My Counseling Perspective
From my counseling experience and from my personal recovery, I came to realize that alcohol and other drugs are used as a way to cope with various life stressors and emotional pain. Over time, use progresses to abuse and then to dependence/addiction. At some point, addicts become aware that drug/alcohol use is not only ineffective at numbing their pain, but it's causing all kinds of negative consequences.
Many therapists work with people to help them to examine their past, to look at what was happening in their lives that lead them to turn to alcohol and other drugs for relief. As a Certified Substance Abuse Counselor, my role is to help people with drug and alcohol problems to look at what's going on in the present so that they can find ways to deal with life without using substances.
I believe that everyone has the ability to be healthy and thrive. A skilled counselor can help and guide people to find answers within themselves. From finding and using their own inner resources they make changes that improve their quality of life.
Working as a Certified Prevention Specialist, I have helped families and communities to apply effective, evidence-based substance abuse prevention principles. There is now a body of knowledge about factors and conditions that make it more likely for substance abuse to occur. There are also factors that make problem behaviors like substance abuse less likely to develop.
Preventing substance abuse is much like the prevention of other negative conditions like heart disease. We know from research that there are factors such as high blood pressure, smoking, being overweight, and having family history that make heart problems more likely to occur. We also know that healthy eating and regular exercise make it less likely for heart disease to develop.
Prevention counseling helps parents to find ways to lower the known factors that make substance abuse more likely to occur in their children. They can also learn strategies and behaviors that will help buffer their children from the risks they experience in their living environment.