You need to know a few things before we get too far into a conversation about my approach to psychotherapy and drugs and alcohol. First off, I’m not a prude. It’s unlikely you’re into anything with regard to drugs or alcohol that will startle me. Further, I’m not quick to draw conclusions about the significance of drug and alcohol use (including illegal drug use). If we want to build a create context for alcohol and drug treatment, we have to look carefully at the impact of drug and alcohol use in your life and decide what’s working and isn’t working for you.
All of that said, drug and alcohol use can get out of hand.
Where is the line after which I need some sort of alcohol and drug treatment?
I get asked that a lot. I suspect that most often, the patient asking the question is expecting a drug and alcohol therapist-led survey of the frequency and quantity of his or her drug or alcohol use, some questions about context (Do you drink alone or in the morning? for example) and consequences (How has this affected your personal relationships?) and then, like a life-insurance formulary, I’ll issue my verdict.
It’s not that these questions aren’t important (and I won’t promise I won’t ask any of them) but I don’t think getting help with drug and alcohol problems is all that simple. Yes, there are countless formulas, but I’m not interested in formulaic therapy, including for drug and alcohol treatment, and, if you’ve read this far, you’re probably not either.
None of that should be interpreted as a denial of the serious trouble many people get into with drugs and alcohol.
In discussing your drug and alcohol use we may decide you want to cut back or make a change in what this use looks like; we may decide there’s a more serious problem that warrants giving up drinking or drug use; we may decide that the process needs to involve a medical doctor and/ or outpatient or inpatient drug treatment. We will certainly look at drug and alcohol use in the context of your life and your overall emotional development. Whatever the outcome, however, I can promise we won’t get there as the result of any formula.