Do You Avoid Facing The Challenging Aspects Of Your Life?
Do you have trouble feeling attached to your relationships, work, or accomplishments? Is it common for you to feel the need to numb difficult or overwhelming emotions? Or are you avoiding painful elements of your past that you’d rather not face?
If any of these questions apply to you, it’s possible that you use substances or numbing agents—such as alcohol, drugs, gambling, exercise, pornography, and even work—to keep yourself from feeling the pain of your life experiences. It may be that the more you use, the more you need in order to numb yourself.
Perhaps you’re highly functional in most areas of your life, which may prohibit you from seeing the impact of self-medicating. You may appear professional and poised when you arrive for work every day, only to unravel in scenes of chaos and disorganization when you return to your “behind-the-scenes” life.
This behavior may contribute to your role as a social chameleon—you’re likely very good at becoming whoever your audience needs you to be. You may also be a thrill seeker or adrenaline junkie, drawn to experiences that are adventurous, risky, and sometimes dangerous. Or perhaps you’re in the later stages of addiction, and self-destructive behavior has become an everyday norm.
Maybe those closest to you often complain that you’re disconnected, detached, or a narcissist. It may feel unnatural or awkward for you to engage with even your closest loved ones without the use of a numbing agent. Perhaps despite your worry that you’re disappointing your partner, parents, or friends, you can’t seem to change your behaviors.
Surely, there are accomplishments in your life for which you should be proud. But it may feel as though nothing you achieve brings you any relief, feeling of success, or sense of intimacy. You probably think that you’re the problem, when in fact it’s your addictive behavior.
In counseling, however, you can better understand the impact that substance abuse has had on your life so that you can begin the process of healing.
America Is In The Midst Of A Numbing Crisis
Substance abuse and addiction have wide-reaching implications in our society. It is estimated that of the 21 million Americans who struggle with at least one form of addiction or substance abuse, only 10 percent receive treatment. Not to mention, the opioid crisis in this country continues to escalate.
There are any number of reasons why individuals fall into numbing patterns and behaviors. However, a primary cause is that our culture does not encourage the healthy processing or expression of emotions. For instance, men in this country are expected to be providers and, by nature, not have any needs themselves. Boys have been conditioned from a young age that asking for help or expressing needs is too emotionally vulnerable for a population that is meant to have a strong and stoic exterior.
As a result, many of us—men especially—end up numbing or medicating feelings that have become too intense or difficult to face. So, we look to substances, such as alcohol, opioids, or other drugs, as well as gambling, gaming, exercise, or even work to provide us with a sense of relief. Unfortunately, these numbing agents only mask the source of our discomfort, ultimately creating a never-ending pattern of systemic pain and substance abuse.
The truth is that trauma usually lies at the core of addictive behaviors. If we suffered from neglect, abuse, emotional unavailability, or perfectionism from an early age, then we likely have held onto lifelong wounds that we’re seeking to numb. Moreover, if addictive or numbing behaviors were modeled to us as children, it’s very likely we will develop similar, maladaptive means of coping.
Your need to numb is merely the symptom of the underlying problem. In substance abuse counseling, you can begin to see how past pains have adversely affected you so that you may create a healthier and more sustainable future.
Counseling Allows You To Understand And Resolve Problems Created By Substance Abuse
Having a drink or going to the gym to decompress is not necessarily a problematic behavior. Yet, when that need to numb begins to affect your work, relationships, and daily life, that’s when it may be time to consider getting help.
Our clinicians at Fort Mill Psychotherapy are professional, nonjudgmental, and empathetic counselors who will work hard to help you understand the disease of addiction and how it’s impacting your daily life. Because our approach to substance abuse treatment targets the core wound, your need to numb uncomfortable feelings or emotions can be eliminated.
After you contact our intake coordinator, you will be asked to answer some questions to ensure that our counseling services will meet your needs. Using the information provided, we will match you with one of our clinicians—often within the same week—so that you can begin substance abuse counseling.
We take a client-centered approach to substance abuse treatment that allows us to first understand how certain numbing behaviors became the effective coping mechanisms for the trauma endured. Once we understand, we can begin to create a support system that allows us to create some stabilization first, eventually bridging the gap to deeper trauma work.
As momentum in treatment builds, you will begin to see roadmaps for your relationships with yourself and others take shape. Drawing from the foundational principles of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, we will help you to see that while you may crave a better relationship with an external person or entity, that will never be possible until you can first establish a loving and healthy relationship with yourself. From there, you can begin to recognize that you are the only one who can fix the problems created by numbing and substance abuse.
Though you will learn a lot about the impact of addiction through psychological principles, substance abuse counseling will also incorporate various therapies to target and heal your trauma. Treatment may include motivational interviewing techniques, behavioral therapies, mindfulness, and narrative or reality approaches that center around thought distortions. These are all evidence-based methods used for treating addictions, and our clinicians approach treatment with the ultimate goal of healing rather than judging.
We understand that in order to heal, we have to feel. The pain caused by trauma is what you have been numbing, and by allowing us to support you in a safe relationship without judgment and blame, you can begin to heal.
Recovery is always possible! Substance abuse counseling can provide you with collaboration, support, and encouragement in your healing journey and help you see that a life free of chaos and the never-ending need to numb is within your reach.
Perhaps you’re considering treatment for substance abuse, but you have some concerns…
I can just quit on my own—I have done it before.
If you feel like you don’t need support in quitting a substance, we encourage you to consider why you believe you must do this hard work on your own. Individuals suffering from cancer or other physical ailments are not expected to be treated in isolation, so what makes your struggle any different? All diseases should be treated with interpersonal compassion, love, and care—and that includes addiction.
I have a job, money, a family; I don’t need counseling for addiction.
At Fort Mill Psychotherapy, we will help you to understand that addiction is an entity that has become separate from you and taken over certain aspects of your life. Though you may think that your recipe for success—a job, money, and a family—indicates that your substance abuse is not an issue, if there is a consistent need to numb, it’s likely that a drive to use is getting stronger than you are.
I can’t afford substance abuse treatment.
We acknowledge that counseling for substance abuse can often be a big investment. However, you wouldn’t be considering counseling unless you recognized that aspects of your addiction have become invasive or intolerable. You likely have spent a lot of money investing in your addiction—maybe it’s time to start using that money to invest in yourself instead. After all, you are worth it.
You Can Learn To Face Life Without The Need To Numb Your Feelings
If your need to medicate intense feelings has adversely impacted your daily life and relationships, substance abuse counseling at The Healing Collective can help you recover. To learn more about how we can help, visit our contact page.