The Essential Guide to Getting Help with your Alcohol and Drug Use.
May 22, 2017
Have you have been thinking about getting help with stopping, reducing or controlling your drinking?
Or maybe it’s your partying or drug use that has got out of hand.
You don’t want to tell your doctor or maybe you have spoken to them but it wasn’t really that helpful.
Some people will just be able to stop, gain control or reduce. There is so much information out there. But it’s hard to know who to listen to.
What if you can’t do it on your own, what then?
When I wanted to make a change, I was lucky there was a great trainer and therapist in my life that had already spotted me coming a mile off, so they were ready for the call. Also, in some weird way I was trying to help myself. The want was there, I wanted my life to be different I just didn’t know how.
If that person hadn’t been there I don’t know what I would have done, not in a bad way, just in a, don’t know where I would have got the help I needed kinda way.
So, what are the choices open to us if we need more help:
· Books: There are so many books on addiction, alcohol, drugs, habit and health. I would say just get reading. There are lots of books about peoples own personal stories which can be really empowering and motivating. When I was younger I read Tina Turners story quite a few times to remind me anything is possible. Also books from specialists like me. Look at the reviews, but remember sometimes you just have to read different books as everyone has a different point of view, opinion.
· Friends that have been there: This can be helpful. They understand, they can be supportive and tell you what worked for them and cheer you on. Watch out for the friend that thinks my way is the only way that works, because that just isn’t true. The way that works for you is the one.
· GP/doctor: This can be very hit and miss and quite frankly you might not want to tell your GP and have it on your medical records unless you have a serious problem and you need medical help. Also, GP’s are General practitioners so some of them won’t have the knowledge and experience to deal with an alcohol or drug issue.
· Free treatment services: There are free drug and alcohol services dotted around the country. This is different in each area. You will have to search online or ask your health centre to find out. Its free so if you haven’t got any money that’s great. Again, it will depend on what service they offer, who runs it and the workers, as to what kind of service you get. Some will be brilliant and you will get a very experienced worker. However due to funding cuts some services have some very inexperienced workers. But it’s worth a go if you don’t have any money.
· 12 step groups can be good: Depends on what you are looking for. They are good because there is one in pretty much every town and city. In some places, you can go to a meeting everyday. They are free, well run by donations. They are run by people with lived experience, so lots of support. Great for connecting with people and belonging to something. I like the steps, for some people it can be a good process to work through, giving them structure. However, some of the groups can be very religious, spiritual and very strict. This tends to put a lot of people off. Some of the language and methodology doesn’t sit well with people, such as being powerless, having a disease and always being in recovery. If 12 step is something that resonates with you, try different groups as they can all be very different, some good and some not so. http://www.12step.org/
· Smart Groups: These are new to this country. Search online. There are weekly groups in some cities. These are solution focused, confidential groups, led by people who have been there. They can be an alternative to 12 step. People can find them useful, meeting up with others on the same journey. If there is a telephone number call that to check on the groups. I have found that sometimes they don’t keep the website up to date. https://www.smartrecovery.org.uk/
· Online programmes: There are a few different online learning programmes springing up for habit and addiction. Choose one that suits you. These do not have to cost the earth. When picking someone to learn from see my points below. Confidential online coaching programme
· Forums and Facebook Groups: There are many forums and Facebook groups out there. If you don’t want to go to a physical group these are a great way to access support. Giving a similar thing, they should be confidential, moderated well, supportive and positive. Have a look around and find one that works for you. I find a lot of the groups quite different, with different groups of people in, so it really is shopping around. But remember this is the internet, so the same internet rules apply. Not everyone is qualified to give an opinion.
· Private therapists or coaches: This can be a good option if you have tried on your own and it’s just not quite working or you can’t move forward in your life. Have a look online, can you find someone that is recommended to you? Check their reviews, any good therapist or coach worth their salt will offer a free consultation, so you can see if you want to work with them. They should have quite a significant online profile so have a good look around and you will find out lots about them and what they do. Do they know what they are talking about? Are they trained, do they have lots of experience of working with people with addiction, alcohol and drugs?
· Rehab: This is quite an expensive option. It can work for some people, but its fairly drastic. It’s usually for people that have tried everything and their life really is in a terrible mess. Peoples lives are usually way out of control for them to consider this, or they have a huge amount of money or both. I occasionally see people that I think this would be a good option for. They are usually homeless, in chaos and their life has become unmanageable. The majority of people can build a programme of support around them.
Sometimes I meet people who wouldn’t even consider paying to see someone to help them live a healthier, happier life. They just keep muddling through, not quite getting there or living their life to the full. They tell me its weak to ask for help.
When your washing machine breaks what do you do? You call a specialist washing machine man who can come and fix it because that’s his job. When your roof is leaking what do you do? You get a roofer in because that is his job. Now I know there are some people out there that will say they watch a YouTube video and do it themselves and for some that’s ok. The majority of people will need to see a specialist.
Find the specialist to help you fix your problem. They have been trained, they know what they are doing. Make sure they have fixed their own problems first. An important point.
When learning from someone there are a few things I would like you to watch out for. Has that person been through it? Given up drinking? Stopped taking drugs? Are they trained? Who have they worked with? What’s their specialism? I am sure there are great workers out there that haven’t been through some sort of addiction, and that doesn’t mean they won’t be great or they don’t have something to say. There is also people that have written books sharing their own journey but have no training or experience of working with others, that will have valid things to say. For me personally I want to learn from people that walk their talk.
Any questions please ask.
Stephanie Chivers is a habit/addiction specialist. Author of There is no magic button