Substance Abuse Counseling

Substance Abuse Counseling

“Not all addictions are rooted in abuse or trauma, but I do believe they can all be traced to painful experience. A hurt is at the centre of all addictive behaviours. It is present in the gambler, the Internet addict, the compulsive shopper, and the workaholic. The wound may not be as deep and the ache not as excruciating, and it may even be entirely hidden—but it’s there. As we’ll see, the effects of early stress or adverse experiences directly shape both the psychology and the neurobiology of addiction in the brain.” – Dr. Gabor Maté

You know something’s gotta give.

The pattern of hitting snooze ‘til the last possible minute (after all, you feel like shit), barely having enough time to get ready, and cramming down a frozen burrito before rushing out of the house is starting to feel like Groundhog Day.

The thing about substance abuse is that it often sneaks up on us. Maybe what felt like “normal” partying in college is no longer working with your growing responsibilities; or what used to be a drink or a joint to take the edge off after work has turned into 3 doubles or feeling the need to pack a bowl several times a day.

Even a prescribed medication that started off with good intentions — “just something to manage my anxiety or help me focus”— can morph into an addiction that, especially mixed with alcohol, can lead to some serious and painful consequences in your relationships, your work, and your health.

Don’t wait for things to get worse.

Regardless of how substances are impacting your life right now, know that you don’t have to identify as an addict or an alcoholic to be concerned or to want to make a change.

Ever heard that saying, “It’s not that every time you drink you get into trouble; it’s that every time you get into trouble, you’ve been drinking”? This resonates with so many of my clients who maybe haven’t hit a “rock bottom” like it looks in the movies. A myth in the addiction world is that you “have to hit bottom” to want to make a change. But guess what? You get to choose where that bottom is.

I won’t sugarcoat it—

Change is hard and uncomfortable. Most of us humans tend to resist it, despite (as Greek philosopher Heraclitus reminded us) it being the only constant in life. So we often wait for the pain of our present circumstances to outweigh the pain of making a change— but here’s my invitation to you: don’t minimize the pain that your substance abuse is causing (or masking) and wait for things to spiral out into a complete dumpster fire.

If there’s a part of you reading this who feels seen right now (or maybe even a little called out), take that as a sign that you’re ready enough to begin. You don’t have to know what the end outcome is going to be to start the process— let’s figure it out together.

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And in case you missed it, read more about what I believe about addiction on this page.