Alcohol and Substance Abuse Counseling
"We must learn to reawaken and keep ourselves awake, not by mechanical aid, but by an infinite expectation of the dawn."
- Henry David Thoreau
"It's not what you find, it's what you find out."
- David Hurst Thomas
"Everybody wants to go to heaven, but nobody wants to die."
- Peter Tosh
If you are concerned about your alcohol or substance abuse and want to find an experienced Seattle therapist or counselor, please know that I have helped many people walk the journey to recovery. Counseling and recovery from addiction is a very exciting, difficult and rewarding process. Very few changes can improve a person's life as much as healing from alcohol or substance abuse. In fact, some of my clients have said that their recovery was the best thing that ever happened to them. Whether you are drawn to alcohol, other substances, people or activities, we can work together to find solutions.
Loving Someone With an AddictionIf you love someone with an addiction then you know what a painful roller coaster it is to be with someone who cannot see their own behavior clearly. Addiction affects the brain, the organ that tells us how we are doing and guides our decision-making. An impaired brain does not evaluate situations correctly. If you love someone with an addiction, you can see what they cannot. It doesn't mean they are bad, but it can be terribly frustrating and painful for you. You may find yourself angrier or more hurt than you ever imagined possible. You may find yourself very, very worried about them, your family and yourself.
I can help you come to terms with loving someone who has an addiction, help you maintain your self-respect and sanity and help you reclaim those parts of yourself that you have lost along the way, and maybe, help you help your loved one more effectively.
Self-Help MeetingsI do not require that people I work with go to self-help meetings. I believe that there are many ways to get well and attendance at Twelve Step meetings is one way, but not the only way for people to heal and recover. That being the case, I do want you to know that I am a strong believer in using all available resources to help people recover, including attending meetings. There is a lot of folk wisdom in self-help meetings like Alcoholics Anonymous, and people who attend are more likely to remain clean and sober. Meetings are free and, if you live in one of the large urban areas around Puget Sound, they are readily accessible. There are meetings all over the area at many different times of day and days of the week. I cannot state strongly enough that there is a lot to be said for free and accessible. The price cannot be beat.
Some people wonder how they can find a good meeting. Just like many things, there is a lot of variability in the quality of meetings, so it pays to shop around. In my experience, if you want to find a good meeting, you can. The first meeting you go to may not be the one that is right for you. It is normal to feel a lot of hesitation and reluctance about going. After all you may not know what to expect. You may not even be sure that you have a problem with addiction. Be brave! Be strong! Give it a try! One thing is for sure. If you arrive late, leave early, sit in the back, and mentally criticize those around you, you are not likely to have a very good experience. It is tempting, especially in early recovery, to find reasons why the people in meetings are not like you. If you are able to push through these hesitations, you may find surprising richness. There is a lot of elegance and depth in the Twelve Steps that are often unappreciated by people in early recovery.
Some people criticize self-help meetings as being too religious. It is true that meetings refer to a "higher power". Most people who participate in Twelve Step meetings view them as spiritual rather than religious. Maybe you have had negative experiences with organized religion. If this is true I would urge you to think about the statement often used in twelve step programs, "Take what you need and leave the rest." If your life is on the line, and addiction does threaten your life, then a strong reaction to the use of the term "higher power" does not serve you, and may kill you if it keeps you from reaping the full benefits of the program. Despite all this, if it is just too much, please know that in the greater Seattle area there are meetings for atheists and agnostics. Please don't let your reactions to the term "higher power" keep you from your right to live a life that is better than the one you have right now.
Remember there are many ways to heal from addictions. There is no "one right way". Let's work together to find your path to recovery.