Maybe it became a problem right away or maybe it took years. Now, it has become the most important part of your day and you run to it when you’re feeling lonely, tired, angry, bored or empty.
When you can’t stop using or doing something even when it’s becoming harmful in some way, you need help. It could be alcohol, drugs, prescription pills, pornography, gambling, shopping or even work (maybe several of these things). No one starts these behaviors thinking “I won’t be able to control it” or “this is going to hurt me,” but over time that can begin to happen.
Maybe you do it to celebrate or reward yourself after you meet your responsibilities. If for some reason you can’t do it or have it, you get angry, frustrated, short-tempered or desperate.
You’ve probably been slow to admit to yourself or others that you can no longer control yourself around a behavior or substance. It doesn’t seem like a problem until it is and even then, it can be easier to pretend that it isn’t as bad as it looks (or feels).
You might downplay the problem and over-estimate your ability to stop. It goes something like this “I don’t do as much as…” “I could stop if I really wanted to,” “I used to do it even more then I am now so it’s really not that bad.”
You may feel the need to stop, sometimes even want to stop, but struggle to do anything about it. For those that try, a few days or weeks might go by before you find yourself caught in autopilot, pulled back to the old habit. So, you try again “this time it’ll be different and I’ll try even harder” only to get caught again. And again. And again. It won’t stop. You feel guilty. You feel shame. The waves of wanting to stop and wanting to do it again keep coming.
Sometimes you just don’t want to give up your habit – it soothes you. You tell yourself it’s really not that bad. But deep down, part of you knows it’s not good. It’s hurting you. It’s wrecking your family.
You might tell a few people some details but not the whole story. At some point you might feel low enough where you find yourself surrendering and not even trying to stop until you find yourself at a new all-time low; realizing things just can’t continue this way. You want out.
You don’t have to live life trapped in your addiction. I understand your feelings of hopelessness; your doubt things can change.
We will look at your story and discover the things in your life that might be supporting or blocking change. We will design a plan to move forward, specific to who you are and what you’re facing. We will work to develop the skills, thinking and behavior that will help you avoid using if when you want it the most. We will help you identify the warning signs that signal you may be heading back down the old path and where/how to get help. We will develop a plan if you slip and begin using again that will include how to get help and what to do to get back on track.
We won’t stop with sobriety. That’s an important short-term goal, but real recovery goes further. It evaluates physical, emotional and spiritual health. It establishes a support network, coping skills and plans to address specific triggers whether they are people, places or things.
Recovery is possible and I want to be a part of your journey!
Listen to Nate talk about his approach to addictions therapy and how he can help you.
EMDR is a research based method of helping trauma recovery.
Genevieve Kim, MA, LMFT offers culturally sensitive counseling. Learn more here.
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