Does alcohol addiction counseling really work? Is it a good solution for a struggling alcoholic? Is it a viable option for those who are already in recovery? What is the value and benefits of counseling, and how can it best be utilized?
In my personal recovery from alcoholism, I have two experiences with alcoholism counseling. The first experience is that I was basically “forced,” or at least “strongly encouraged” to attend counseling when I was still stuck in my drinking problem. At the time, I really had no intention of quitting drinking, but I was basically forced to attend addiction counseling anyway. I did not mind doing so and I actually enjoyed the sessions and talking with therapists. However, it is obvious to me now that addictions counseling, by itself, is never going to be enough for someone who is not really committed to quitting.
As a recovery strategy, therapy–by itself–is not a powerful enough technique. It is not earth shattering. It is not massive action. It cannot really change a person who is not fully committed to change in every area of their life.
So the bottom line is: if you are struggling with alcoholism, and you want to get sober, you need to take more action than just counseling alone. You need to go way beyond just seeing a therapist a couple times each week or each month. It is not enough.
Can counseling still play an important part of recovery though? You bet it can.
The other part of my experience with alcohol counseling was that I finally benefited greatly from it, and used counseling and therapy on a weekly basis to greatly enhance my recovery. But the key here is that this only happened after I had taken massive action and fully committed to change my life. This level of action was that I had gone to a rehab and detoxed from alcohol, then I moved into a long term treatment center, where I proceeded to live there for the following 20 months. This is a serious commitment and what I would say constitutes “massive action.” Using alcohol addiction counseling on top of that massive action strategy is the perfect way to utilize it and grow from it. But without the additional effort to stay clean and sober, without the massive amount of effort and action backing me up, then counseling would have been just as ineffective as it was before, and therefore useless.
Make counseling or therapy part of an overall plan. Do not depend on it for sobriety. Use it to enhance sobriety.