About Alcohol Abuse Counseling
Alcohol is a legal, incredibly addictive drug, and the effects of chronic alcohol abuse often do not seem to present themselves until a full-fledged addiction has set in. For people in all stages of the addiction spectrum, alcohol abuse counseling can be an intervention that may save lives. Alcoholism is not a discriminatory disease, and there are alcohol abuse counseling programs available almost everywhere for anyone who needs them.
Alcohol Abuse Counseling Programs
AA and 12 Step Meetings
Most alcohol abuse treatment focuses on the 12 steps, a conventional method of dealing with alcoholism. Alcoholics Anonymous or AA is a spiritually-based, international support group. Many people have had great success with 12 step meetings since their inception. Part of the draw of 12 step alcohol abuse counseling is the guided, sequential nature of treatment. Patients can come in and discuss with a group or counselor their progress on each of the 12 steps, and it can be helpful to always have that next step as a goal to work towards.
Inpatient Alcohol Abuse Counseling
Many alcohol abuse counseling programs are inpatient treatment facilities, where patients reside for a period of time while receiving 24-hour care and support in their recovery. Counseling is a major part of most treatment programs. Patients who have struggled with alcohol abuse in the past are likely to benefit from inpatient alcohol abuse counseling; constant supervision makes it more difficult to slip up, and patients have access to their counselors whenever they need help, day or night.
Aspects of Alcohol Abuse Counseling Programs
In most alcohol abuse counseling programs, clients must undergo a period of detox before they can enter into counseling. Going through detox to clear one’s system of chemicals and alcohol ensures that a patient is in his right mind when going into treatment, and it provides a clean slate for counselors and patients to work with.
For any addict, extensive behavior modification therapy is often necessary. The goal of cognitive-behavioral treatment in alcohol abuse counseling is to change the alcoholic’s views and attitudes towards alcohol, towards drinking it, and towards abusing it. When an alcoholic becomes aware of how his addiction effects him and those around him, the counselor works with him to change his unhealthy behaviors and replace them with healthier habits that are conducive to sober living.
All alcohol abuse counseling programs will have different views and rules on the use of medication. But for recovering alcoholics in counseling, medication may be necessary to repair the mental and physical damage that alcohol abuse has caused. Medication can also be used to ease the symptoms of withdrawal in the early stages of recovery.
Because alcoholism effects so many people in a person’s life, alcohol abuse counseling may be more effective when a counselor opts to include an alcoholic’s family members during certain sessions. Often this is for the benefit of the family as well as the addict; family members can say their peace to the alcoholic in a safe and caring environment, and they can then work on building trust and repairing relationships with the counselor present. It helps for addicts to know how their actions have effected their families, while being able to share their own feelings and goals for sobriety with those they have hurt.
Moving Forward with Alcohol Abuse Counseling Programs
Many people believe that recovering alcoholics will never really be “cured” of alcoholism, but that they will have the status of “recovering” for the rest of their lives. Whatever the case, alcohol abuse counseling programs should be the starting point and an ongoing ending point of treatment for alcoholism. Counseling will give patients the motivation and confidence they need to get sober, and it will give them the skills and tools they’ll need in order to stay that way. Alcohol abuse counseling should be an ongoing part of the recovery process, in order to ensure that addictive personalities stay on a sober path and continue to grow and change in a healthy, positive way.