Deborah Winters, M.A., L.P.C.C. (#4000) -- My Philosophy Regarding Addiction

Addiction does not discriminate. It affects people from all financial backgrounds, and it does not care about gender, sexual preference, age, or skin color.

Addiction is an all-consuming monster that will overpower even the strongest love and the grandest of dreams in favor of its own selfish desires, and its roaring voice takes courage, strength, support, and most of all self-love to quiet down.

Sobriety is a lifelong battle that will take building self-worth, remaining self- aware, and gaining the insight that you are not your addiction.

You must learn to remove the label of being “an addict”, and instead refer to yourself as a human being who is battling the disease of addiction.

Why do some people turn to drugs? Throughout my years as a professional LPCC,  I have had the privilege to work with some of the most incredible and fascinating human beings that I have ever met. Unlike the rest of us, people who struggle with addiction possess a certain sensitivity and intelligence that causes them to view the world differently and handle life’s challenges in a detrimental way. Their overwhelming empathy renders it necessary for them to shoulder the problems of those around them and internalize the sadness of others.

In my experience, those predisposed to the disease have a compulsive need to numb the pain they feel, as an involuntary coping mechanism to survive. The addictive behaviors that soon emerge add further feelings of guilt and shame, which embed themselves deep among already existing layers of self-resentment and hopelessness.

Oftentimes, when the individual seeks out help and ceases the use of drugs, the immediate feeling is one of relief and ability to “see through the haze”. Soon after this initial step, they typically experience a flood of emotions, which can be so overwhelming that they experience a sense of drowning. Unfortunately, because the ingrained behavioral pattern is to numb the pain in order to breathe again, they fall back into old safe ways and thus restart the vicious cycle of addiction.

At this point, it is crucial for continued recovery that the individual reaches out and once again dares to ask for help. Help can come in many forms, including therapy, a 12-step program, or any other safe place to fall back on in order to navigate through the maze of hurt, guilt, and shame. It is important to emphasize that with the right support system; you can come out on the other side, and rediscover the person who has been lost in addiction.

Click here to read how I work with addiction and substance abuse.

I can be reached at (805)404-1041.  Click here to read more about my biographical information.

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