Addiction is a common problem of our time. It’s not just about using something too much, or whether it’s legal or illegal. It has to do with how much it interferes with your life, how intense the experience is for you and how little control you have over it. Most people don’t understand addiction, even though it’s everywhere. “Why don’t you just stop” is a common suggestion. Behavioral addictions (like video game addiction, internet addiction, shopping, sex addictions) are especially difficult for others to understand. “Why can’t you just control yourself and do “it” normally?” Well, it’s not that simple, it turns out.
Addiction is a collection of cycles that reinforce themselves. It happens when we try to solve a problem by doing something that makes it worse. It looks like this: “I’m depressed, I use (drugs or behavior) to try to feel better, but using turns my life into a shambles. Then I get more depressed because my life is a shambles, so now I need to use more.” To recover, we have to find some effective ways to interrupt and crash that cycle.
How Therapy can Help
Addiction Recovery is challenging. We will work in two ways. First, we must find or create a support network around you for relapse prevention. Once-per-week sessions with a counselor are just part of the solution. We will consider all of your resources to do this. Whether it’s a 12-step fellowship, another kind of support group, a church community, some trusted friends or maybe a combination of these, the support will be vital. Second, we will also work on addressing the underlying issues related to addiction. For example, addiction is often rooted in grief or trauma, particularly childhood trauma. Or it can be fed by a mood disorder, or even current situations, such as ongoing physical pain. Some of these can be addressed in therapy; we also find or build other resources.
Hope. In spite of the roadblocks and obstacles that we face in addressing addiction, there is hope for recovery. Many people have gotten there, and live happy and fulfilling lives. We’ll have to be partners against the problem. I’ll show up to work if you will.