The diseases of addiction and alcoholism are devastating to those afflicted and all who are part of their lives. According to the National Center for Drug Abuse Statistics, in 2018 over 20 million people in the U.S. age 12 and over had a substance abuse disorder of some kind. The social and economic impacts of this problem are startling and grim.
Although the problem is discouraging there is help available to those who want to recover. In the Texas hill country, this help comes from 12-step support groups, drug rehab centers Austin and sober living homes in almost every community. Different models of recovery are available as well. Some of the models available include Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) and the 12-step approach as originally outlined in Alcoholics Anonymous.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
This therapy utilizes specific breathing techniques that help patients reach a more calm and peaceful state when experiencing distressing thoughts and emotions. It also educates patients to improve their understanding of how mental states influence choices about substance abuse. Finally, it provides techniques for confronting the validity of those mental states that often precede abuse of substances.
Acceptance and Commitment Therapy
This model incorporates the practice of mindfulness techniques or present moment awareness. When stressful emotions arise, it focuses on understanding those as being just thoughts while returning to the present moment. It encourages acceptance of distressing emotions and reorienting the relationship with those thoughts and feelings. It also helps patients identify things that they value like goals, relationships and hobbies and then adjust priorities in a way that supports those values.
The support group of Alcoholics Anonymous commits to an ordered set of decisions and actions that helps individuals achieve a spiritual experience or drastic rearrangement of their psychological state. As a result, individuals begin engaging in the support of fellow sufferers to achieve the same outcome. This approach has been adopted by several different groups addressing different addictive substances and behaviors.
Addiction and alcoholism can lead to a feeling of hopelessness. Nothing is further from the truth. Hope abounds in the rooms of support groups and recovery facilities everywhere. A willingness to reach out for help and accept it are all that is required to make a new start.