Recovery from addiction is a difficult path as clients with alcohol issues often don’t see their own pattern of substance use or are ambivalent about seeking help. However, addiction counsellors are trained to enhance motivation and elicit some degree of willingness to change.
The role of an addictions counsellor involves providing a space for clients to talk openly about their struggles, to de-stigmatize the issue, to diffuse shame and promote openness. Equally the addiction counsellor will guide through the often challenging recovery process, including relapse, to make a recovery protection plan, to learn from relapses. Clients together with their addiction counsellor will explore relapse warning signs, relapse prevention, dealing with high risk situations and what to do about cravings and triggers. Addictions counselor’s tasks are to encourage healthier of life-style choices, teach grounding skills, mindfulness exercises, exploring spirituality and how to have fun sober!
Addiction counsellors often will consider the greater context of a person’s life and will help client to explore any underlying health issues, issues of domestic violence, vocational barreness, meaning and purpose, and of course sometimes trauma.
It is important to make connections the community and a counsellor in the field of substance use can present different treatment options (for example day detox, detox, treatment, out patient treatment) and help the client to make the best choice for their lives. Ongoing support through Alcoholics Anonymous (or NA) or SMART in the community adds another level of support which will increase chances of success, as will connection to culture, churches or other spiritual communities.
Addiction counsellors can educate families about substance use recovery and the complexity of the road to recovery. They can encourage families or loved one to engage in their own recovery process by developing boundaries and self-care skills.