- Have you ever decided to stop drinking or using drugs, only to find that you can’t for any length of time ?
- Is your drinking/drug use causing problems in your relationships and at home ?
- Do you make promises to yourself and others that you will stop ?
- Are you experiencing blackouts or having trouble remembering what you did and with whom ?
- Have you missed days at work or other commitments because of drinking or using?
- Do you tell yourself you can stop anytime you want to, even though you keep getting drunk or high even when you don’t mean to or want to ?
- Need to drink or use to stop symptoms like shaking or nausea ?
- Do you feel like you need alcohol or drugs to manage stress or to meet deadlines ?
Does any of this sound familiar ? If you are concerned about your drinking, drug use or other addictive behaviour then I can help. Only you can decide if alcohol or other substances are a problem for you and I can provide a space free from judgment whilst you explore what, if anything, you would like to do about your drinking or other addictive/destructive ways you may act out on uncomfortable thoughts and feelings. Don’t let fear, embarrassment or shame stop you from seeking help.
I specialise in working with substance related issues and have worked in a variety of settings helping people to overcome problems with alcohol and other drugs. I also work with family members whose loved ones may be experiencing problems with substances. Specialist counselling in alcohol and drug use requires a different approach to other forms of therapy, and as is often the case each person will respond differently to different approaches. People with a mild to moderate problem may only need brief therapy in order to moderate or stop. Whereas people whose drinking or using is more complex may need longer term counselling or intensive sobriety coaching to reach their sobriety/recovery goals.
Issues surrounding alcohol, drugs and addiction are complex, and the process working through them can be challenging. However, with the right approach and support people can transform their relationship with alcohol and other substances.
Trauma and Addictions
If you have a trauma history its important to find a therapist who understands the additional challenges that may arise through sobriety and abstinence. When addictive behaviour has been a post traumatic survival strategy there is a risk of ‘post traumatic flooding’ when a person stops drinking or using. This can happen immediately or some months down the line and shows up as nervous system deregulation, increased impulsivity, overwhelming emotions and flashbacks. Therefore it is important to have a therapist who can recognise and work with post traumatic flooding safely to help reduce the risk of relapse. Trying to process traumatic memories too soon and before safety and stability in sobriety has been achieved brings additional risks so its important the therapist knows how to ‘put the brakes on’ the therapy when needed.
Therapy must address the ‘relationship’ between the trauma and the addictive behaviour in ‘medicating’ traumatic activation and the reality is that to recover from either, requires recovering from both. Some people are suprised to learn that recovering from trauma doesnt necessarily depend on them re-telling their trauma story in detail. If that feels like a relief, you can contact me to find out the different ways I work with trauma. If processing your trauma memories feel like its important to you, we will make sure that it is done safely.
For an initial consultation, and to find out more about my specialist counselling services, please contact me today.