Rebuilding Lives: Addiction Counselling.

Do you feel like your life has spiralled out of control?

Whether it’s gambling, alcohol, sex, shopping, exercise, social media, pornography, or any other addictive behaviour, we all face moments when our behaviours seem to take over. It’s essential to recognise that these patterns may be signs of an addiction.

But here’s the thing: there are ways out of this seemingly tangled mess. You can regain control, find sobriety, and live a life that’s not just free from addiction but also filled with happiness and fulfilment. Any learned behaviour can be unlearned.

In this journey to a better life, addiction counselling can be your compass, helping you navigate the challenges and offering support every step of the way. So, if you’re ready to break free from the grip of addiction and embark on a path towards a brighter future, I’m here to help you get started and reach your goal.

I have six years of face-to-face experience working with several addictions and a further 16 years of working online with people with every kind of addiction.

Many kinds of addictions.

An addiction is when you can’t stop doing something that’s not good for you, like using drugs, drinking too much, gambling, watching too much adult content, or spending too much time on social media. Sometimes, you might not even realise it’s a problem until it gets really bad. Often, it’s the people close to you, like family or friends, who notice it first. But there’s hope, and that’s where addiction counselling comes in.

Addiction counselling is like having a guide who knows how to help you with your specific problem. It’s not just for drugs or alcohol; it can also be for other things like gambling or spending too much time online. Lots of things can cause addiction, like our genes, our bodies, the people we hang out with, or when we feel like we’ve lost control of our lives.

You know something’s an addiction when it messes up your daily life, like your job, your career, or your relationships. If it’s making it hard to live your life the way you want to, it’s probably an addiction. That’s when addiction counselling can really help.

Addictions often happen because there’s something else going on in your life that’s bothering you. We call this the “underlying issue.” This is especially true with alcohol addiction. Alcohol can make you feel better for a little while, but it also causes its own set of problems.

Alcohol addiction counselling is great because it looks at both the physical and emotional parts of the addiction. Alcohol can help you forget your pain, but it can also make things worse in the long run. It can make you physically and mentally dependent on it, and it can lead to health problems.

Some people use other medicines or drugs to block out pain too. If you’re doing this, it’s important to get help from someone who knows about addiction, like an addiction counselor. They can help you find better ways to cope with your pain and move towards a healthier, happier life.

Wondering if you might have an addiction? Here are some signs to look out for:

Cravings: Do you often find yourself craving a substance or activity that’s hard to resist?

Loss of Control: Have you tried to cut down or stop, but you can’t seem to control your use or behaviour?

Neglecting Responsibilities: Are your addiction-related activities causing you to neglect important responsibilities at work, school, or home?

Withdrawal Symptoms: Do you experience physical or emotional discomfort when you try to stop or reduce your engagement in addictive behaviour?

Increased Tolerance: Do you need more of the substance or activity to achieve the desired effect over time?

Spending a Lot of Time: Are you spending a significant amount of time obtaining, using, or recovering from the addiction?

Loss of Interest: Have you lost interest in activities you used to enjoy because of your addiction?

Continued Use Despite Consequences: Even if you’re facing negative consequences like health problems, legal issues, or relationship conflicts, do you keep using or engaging in the addictive behaviour?

Secrecy and Deception: Are you hiding your addiction or lying about the extent of your involvement?

Failed Attempts to Quit: Have you made unsuccessful attempts to quit or cut back on your addictive behaviour?

If you find yourself nodding along to several of these signs, it’s possible that you may have an addiction. It’s essential to seek help and support from a professional, counsellor, or support group if you suspect you have an addiction. They can provide guidance, assessment, and a path towards recovery and a healthier life. Remember, seeking help is a courageous and important step towards regaining control and well-being.

Physical addiction is when your body and mind get used to something, like a drug or a habit, and if you suddenly stop, you feel really sick. This can be like a bad flu, and it’s called withdrawal.

Some things, like opioids (strong painkillers), benzodiazepines (anxiety medicines), barbiturates, alcohol, and nicotine, are known for causing strong physical dependence. It’s like your body gets used to having them, and if you stop, you feel really unwell.

Other things, like cortisone (a medicine for inflammation), beta-blockers (used for heart problems), and most antidepressants, can also cause physical dependence, but they’re not usually seen as addictive.

In addiction, at first, it’s about feeling good when you use the substance or do the thing. But over time, it can become more about stopping yourself from feeling bad when you don’t use it. This makes you want to do it all the time, almost like you can’t help it.

An example is smoking. Some people say they enjoy a cigarette, but it’s mainly because they need it to stop feeling sick from not having it. This strong need for nicotine can make it tough to quit.

Even though many smokers try to quit every year, most find it really hard to stay smoke-free. It’s not just about liking it; it’s about needing it to feel okay.

Some substances can make your body get used to them without making you addicted, like certain laxatives (to help with digestion) or nasal decongestants (for stuffy noses). But there are some medicines, like certain antidepressants, that you should never stop suddenly. Always talk to a doctor before you do.

But here’s the good news: if you think you might have an addiction, there’s help available. Addiction counselling is a way to talk to someone who knows how to help you get better. They can help you figure out why you feel this way and give you ways to stop the addiction.

You don’t have to do this alone. Many people have found support to beat addiction and live a healthier, happier life. Reach out to an experienced addiction counselor—they’re  here to guide you on your path to recovery.

Psychological addiction is when your mind becomes really dependent on something, and if you stop, you start feeling bad in your head. This can make you want it so badly that you can’t think about anything else.

Sometimes it’s linked to a part of your brain that gives you a good feeling, like when you eat something tasty or get a reward. For example, drugs like cocaine and amphetamines work this way.

Some people say that addiction is like a habit. It’s like doing something over and over to avoid doing things you don’t want to do. But usually, it gets to be a big problem when it messes up your feelings, your relationships, or your life.

People can be hooked on something in their mind and in their body at the same time. Some doctors don’t make a big difference between the two because the result is the same—you’re stuck on something.

But the reasons behind each type of addiction are different, and so is the way to fix it. Addiction can be about substances like drugs or alcohol, but it can also be about things you do, like gambling, using the internet too much, sex, watching too much adult stuff, eating too much, hurting yourself, causing damage, or working too much.

Think of an addiction as something you’ve learned to do over a long period of time. But the good news is, just like you can learn it, you can also unlearn it and change it. Many people have beaten bad addictions or habits and made their lives better with the help of an addiction counsellor or life coach. You don’t have to go through it alone, and you can make things better.

If you think you might have an addiction, there are steps you can take to start getting better:

recognise It: First, admit to yourself that you have a problem. It’s the first and most crucial step.

Seek Support: Talk to someone you trust about it—a friend, family member, or counsellor. You don’t have to go through it alone.

Professional Help: Consider seeing a professional, like an addiction counsellor or therapist. They’re experts at helping people with addiction.

Support Groups: Join a support group. There are many groups for different types of addiction, and they can provide understanding and guidance.

Make a Plan: Work with a professional to create a plan to overcome your addiction. This plan might include therapy, medication, or lifestyle changes.

Avoid Triggers: Try to stay away from situations or people that trigger your addiction.

Stay Patient: Recovery takes time. Don’t be too hard on yourself if you have setbacks. Keep moving forward.

Healthy Habits: Replace your addiction with healthy habits and hobbies. Exercise, eat well, and find activities you enjoy.

Stay Connected: Maintain healthy relationships with friends and family. They can be a source of support.

Celebrate Progress: Acknowledge your achievements, no matter how small. It’s a reminder of your journey.

Remember, it’s okay to ask for help, and it’s never too late to start your path to recovery. You have the strength to overcome addiction and lead a healthier, happier life.

Preventing a relapse is an important part of your journey to recovery. Here are some strategies to help you stay on track:

Stay Connected: Maintain a support system. Keep in touch with friends, family, or a support group. Share your feelings and concerns.

Identify Triggers: recognise the people, places, or situations that may tempt you to return to your addiction. Avoid or manage these triggers.

Healthy Habits: Focus on a healthy lifestyle. Eat well, exercise regularly, and get enough sleep. A strong body can help maintain a strong mind.

Mindfulness and Stress Management: Learn stress-reduction techniques like deep breathing, meditation, or yoga. Managing stress can prevent relapse.

Set Goals: Establish clear, achievable goals for yourself. Having a sense of purpose can keep you motivated.

Hobbies and Interests: Engage in activities you enjoy. Hobbies and interests can replace the time and energy you used to spend on your addiction.

Counselling or Therapy: Continue with counselling or therapy sessions, even after you’ve made progress. Regular check-ins can help you stay on course.

Avoid Overconfidence: Be aware of overconfidence. Don’t assume you’re immune to relapse. Stay vigilant.

Self-Care: Prioritise self-care. Treat yourself with kindness and patience. Celebrate your successes, and don’t be too hard on yourself for setbacks.

Emergency Plan: Have a plan in case of cravings or moments of weakness. Know who to call or where to go for immediate support.

Learn from Relapses: If you do relapse, don’t view it as a failure. Learn from it and use it as motivation to continue your recovery journey.

Regular Check-Ins: Periodically review your progress with a therapist or counselor. This can help you catch potential issues before they become relapse triggers.

Positive Support: Surround yourself with people who support your recovery and understand your goals.

Remember, relapse is a common part of the recovery process for many people. It’s not a sign of failure but rather an opportunity to learn and grow. With determination and the right support system, you can prevent relapse and continue on your path to a healthier, addiction-free life.

If you suspect or know that someone you care about has an addiction, here’s how you can offer support and help:

Express Concern: Approach them with care and express your concern. Let them know that you’re worried about their well-being.

Listen Non-Judgmentally: Be a good listener. Let them talk about their feelings and experiences without judgment. This can help them feel understood.

Educate Yourself: Learn about their specific addiction and its effects. Knowledge can help you better understand what they’re going through.

Encourage Professional Help: Suggest that they seek professional help, such as addiction counselling or therapy. Offer to help them find resources or accompany them to appointments.

Support, Don’t Enable: Offer your support, but avoid enabling their addiction. This means not helping them obtain or use the addictive substance.

Set Boundaries: Establish clear boundaries to protect yourself and others from any harmful behaviour associated with their addiction.

Avoid Blame: Avoid blaming or shaming them for their addiction. Addiction is a complex issue with various factors involved.

Offer Practical Assistance: Help with practical tasks like finding treatment centres, attending support group meetings, or providing transportation.

Stay Connected: Maintain open lines of communication. Let them know you’re there for them, even if they don’t seek help right away.

Be Patient: Recovery takes time, and there may be setbacks. Be patient and supportive throughout their journey.

Self-Care: Take care of your own well-being. Supporting someone with an addiction can be emotionally challenging, so make sure you have your own support system.

Interventions: In some cases, an intervention may be necessary. This involves a carefully planned conversation with the person and a professional interventionist.

Know the Emergency Steps: If their addiction poses an immediate threat to their safety or others, be prepared to take emergency steps, such as calling 911 or seeking medical help.

Remember that, ultimately, the decision to seek help and recover from addiction is up to the individual. Your role is to offer support, understanding, and resources to assist them on their path to recovery.

Addiction counselling is a type of professional support and therapy specifically designed to help individuals who are struggling with addiction. It’s a structured and confidential process where trained counsellors or therapists work with people to understand, address, and overcome their addiction-related challenges.

Here’s what addiction counselling typically involves:

Assessment: In the beginning, the counsellor assesses the individual’s addiction, including its severity, underlying causes, and its impact on their life.

Personalised Treatment Plan: Based on the assessment, a personalised treatment plan is created. This plan outlines specific goals, strategies, and a timeline for recovery.

Therapeutic Techniques: Counsellors use various therapeutic techniques to address the psychological, emotional, and behavioural aspects of addiction. These may include individual counselling, group therapy, and family therapy.

Education: Education about addiction and its effects is an essential part of counseling. Clients learn about the science of addiction, triggers, and healthy coping mechanisms.

Skill Development: Clients are taught skills to manage cravings, stress, and triggers without resorting to addictive behaviours or substances.

Relapse Prevention: Counsellors help clients develop a plan to prevent relapse and deal with potential setbacks effectively.

Support and Accountability: Addiction counselling provides a supportive and non-judgmental environment where individuals can openly discuss their challenges, fears, and progress. Counsellors offer guidance and hold clients accountable for their recovery goals.

Holistic Approach: Many addiction counsellors take a holistic approach, addressing not only the addiction itself but also its impact on physical health, relationships, and overall well-being.

Long-Term Recovery Planning: Counselling often includes long-term planning to help individuals maintain sobriety and make positive life changes.

Referrals: If needed, counsellors can provide referrals to other healthcare professionals, support groups, or treatment facilities.

Confidentiality: Addiction counselling is confidential, meaning that what is discussed between the client and the counsellor is private and protected by ethical guidelines.

Empowerment: A primary goal of addiction counselling is to empower individuals to take control of their lives, make healthier choices, and build a life free from addiction.

Addiction counselling plays a crucial role in the journey to recovery, offering individuals the guidance, tools, and support they need to overcome addiction and lead a healthier, more fulfilling life. It’s a collaborative process where clients and counsellors work together to achieve lasting, positive change.

I’m Paul Parkin – A therapist and life coach. This is why you should work with me:

Paul Parkin Online CounsellorI’m a seasoned addiction counsellor and life coach with 15+ years of experience. I offer confidential and affordable online counselling worldwide, specialising in addiction.

My simple, home-based approach allows me to offer cost-effective sessions, making online counselling accessible. I’ve assisted thousands of clients in addressing addiction, focusing on underlying issues for lasting change.

What some of my recent clients have said about our work together.

In early 2021, I contacted Paul because my life was all over the place. I was worried about my addiction and staying sober. I had a lot of doubts about where I was going, and I was too hard on myself with negative thoughts.

Even though I had been sober for five years, I still had a bunch of issues to deal with. Paul and I talked about addiction, my past, and how to move forward. He gave me helpful tools like breathing exercises and taught me about the brain.

He also helped me plan for a better future and get organised. Even something as simple as cleaning out my old, holey socks helped me feel more in control.

Paul also helped me improve my relationship with my girlfriend. He taught us how to communicate better and meet each other’s needs.

In just a few months, Paul has made a big difference in my life. I highly recommend him if you need help with addiction, finding direction in life, or just someone to talk to.

Paul is really good at what he does, and I plan to keep working with him as long as he’s available.

Thanks a lot, Paul, for all your help! You’ve really changed my life for the better. Sincerely, Sean.

Sean. USA.
July 2021.

I went for online counseling because I lived in a place (China) where there wasn’t much counseling help. Paul was super flexible right from the beginning. He even figured out a way to chat with me using WeChat, even though there were internet restrictions in China!

The past few months have been a big change in my life, but Paul has been there the whole time. He’s been helping me make good choices and reminding me to pay attention to how my thoughts affect my feelings and actions.

I’ve always had trouble controlling my emotions, and that’s caused me problems, especially in my relationships. But Paul taught me a valuable skill: taking a moment to breathe and think before reacting to things. This has made a huge difference in how I handle problems in my current relationship.

Paul doesn’t judge, and that really helped me see things differently, especially when it comes to mine and my partner’s past struggles with addiction.

It’s made me more supportive of my partner while we both work on getting better. We’ve both come to realise that we’re still a work in progress.

Libby. UK.
November 2019.

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