Addiction is a treatable neuropsychological disorder. In relation to substances, it is the persistent urge to use the substance, despite the adverse effects on personal, professional, and social life. A person struggling with alcohol addiction faces difficulty controlling the quantity and frequency of alcohol consumption.
People do not intend to get addicted. A variety of complex factors interact with each other and lead to addiction. Overcoming addiction is no less than a battle. Detox is only the first step. For people with severe addiction, it is advisable to take the help, support, and guidance of alcohol rehabilitation centres. The time required for addiction recovery varies for each person. The recovery process is laced with challenges such as cravings and relapse triggers. But a life that is free from addiction is worth all the effort.
Therapy is an important tool for supporting long-term recovery from addiction. Counselling allows one to address the underlying causes of addiction and develop new coping mechanisms.
Read on to find out more about how therapy and counselling aid and benefit the addiction recovery process.
I. Therapy Builds Self-Awareness For Addiction Recovery
Through therapy, one can gain insight into triggers for addictive behaviours and patterns of thinking. Therapy can help identify relapse triggers. Self-awareness helps people understand their own thought processes and responses to situations, people, and places. Without self-awareness, people deny the severity of their addiction. Coming up with effective solutions is only possible when one is aware of the depth of the problem.
Therapy helps people look at their actions and thought processes objectively. It helps them distinguish between destructive and constructive influences in their lives. By increasing self-awareness, therapy lowers the risk of relapse.
III. Counselling Provides Emotional Support
People often turn to alcohol to numb negative feelings. Alcohol becomes a means of escape from overwhelming emotions. In the recovery process, the challenge is managing these emotions while sober. Counselling offers a safe non-judgemental space to express feelings and helps one learn how to handle them better. Stress and loneliness also trigger relapses. Speaking confidentially with a therapist reduces feelings of isolation and helps acquire skills to manage stress effectively.
III. Therapy Empowers New Behaviours
Cognitive behavioural therapy and other techniques equip people with alternatives to addiction to handle life’s challenges in a healthy way. Therapy helps people identify the connections between their feelings, thoughts, environmental factors, past experiences, and actions, as well as the possible effects of these connections on recovery.
When faced with extremely painful thoughts or strong fears, people often try to self-medicate with alcohol. People might turn to alcohol due to their existing mental health conditions. Depression and anxiety disorders are commonly co-occurring disorders with addiction. Often, co-occurring disorders exacerbate each other’s symptoms. Therapy is often effective in cases of co-occurring disorders. It helps get rid of false beliefs and insecurities. It provides better self-help tools and helps improve communication skills. During recovery, therapy aids in managing triggers in a better way.
IV. Peer Support Groups Complement Therapy
Support groups like AA/NA provide a social network of others in addiction recovery and accountability to maintain sobriety. These groups allow one to learn from others, speak about personal experiences, and receive and show empathy. Hearing from others who have been through the same or similar challenges can be motivating and inspirational.
Peer support groups encourage interaction between people who are striving for improvement in their lives. Such interactions give rise to a sense of connection (people can relate to each other), rather than isolation. Groups also help establish a routine which proves beneficial for recovery.
These days, groups may meet online or in person. Group discussions are led by facilitators who also have experience with addiction. Peer support groups complement formal treatment and increase the chances of successful recovery. Members of peer support groups share and celebrate sobriety milestones. These groups may even lead to lifelong friendships and the expansion of social networks.
V. Family Counseling Repairs Relationships
For many, addiction damages important relationships. Addiction is characterised by a preoccupation with the substance. It impairs the health and functioning of the afflicted individual. These effects create ripples beyond the addicted person. Addiction leads to conflicts between people. Family therapy can help mend bonds and restore or establish healthy communication among family members.
Family therapy brings to light the strengths and challenges within the family. Therapists coach family members in skills to reduce unhelpful behaviours and increase effective behaviours. Family therapy helps gain a better understanding of the feelings of all family members and validates the experiences of each member. Therapy programs vary according to the structure of the family, the person undergoing recovery, and the members involved.
Overall, making counselling part of an addiction recovery plan sets one up for long-term success. Combining therapy with peer support and a wellness lifestyle puts healing tools in one’s toolkit to stay sober.
Many thanks to the Alcohol Rehab Guide for researching and writing such an interesting article.