Online Alcohol/Drug Treatment & Mental Health Counseling
"...Life can strip you of any shred of self-worth if you let it. They say strength and knowledge comes from hardship, but damn, I wish it was easier sometimes. Utilizing my education and life experience (having struggled in the past with alcohol and mood) my hope is I can help guide you through your own difficult time and get you to more solid ground. It can be hard and alcohol, drugs, Anxiety, depression, anger, frustration, etc. can be the result of trying hard. Mistakes shape you but don’t have to define you. Learning positive ways to cope is the key, but often come after a lot of learning. One approach does not fit all. " - Tim Welch My Experience & Education
Five steps to ground yourself
When the urge to use hits and things get tense, ground yourself. Get in the moment by quieting yourself, taking a couple deep breaths and reciting the below. Name in your head what the sense identifies in your environment. (Ex. One thing you can taste near you, two things you can smell around you, etc...)
One - you can taste, Two - you can smell, Three - you can hear, Four - you can see, Five you can touch
Quick Tips TO Quit Alcohol Or Drugs
• Don’t use for another minute. Don’t look long term just the next minute.
• Don’t just stare at the wall or walk around aimlessly. Watch TV, read a book, go to a movie, etc.
• Understand your anxiety and cravings are normal and will pass.
• Distract yourself. Don’t sit in your head thinking about quitting.
• Don’t skip meals. Maintain a healthy diet. Snack on healthy foods if you can’t eat a whole meal. Drink water to flush out your system.
• Don’t keep alcohol in the home.
• Don’t think you are powerless before you drink or use drugs. Drugs and alcohol are powerless before you. Alcohol or drugs cannot enter your body without you approving of it. Thinking you are powerless gives you an excuse to keep using drugs or alcohol.
• DO NOT let one mistake ruin your desire to quit.
• Use your support system. Go to a recovery group meeting.
• Talk out how you feel with someone you trust.
• Exercise. Move. Kick in your endorphins
• Stay out of your head. Clean, draw, read, listen to music, etc.
• Plan your day. During the times you would normally use, plan something. Avoid downtime and boredom.
• Change your routine. Your drinking or drug use often occur around certain activities.
• Meditate, breathe. Rearrange your room, house or furniture.
• Keep reasonable expectations and focus on one or two things. Go after one problem at a time. (Ex. Quit meth, not meth and cigarettes and get a new job and.....)
• See your doctor and consider meds for physical, mental or emotional symptoms.
• Try to sleep or rest but know this may be disrupted at first. Have a book or tablet by your bed. Don’t fight it or get frustrated with it. Talk to your doctor if you’re having too many issues with sleep.
When you are thinking about quitting alcohol or drugs you may feel scared and alone. Others will want you to stop using but may not understand the exact reasons you chose to use, the reasons why you continued to use or the negative impact you feel quitting will have on your life. You definitely do not want to continue hurting the ones you love, but how you get to sobriety, seems too far away.
Others may point to all the negative consequences as reasons why you should change but no one will understand how some of those negative consequences pale compared to the thoughts and emotions you struggle with everyday. You know you have created a mess and sobriety means feeling and thinking of all that, not clear skies and possibilities.
Don’t give up on yourself. Sobriety is change and any change can be scary. Listen to those you trust for guidance. And listen to yourself along the way in recovery. You are allowed to be you. Try not to judge your progress by comparing yourself to others in recovery. It is hard to get and stay sober by following someone else’s recovery plan simply because it worked for them. Recovery has to make sense to you and fit within your life and beliefs. It should not tell you who you should be, but grow out from who you are. You are more than simply a drunk or addict.
Recovery is not just confirming, but forming a way to a better life. There are many ways to recover, and the only wrong way is the one that does not work for you.
Quality treatment must encourage growth within each individual it encounters. It must empower and enable people to NOT keep coming back.
If you have tried treatment and are now using or drinking again it does not mean you have failed. It means you have learned.
It means there was a disconnect. Treatment failed, you didn't.
• Empower yourself. Be an active participant in recovery, don’t blindly follow what you are told. Just because you struggled with a substance doesn’t make you an idiot. Drugs and alcohol dis-empower, you need to learn to empower yourself again. “Do what I did and you will get what I got”... is NOT true. Find a way that works for you. What is one thing outside of drugs or alcohol that is unique about you that could help you maintain sobriety?
• You are more than your addiction. Alcohol or drugs are just one part of the equation. Learning to live again is the hard part. Sobriety doesn’t mean shit if you haven’t learned to live outside of addiction and recovery. Don’t let anybody, including yourself, define you by what substance you use. addiction is just one slice of your life. Can you specifically name two things that you are currently doing differently in your life other than not drinking or using drugs?
• Your story matters, tell it. Hitting bottom only matters if the consequences from it are valued. Negative consequences may wake you up but won’t motivate you for long. It’s not how far you fall but how deep you learn. There is a reason you managed who you were (your story) with a substance. Figure out why. Dig deep and know denial may mean the story is still too hard to tell. How have alcohol or drugs helped you cope with your story?
• Heal the hurt. Addiction is a symptom of something deeper that is unresolved inside of you. It is a choice to manage these emotions with alcohol or drugs. What kind of pain or hurt do you have to own up to that alcohol or drugs have helped you manage and cover up?
• Trust and be true to yourself. You have to believe your life will be improved when you quit drinking or drugging or no lasting change will occur. Just because you don’t want to quit drinking or using drugs on my terms doesn’t mean you can’t or won’t quit. Just because they know your symptoms doesn’t mean they know you. What are two things that will improve in your life when you stop using drugs or alcohol?
• You can absolutely change. Some have gotten sober by not focusing on it. Don’t let what you have done define who you can be. Mistakes are lessons not life sentences. Never believe a prediction that does not empower you. Relapse is not a part of recovery and “once an addict always an addict” is just not true. People change every day and never look back. What are two qualities about you (or two things you are doing) that are not defined by drugs or alcohol?
• Cut yourself some slack. It will hurt to heal. If you’re not making mistakes you’re not doing it right. There is no “ready”, start where you stand. Addiction is selfish thinking and so recovery must be selfless. What is one positive thing you can do for someone else today?
• Act don’t talk. Complete honesty is about knowing what to reveal, not revealing all. Words are not as important as actual change. If you could not talk would people see change in how you live your life?
• Focus on what you love. You don’t beat alcohol or drug addiction by fearing it. You have to love something else more. Much of life’s troubles come from trying to control the fire that burns inside... What is your “why“?
Five Steps To Remember
1) Get out of your head! You have decided to quit using alcohol or drugs after much mental debate. A day or two goes by and you start to feel better physically. You are very proud of yourself. Something happens at work that is stressful and what happens. Your head starts looking for a way to cope with the stress. The alcohol or drug debate begins again. You start rationalizing and justifying how it may not be so bad for one more drink or hit. STOP right there! You are and will achieve what you think! Get out of your head and focus on something else. It’s your negative thinking that got you into the drug and alcohol mess to begin with. But how do you do this?
2) Be selfless not selfish! A major reason to want to use alcohol or drugs is selfishness. The “poor me” syndrome. The whole world starts to revolve around you and no one has as bad a problem as you do. Well none of these problems will be remedied by using alcohol or drugs. You won’t pay your bills or patch up the situation with your spouse or at work by using. You won’t even find that moment of happiness you are so desperately seeking by using alcohol and drugs. Instead of going up into your head and feeling miserable about yourself or situation, help someone! Get out of your head and into someone else’s world. Kindness to others is the key here, for it does not allow you to have a pity party in your head. The greatest cure and joy in the world to combat misery and selfishness is to help someone else. Talk to someone who seems down. Volunteer at a hospital or detox center. Do anything to get out of your head and not think about yourself. It works!
3) Do something! Nothing will change if you sit on the couch feeling sorry for yourself. You need motion and action. All the planning and goals mean little if you don’t put some action behind them. Do something! Get a hobby, volunteer your time, go running, read a book. Whatever will help put you in motion. The concept of fear is important here for most who struggle with alcohol or drug addiction have let fear immobilize them. Remember this: fear lessons and becomes irrelevant when we are actively working toward a goal. Do something toward a goal you have.
4) Choose a goal! A goal is something you want to achieve that does not hurt yourself or others. It’s what you want to focus your life towards. Those who struggle with alcohol or drug addiction often lose sight of what their goals are. Find one! What do you enjoy doing? Even if it is a small goal, find one. Finding a goal and working towards it eliminates the power of alcohol or drugs in your life. Your life becomes about who you want to be not who you were.
5) Establish meaning in your life! If you are spiritual or religious, PRAY. Re-connect with life and that quiet but persistent voice inside you. Your emotions will tell you when your focus is wrong. Emotions are the nerves to the soul. Listen to them, and if you are having negative emotions look at where your focus is right now. Readjust it! When you were drinking or using drugs your focus was only on yourself. You weren’t happy. You can be! Who do you want to be, what do you want to value, and who do you want to care about? Focus is individual for everyone, but you know it is there. You feel it. You are not ignorant, weak, or stupid. You have just never pushed through your fear of life by getting out of your head, thinking of others first, and putting action behind your goals. You do these simple things and you have just obtained your new focus!
If I could give away one secret it would be that we do not know everything about alcohol or drug addiction but we often like to think we do. Both alcohol and drug addiction are heartbreaking behaviors that can rip lives apart, but we don’t really now exactly why one person is more impacted than another. There are many theories and studies that can give clues to why alcohol or drug addiction may occur, but none that conclusively pinpoint a “why” for everyone. You would think that by now we would of come up with an agreed upon specific blueprint on how to overcome alcohol or drugs, or created a cure that eliminates this awful disease for everyone. But we have not and there are often as many opinions as people in the room. There is no one way that will work for everyone.
Sure, many have obtained sobriety through AA, NA, medication or an alcohol or drug counseling program, but not everyone subscribes to the efficacy of these approaches nor have these approaches been successful for everyone. In fact, some don’t even believe alcohol or drug addiction is a brain disease but rather a symptom caused by a deficit in someone’s life. Don’t get me wrong, research has vastly improved our knowledge of the relationship and impact of alcohol and drugs on the brain, but it does not tell the whole story especially when we realize how much of recovery is driven by individual experiences, spiritual awakenings, character examinations, “higher powers” and clever cliches.
There are 12 step groups, non-12 step groups, treatment programs, counseling, etc., that all passionately promote their own program successes and can be effective for a lot of people, but none can say they effectively work for everyone. In fact, some research shows that for some people brief interventions, social connections or life transitions can be as or more effective in overcoming drug or alcohol addiction than traditional treatment approaches.
There is no one answer to why drug or alcohol addiction occurs, no one way to recover from alcohol or drugs and no treatment center, group or counselor that has the one answer for everyone.
There is often a tendency for both the professionals and those who have recovered from alcohol or drugs to proclaim that they hold the keys to success in recovery. Everyone has a right to their opinion, but to make an absolute statement of what addiction is or that you must recover their way or risk failure, is dangerous. In stating that their way is the only way to recover, they eliminate other plausible avenues that could be beneficial in helping others overcome alcohol or drugs or push away those who may not of been successful utilizing their approach.
I feel we are often only presented with a limited idea of what recovery actually is about. In reality there is a wide spectrum of ways people have used to overcome their drug or alcohol problem. The purpose of this writing is to present some thoughts on this wider spectrum of recovery that you may not have heard or just never been told. It is to explore the different faces of alcohol or drug addiction to better understand what can be impactful for a successful recovery.
But most importantly it is to let the alcohol or drug user know that we need them, to help show us the way. To bring their knowledge and experiences into the whole recovery equation so we can learn from the road that they took.
Recovery is not just conforming but forming a way to a better life. There are many ways to walk and the only wrong way is the one that does not work for you. Everyone’s ideas matter, not just the ones who say most confidently what should matter. We are all part of what makes up this thing we call alcohol and drug recovery and in this diverse richness comes power to find a way out of this horrible struggle of addiction. If we listen, we will find that it is through each person’s unique journey to recovery that we can eventually improve our understanding of addiction and come closer to knowing and understanding recovery’s heart.
Alcohol & Drug Treatment & Recovery Resources
Tim Welch, LPCC, NCC, MAC, BC-TMH
Newark, Ohio Licking County Online Therapy. Individual Alcohol Counseling, Drug Counseling, EMDR, Anxiety, Depression & Mental Health Therapy.Insurance accepted: Cigna, Aetna, QCP, O, Medical Mutual, United Healthcare, Oxford, Oscar, Teladoc