Addiction By Michael Peila NCC, LPC,

Happy September!!!

I’m Mike, a therapist at Owens & Associates, and we are entering my favorite time of year…autumn! Not only do I love the cooler weather (Hoodies!), but it begins with a month dedicated to addiction awareness and recovery; a topic very near and dear to me. Being aware of addictive thoughts and behaviors without justifying the use of the substance is the first step toward freedom (recovery) from the ties that have been created. Quite often, what starts as a means of relief from stress, sadness, fear, or just boredom becomes a “go to” coping skill that eventually turns into a “need”.  Unfortunately, this “need” can tend to be taken very lightly and the individual can easily become increasingly dependent on it. This is the typical beginnings for many addictions, and especially when it comes to alcohol. Due to the it being socially acceptable in many environments, use becomes abuse very easily with some and it can lead to dependence with that individual saying to themselves “how did I get to this point?”.

Of course, addiction comes in a variety of forms and can look very different depending on various perspectives. However, the core concepts ring true across the board. Do you often think about it when not using it? Do you crave it more as time goes by? Do you go out of your way to use it? Do you find yourself justifying the use more often? Are you finding yourself choosing it over things that used to mean more to you? Compulsive use? Continued use despite harm? No matter the substance: nicotine, alcohol, marijuana, food, sex, etc. the list goes on… what used to be a retreat, escape, or just method of coping with a tough day often turns into a prison of its own.  This is the reason more than 70% of individuals struggling with addiction also struggle with another mental health issue (anxiety, depression, post-trauma, etc.). Re-centering thoughts and behaviors by building a different perspective of the substance use/abuse while building healthier coping skills to confront cravings is a proven path toward long term recovery. However, it all begins with self-awareness! The longer we justify the use/abuse, the longer we stay captive!

To find out more about Addiction and how to manage your addiction Call Owens & Associates at 847-854-4333