"A key component of addiction is not necessarily the quantity or frequency of a substance being used but how and for what purpose a substance is being used."
Substance addictions can start in a variety of ways for a variety of reasons. Perhaps it was innocent enough - I do this thing, I feel a little relief or feel a bit better or less tense or less socially "awkward" or like I am fitting in or maybe it's just for fun. I keep doing it for that feeling of relief or because my friends and family are doing it or because it feels normal or fun or for many other reasons. Somehow, though, I end up finding myself addicted to this substance. And despite my attempts to control my use - perhaps many attempts - the substance now seems like it might be controlling me, and I cannot seem to stop using it, despite my best efforts.
Not all substance addiction looks the same. For some people, their substance addiction may look like a significant quantity of a substance one or more times per week, blackouts, brownouts, physical illness, or passouts, financial ruin, loss of family, friends and jobs, DUIs, homelessness, or erratic, abusive rages when intoxicated. Any one of these things may occur or more than one of these things may occur.
For other people, a substance addiction may be more challenging to detect and name as addiction, because it may not come with these specific experiences or these particular negative consequences. A person, rather, may consistently rely on a substance in one or more settings in their life in order to soothe distress of some kind, to "take the edge off," or to disrupt joy, intimacy, and connection in their lives by introducing an emotional barrier into the experience - a substance.
A key component of addiction is not necessarily the quantity or frequency of a substance being used but how and for what purpose a substance is being used.
If it is challenging for a person to stop using a substance or if they have repeatedly taken "breaks" from a substance only to find themselves making excuses or justifications for why they like, want, or even need the substance in their lives again, or if a loved one has said that the person's substance use seems to make the person less available for intimate connection or that it seems to be threatening their safety and mental health - these can also be signs that addiction or dysfunctional use of a substance is present.
People with substance addiction may be just realizing they might have a problem and want to start therapy and recovery before it gets any worse; others have suffered one or many negative consequences already have decided it is time to make a change. Others still may be in long-term recovery and sobriety and would like to engage in deep therapeutic work to continue their journey of healing.
Putting down a substance - such as alcohol or narcotics or marijuana - is one step among many on the journey to emotional, relational, psychological, and spiritual healing. At RtW we provide psychotherapy to those in recovery who are seeking to deepen their wellness in all these areas.
Substance addiction - such as alcoholism or narcotics addiction - often comes in differing levels of severity - like any other addiction. At RtW, we provide outpatient psychotherapy. We are willing to work in collaboration with your doctor or psychiatrist who may be prescribing Suboxone, Methodone, Antabuse or other medical interventions designed to assist you in abstaining from the substance that was causing you and your life great harm.