Use Drug Counseling in the Right Circumstances

Use Drug Counseling in the Right Circumstances


The best approach to using drug counseling to make a difference in your addiction recovery is to use counseling as a supplemental strategy.  What does this mean?

It means that counseling for drug addiction should not be your primary strategy for staying clean and sober.  There is a time and a place for counseling, and it can be beneficial in the right circumstances, but using counseling all by itself as a recovery strategy in early recovery is a bad idea.  Even worse is to try to use counseling as a motivator to get clean and sober.  You are just fooling yourself if you think that going to talk with a therapist a few times each month, or even each week, is going to make a bit of difference if you are still using drugs and alcohol.

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Creative Commons License photo credit: Cara Photography

When I was still using drugs and alcohol, my family urged me talk with a drug counselor, so to appease them I agreed to go.  At the time, I had no intention of quitting drugs and alcohol, and eventually the drug counselor became frustrated with me and suggested I stop coming to see him.  I was a little bit outraged for a minute there but then I realized how selfish and uncooperative I was being.  This counselor could have been helping other people who were serious about recovery, and here I was, eating up both of our time, with no real intention of quitting drugs.  It was a lose-lose situation.  I was just going to keep up the charade of possible change, even though I had no intention of changing.

Does this mean that all drug counseling is bad?  Of course not.  It just shows that there are situations where it is not useful.

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Early recovery demands a huge amount of action on the part of the individual.  This action may consist of daily meetings, working with other addicts on a regular basis, heavy involvement with a sponsor, and heavy involvement with a recovery program.  It could mean a lot of other things as well, but one thing that does not constitute as massive action is an addict who sees a therapist once a week and does nothing else.  This is not enough to make a difference in early recovery.

Later on in recovery, counseling can open up new doors for the recovering addict, and push the individual to make lots of growth in new areas.  But early on it is best used as a supplement to other recovery strategies.

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