Most people agree that changing long-standing habits of any kind is tough. Maybe it’s that chocolate bar you can’t seem to avoid after dinner each night, or those extra episodes on Netflix that seem to keep you in a constant state of sleep deprivation.
Whatever it is, it’s going to be even harder to change if you’re dealing with an inherently addictive substance. So, when we’re looking to change our behaviors around drugs and alcohol, we’re talking about tough work.
For some people, the effects of substance use are obvious, seeping into every area of their lives in the form of financial stress, legal issues, health conditions, family arguments, and job loss.
While others carry on with lives that look mostly put together on the outside but are tortured with internal chaos in the form of bottled-up emotions and a nagging feeling that something needs to change.
The good news is that regardless of where you fall on the continuum, it IS possible to tackle substance use issues and the turmoil that they’ve created. And finding the right support is the first step.
Finding the right support.
Often when people bring up their substance use concerns with friends or family, one of the first questions people might ask is:
“Well, what does your doctor say you should do?”
Starting with your General Practitioner (GP) or Family Doctor seems like a great first step, but the unfortunate reality is that many physicians simply don’t have the necessary knowledge, training, or familiarity with emerging treatment options when it comes to substance use concerns and addiction. ¹ ²
This isn’t to say you should withhold your substance use concerns from your doctor – you should absolutely tell them. It’s just intended to set realistic expectations. If nothing else, they can certainly help monitor some of the physical issues that often arise from heavy substance use. Depending on your situation they may want to keep an eye on your liver enzymes, blood pressure levels, and other key biometrics.
Some GPs have a good amount of experience and are able to provide some great resources. Others are limited to offering generic literature and handouts covering some clinical definitions that are easily Googled that may have been before any doctor visit.
The thing to remember with addiction and substance misuse is that there’s usually a whole lot more than a physical or chemical issue at play. Substance use disorders often develop as a means of coping with difficult emotions and are steeped in long-standing personal habits that require a lot of work to untangle and address properly.
So, this begs the question, where should you turn for more comprehensive support when you have substance use concerns?
Triaging your needs with a Recovery Coach.
A Recovery Coach, or Sober Coach, is an excellent place to start when you have substance use concerns.
As specialists, they are excellent at assessing your immediate needs and helping you understand what type of support will be best for you each step of the way. After an initial intake appointment, they might decide recovery coaching alone will be sufficient for your needs.
Or, if you’ve become physically dependent on substances, they can help coordinate and arrange for medical detox and inpatient treatment before you begin recovery coaching.
And still for others they might be able to provide therapy or counselling to address underlying emotional concerns in tandem with recovery coaching. And this is what we offer at EMBRACE New Life / Counseling & Wellness.
The road to recovery is rarely the same for any two people, and it’s helpful to have someone with personal and professional experience to help you piece together a plan that is best suited for you and your life.