Users who genuinely wish to change their lives can be helped through a number of counseling techniques, although the outcome invariably rests with themselves.
This will usually consist of a number of sessions to help with maintaining motivation, learning strategies to avoid relapse, dealing with slips that may occur, and coming to understand the underlying reasons for their use and dealing with them – ie, learning to love themselves.
For family members and others affected
Often, people affected by someone else’s drug/alcohol use do not believe they have a problem – many say, “He/she has the problem, not me.”
However, they are often in great need of help. When there is problematic behavior by someone they love, it is common to feel a need to “fix” it; often feeling it is “my fault” he/she is doing this.
Sometimes two parents can have different ideas of how to deal with the situation – even leading to partnership breakdown.
Counselling can help them come to terms with what they are going through, understand what it is like for the user (who often has feelings of guilt, shame, remorse, helplessness and being a “failure”), and develop an appropriate strategy for their own outcome.
It is important to understand we do not have the power to control other people’s behaviour, no matter how much we would like to. We only have power over own own behaviour.
Sometimes a systemic approach can be helpful (see next section).