GETTING SOBER ∙ STAYING SOBER
Getting help with breaking a harmful addiction is a common reason for seeking substance abuse treatment or substance abuse therapy. A therapist can use a combination of resources, including pharmacology as well as psychotherapy to provide a framework for support and for discontinuance.
Alcoholism and drug abuse are indiscriminate:
They are found across the entire socio-economic spectrum. It is a community of vastly different people with one common element: the abuse of alcohol and/or drugs in order to achieve a state of temporary relief from emotional pain.
This is why many alcohol and drug abuse counselors and other professionals who understand addiction and are involved in substance abuse treatment say “you can get sober, but you can’t stay sober unless you deal with the underlying problem.” In other words, to stop alcohol abuse and to stop drug abuse means to reduce the need to medicate the pain. This does not mean magically eradicate what is painful. Nor does it mean simply to tell someone about it.
It means to build areas of self that are not the injured areas and to strengthen areas of self that are not the wounded areas. In this way, it becomes possible to imagine shifting one’s dependence from the numbing relief of alcohol and drugs, to a reliable, mindful self that both holds the area of pain and soothes it, while at the same time, can claim sobriety. And, this is the work of substance abuse counseling in a psychotherapy context.