National Alcohol Awareness Month: Treatments That Work
Apparently, April is the month of awareness. It is Poetry, Autism and Alcohol Awareness Month. Today, with the help of Dennis C. Daley and G. Alan Marlatt, we will provide some resources for those suffering from alcohol abuse.
Daley and Marlatt co-authored both a therapist guide and a patient workbook in the Treatments That Work series titled, Overcoming Your Alcohol or Drug Problem: Effective Recovery Strategies. Their books provide practical information and skills to help change destructive behaviors. Below are some ideas from the workbook which help patients get the most out of treatment.
Share your story and history.
It is best to be honest in sharing the details of your personal story of substance use so that the professionals assessing you have a true picture of your problem and you. This will enable them to make recommendations for your treatment and recovery plan. Sharing your story and history honestly in group therapy sessions and AA or NA meetings is also helpful in recovery. You can get support, advice, and feedback from others in recovery from an alcohol or drug problem.
Develop a trusting relationship with a therapist or counselor.
This is essential in getting the most out of treatment. Let your therapist or counselor know what bothers you, what goes well, what you like and dislike about your work together, and your problems. Make sure you share the truth about close calls, substance cravings, actual episodes of alcohol or drug use, high-risk situations, or motivational struggles.
Keep your appointments.
Keep your appointments and stay in treatment long enough to reap the benefits. Do not create excuses and leave treatment against the advice of the people providing your care. Dropping out early is usually a bad sign and often precedes relapse. Be honest and open up in your sessions. Do not keep secrets, especially if you relapse. Your counselor is there to help you, not judge you. Follow through with the agreements you make with your counselor or treatment group. It is up to you to follow your treatment plan and take action to change.
Stay long enough to benefit from treatment.
Treatment is effective to the extent that you stay long enough to benefit from it. For many, alcohol or drug dependence is a long-term, chronic condition that often requires you to stay in treatment for months or longer. Many choose to stay in support groups like AA or NA for years.
Get help with motivation when it is low.
Your motivation to stay sober may go up and down in the early months of sobriety. You can feel enthusiastic one day, then negative about recovery the next day. You may work hard at your change plan only to find yourself feeling less motivated.
Accept that recovery is ongoing.
You will always have to actively work on not using alcohol or drugs and being aware of your problem. Since your problem developed over time, it will not easily or quickly be overcome. Recovery happens gradually, often in small steps. Many people in AA or NA have been involved in these programs for years. They know recovery continues long after they stop using alcohol or other drugs. There are no short cuts. Those who expect quick fixes set themselves up for failure…