, not realizing that sobriety is only the first step in the lifelong process of recovery.

The Pandemic Contributed To Substance Abuse And Other Self-harming Forms Of Addiction

As the world collectively experienced the ongoing fear and uncertainty of the pandemic, individually, we each became more isolated. For some, feeling disconnected from our tribe—family, friends, coworkers, and neighbors—led to loneliness and disconnection. Lacking healthy social outlets and occasions to be present with others, we may have filled the void with substances which ultimately led to addiction. What’s more, the trappings of modern life itself often lack much-needed connection. Comparing ourselves to others on social media has taken the place of human interaction. We are encouraged to work harder and longer to cultivate independence rather than depend on others for support which, in turn, makes us vulnerable to self-soothing with substances. Unfortunately, the stigma of being considered an addict runs deep. Even in recovery, we may struggle to talk about addiction with our kids, despite passing on the genetic component to them. And like any life-changing event, transitioning from active addiction to sobriety often brings about anxiety. It’s hard to know how to process the uncomfortable emotions that are surfacing. In the early stages of recovery, your sobriety may be short-lived if you don’t recognize that you need consistent support along the way. Substance abuse counseling can help you create the life you want to live moving forward. With kindness, compassion, and hope, addiction therapy can help you envision what your new life is going to look like.

Substance Abuse Counseling Can Keep You On A Positive Path Forward

woman speaking with manGaining sobriety is only the first step to recovery. It takes patience, determination, and commitment to learn how to live contentedly without the need for alcohol, drug or other ways of self-numbing. And if important relationships were damaged, it takes time to mend what was broken. We know the disease of addiction doesn’t discriminate. It’s not your fault you developed an addiction.  However, it is your responsibility to manage your recovery and help restore what has been lost. Therapy offers you a space to speak freely about your experiences and struggles with substance abuse without judgment or shame. A therapist trained in addiction counseling can help you understand the root causes underlying your substance use and abuse and how to deal with daily stressors more healthily. By establishing clear pathways toward recovery, you can mend relationships, cultivate a better mindset, and simply learn how to “be” without your addiction being in charge anymore.

What To Expect In Sessions

While we will prioritize equipping you with healthy coping mechanisms to manage your substance use, it’s also important to understand why you depend on substances in the first place. Once you have gained insight into your behaviors and habits, we can help you develop healthier ways of responding to your triggers. By learning long-lasting solutions, you will avoid falling back into the cycle of substance abuse. You will also learn the reasons behind physical and mental withdrawal. While we continue to move toward progress, you will receive a treatment plan that will take possible setbacks into account. Because successful recovery takes a team of support, we will work closely alongside other providers involved in your care to ensure everyone is on the same page.

The Modalities We Use

Your addiction counselor will utilize an array of modalities throughout substance abuse counseling, tailored to your unique needs. It can be helpful to start with Internal Family Systems (IFS) and move on to other modalities, such as Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT), Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT), mindfulness, somatic exercises, Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR), breathing, and guided imagery exercises. IFS is a helpful way of identifying your inner self as individual parts. With addiction, the part of you that has gained dominance over the others is self-destructive and doesn’t know how to manage life without substances. Once you realize that this is just one small part of you that doesn’t define the whole, you can reach self-forgiveness and get in the right head space to do the deeper work. Challenging your core beliefs surrounding substances can also be helpful. For example, the false belief that the substance or behavior will reduce stress or enhance pleasure may be what fuels your addiction. In addition, you will learn how to identify and cope with urges, mend broken bonds with loved ones, and set healthier boundaries for yourself. While recovery may seem tough or even impossible at the moment, with commitment, you can move out of survival mode and into thriving mode. You are capable of achieving the very best life for yourself—one that promotes healing and health.

Sustainable, Long-Term Recovery Is Possible

You can learn to enjoy life again and become the best version of yourself. To schedule a free consultation to learn more about substance abuse counseling, please click here.

But You May Wonder Whether Substance Abuse/Addiction Counseling Is Right For You…

Often times, when people try to justify their behaviors or habits and circumvent seeking therapy, those people are often the ones that would benefit most from counseling! Even when you try to justify that your situation “is not that bad/is not that much of an issue”, that may mean you are still experiencing things that are bad or could turn worse if left unaddressed. You can’t spot self-deception in yourself!

During our free screening/intake call (which would take place before you meet with a therapist), we will conduct a brief risk assessment to make sure that our therapists are able to meet your needs. Usually, we do not see clients who are actively using substances to the point of harm to themselves, and in such an instance, we will refer clients to get an assessment from a clinic, other healthcare providers, or specialists who can better meet their needs to help with detox, meds, etc.

woman smiling holding a balloon that has smiley face on itWhile we can’t prescribe medication to manage potential withdrawals or symptoms from substance use, we will refer you to specialized providers/psychiatrists who can do so. If we work together we will continue to coordinate treatment care with any other provider involved in your care so we can set you up for a successful outcome in therapy.