There are no counselors providing this service at Mill Creek, so we are displaying counselors working at some of our other locations.
Are you a regular drug user who has tried to stop, but can’t give up the habit? Do you drink alcohol even though it makes you anxious or depressed? Has substance abuse isolated you from your loved ones? Chemical addiction is a complex physical and psychological condition in which a person cannot control his or her use of potentially harmful substances. This is a serious, sometimes fatal, condition that alters brain chemistry, and requires both medical and psychological intervention.
The term ‘chemical dependency’ normally refers to drug addiction and alcoholism. Some of the most common drug addictions include stimulants (for example, cocaine and amphetamines) and opiates (such as heroin, morphine, and methadone). Though there are fewer stigmas associated with alcohol abuse, serious alcoholic dependency can be just as lethal as drug addiction. Persons who abuse and depend on drugs and/or alcohol are using these substances to self-medicate for deeper problems. Overcoming the physical addiction begins with addressing the underlying psychological issues which led to developing the dependency.
Breaking the cycle of chemical dependency can be extremely difficult, but recovering from your addiction will change your life and restore you to health and freedom. Counseling is an integral part of addiction recovery because it helps to get at the underlying issues that led to dependency in the first place. In the safe, productive space of a counseling room, you can explore the deeper issues which drove you to substance abuse, and a professional counselor can help you discern the emotional, psychological, spiritual, and biological factors of your addiction.
It is no secret that addiction has a profound effect on relationships. Shame, paranoia, and depression can all be consequences of chemical abuse, and these can drive an addict to isolate themselves from others. It is also not uncommon for addicts to form codependent relationships with others. In relationships where one person suffers from chemical dependency, the codependent partner can easily become the addict’s enabler.
I was recently speaking at an event for marriage and family therapy students and emerging professionals. It was the kind of event where students could meet others in the field who have gone in a variety of different directions and ask any questions they might have.
Some students asked about the various job opportunities available, some about how to handle the emotional stress. One question directed towards me, though, stood out. As I had been hosting the event, I previously introduced myself multiple times and touched on my own line of work. Besides working at Seattle Christian Counseling, I work in a community mental health setting, working mostly with people with substance abuse issues. The question brought to me inquired about my language, “people with substance abuse issues.”
“I noticed you never said you work with alcoholics or addicts. Why is that? Is there something that’s changing about the language in the field?” the current student asked me.
See, she is currently a chemical dependency professional branching out into the marriage and family therapy field. Her experience has been working with addicts and alcoholics, and that’s how she has always referred to the people with whom she worked.
She asked me about the use of my “person first” language, which cued me off that she already had some further understanding about where I was coming from. I went on to explain that whether for chemical dependency issues, or for mental health issues (another topic for...Read More
“The Bible says, ‘Do not get drunk…’”
“Addiction is not a disease. That’s just a cop out.”
“If you’re really a Christian, you won’t have problems with drugs or alcohol.”
As a Christian growing up in the church, I have heard these statements made by many. It is very easy to cast judgment on something with which we do not struggle ourselves. Many people who become addicted to substances never intended their lifes to take that path. In my experience with addiction counseling, I’ve never met an addict or alcoholic who intended to become a junkie or a drunk. The church continually fails people who struggle with addiction by marginalizing them even more. The above statements are not an invitation to find healing and recovery, but are packed full of judgment and condemnation.
Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary defines disease as a condition of a living animal or plant body, or of one of its parts. It impairs normal functioning and is typically manifested by distinguishing signs and symptoms.
The two phrases that are important here are “impairs normal functioning” and “distinguishing signs and symptoms.” Alcoholism and drug addiction clearly impair normal functioning in the majority of those who suffer from them. Blackouts, stumbling, slurring speech, and missing work or other responsibilities are all signs of impairment and inhibit regular functioning. Addiction also has very distinct signs and symptoms. According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders 5, there are 11 symptoms or signs. These...Read More
We all know how powerful addictions can be. Despite the best will in the world, the decisions that we make to stop engaging in harmful activities all too often come to nothing. This is because the decisions that we make do not reflect our true desires.
In my previous article I explained how our decisions and our desires are located in two different parts of the brain. This means that, while we may decide to stop a particular activity, we often don’t really want to stop it and so will continue doing it. Our desires are rooted in that part of the brain that we call the heart, and these two parts have become alienated from one another, making us double-minded. If we are to genuinely change our actions, we need to deal with our desires. Our problems with addiction will not be resolved by making rational decisions, but can only be resolved by a genuine change of heart.
Overcoming our addictions by changing our desires is hard work and This takes some sweat. While running a marathon is really tough, at least it’s straightforward. However, reconnecting with those rewarding feelings that you may have said “yes” to , many times, and then rejecting them as you turn your back on them, is much more difficult. Yet this is what the Bible means when it calls us to a change of heart. James 4:9 calls us to “purify our hearts”...Read More