Am I spending too much on alcohol?
Am I addicted to drugs?
I just have a few drinks to relax. That's ok, right?
Do I have a drinking problem?
I don't want to go to drug treatment. What are my options?
Maybe your partner or spouse has told you you have a problem but you don't think so. Perhaps you start your day with some ibuprofen, a hangover, and anxiety. You might be spending more time and money using than you want to.
Or you may just be looking for someone to talk through these things who doesn't have their own agenda.
You are far from alone!!!
The most recent data from the US Centers for Disease Control in 2018 reveals more than half of all Americans consumed alcohol in the last month, while sixteen percent of adults reported binge drinking and slightly over 7 percent endorsed problem drinking. More than 2.3 million Pennsylvanians reported binge drinking, which is having 5+ drinks for men or 4+ drinks for women at a time. In addition, 18 percent of US residents reported using a non-prescribed drug, or intentionally taking a prescription drug more than prescribed. And less than 1 out of 20 people who needed substance use counseling received it.
But there is good news...
empty wine bottle laying on its side with bottom and stem of wine glass
Meeting with a curious, non-shaming, experienced therapist can help you sort out the kind of relationship you want to have with alcohol or drugs in your life... without having to go to drug treatment or rehab.
Working together in counseling, we can answer your questions about the role alcohol or drugs play in your life. I predominantly work from a harm reduction orientation, which means I don't have any preconceived notions about the best path for you. After exploring the roles of substance use in their lives, some people choose to reduce their use, to use in less chaotic or risky ways, or even to stop altogether--also referred to as abstinence.
I help people explore the functions of behaviors like drinking too much or using drugs more than they want. Together we discover reasons behind substance use, alternative ways to approach those circumstances, and ultimately strategize about what role you want alcohol or drugs to play in your life. You try it out in the world outside therapy and see what happens, then report back and we figure out what's next.
You don't have to be committed to making a change, only to exploring the positive and negative impacts of your behaviors on the quality of your life. My ultimate goal is to help you feel less anxiety and more comfortable and confident with your choices so that you can experience increased peace and freedom in each moment.
No, you don't have to. Some people find the step work and fellowship of AA or NA to be helpful for them. Others find it to be a poor fit for them. There are many other options to find community if you want more support outside of counseling.
Some people do find that the controlled environment of inpatient or residential drug treatment works best to "hit the reset button". The down side to rehab, though, is you still have to come home and learn how to apply the skills and techniques you learned in rehab in "natural habitat", which can cause a lot of anxiety for some people. Getting counseling at home can help you start to apply tools and ways of thinking in the places you have problems without the disruption of rehab.
I get you. I'm an intensely private person and feeling anxiety about not wanting other people to have information about me definitely has gotten in my own way of getting healthcare and help when I needed it.
(Un)fortunately, most of the insurance panels in our area are closed to new providers, so I couldn't bill insurance if I wanted to, which means no paper trail for counseling.
I meet with people via telehealth, meaning video or voice call, so you get to choose where you feel most comfortable (or the least uncomfortable) when we meet.
We can also talk which payment and communication methods would help you feel more comfortable. And unlike going to drug treatment, we have choices about what sort of documentation is required (within reasonable and legal limits of me having a social work license).
How much do you spend on your booze, pills, coke, or cannabis each month? Would you be willing to reallocate a portion toward counseling that ultimately will help you feel better, not just for a few hours, but for good? I've helped people with something called an "honest monthly budget" that includes income from less-accepted forms of income, so if you feel anxiety about the cost of therapy, we can talk about that, too.
If you have a flexible spending account pre-tax benefit through your employer, my services as an LCSW are fully reimbursable up to the amount you have in your account. I'm happy to give you a statement for this purpose.
I recently read that it takes an average of seven times for people to view information before taking action on it. Talking to a total stranger about BIG PERSONAL STUFF can be a big "Nope. Not gonna do that" kind of moment.
I'm fond of letting clients know that I have enough challenges managing my own life, so I'm in no position to take on yours as well. Plus, I've had my share of "another freaking growth opportunity" moments (except I didn't say "freaking"). People repeatedly tell me they find me to be non-judgmental, kind, and humorous in a way that helps them feel at ease. Worst case scenario, we have a little chat and decide it's not the right fit.
Shame keeps us stuck.
I invite you to try a different approach to make sense of what you're doing and what purpose it serves. Let's explore goals that can range from decreasing chaos and negative outcomes to creating and sustaining the quality of life that you want and deserve.