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What Is the Role of the Counselor in Addiction Recovery?
The treatment of addiction is a long road, and addiction recovery is an ongoing process. It is vitally important, though, to know how crucial it is to overcome addiction. According to the Center for Disease Control, nearly 70,000 deaths occurred in the United States in 2018 due to drug overdose. That is almost 200 people every day. This statistic is for drug overdose only and excludes deaths related to other addictions.
Getting treatment for addiction is the first step towards a healthier, less destructive life. Once you have been treated, you need to develop a good plan for managing your recovery, which can help with an addiction counselor.
Addiction recovery requires more than treatment
While it would be nice if a single treatment was enough to cure a patient’s problems, that is not the way addiction works. This problem has many facets, mental, physical and biochemical. Successful recovery is often dependent on patients crafting a new path and a new focus in life to replace the behavioral patterns of the addiction.
A great analogy for this is to consider an oil change. When a vehicle owner gets an oil change, the old, bad oil is removed. However, if nothing is added to the engine to replace the old oil, the engine is going to break down anyway. Similarly, if people dealing with addiction get treatment but do not make any life changes, the chance of relapse is more likely.
Develop a plan to avoid relapse
Addiction counselors’ main purpose in recovery is to help patients avoid relapse by finding a support system and a new purpose in life. Counselors want patients to grow beyond the addiction used to define them.
Hold them accountable
Being held accountable is of paramount importance to addiction recovery. Counselors routinely question patient's urges, how they handled them and if any relapses have occurred.
Find support groups
Another way a counselor assists in recovery is by encouraging the patient to seek a support group. Sometimes this comes in the form of group sessions led by the counselor with other patients facing the same type of addiction. Other times it can be referring them to an organization that assists with recovery (e.g. Narcotics Anonymous or Alcoholics Anonymous).
Develop family support
For many recovering addicts, dealing with family can be a struggle. Often family members do not know how to support loved ones and some even choose to ignore the problem. Counselors often meet with patient's families to discuss ways to lend support and encourage them on the road to recovery.
If you are dealing with addiction or have just completed treatment and are in addiction recovery mode, do not try to do it alone. It can help to enlist the aid of a counselor to support you every step of the way and make sure you have all the tools you need to be successful.
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