Being addicted to anything goes against the grain of what it is to be human and have freedom of choice over our thoughts and actions. It can be painful and complicated, gradually stripping away your confidence and self-esteem, leaving you feeling desperate and hopeless.

Maybe you’ve often thought you should quit but then something happens and you’re right back where you started. It’s easy to feel guilty and ashamed at our lack of self-control but when a habit becomes an addiction it’s way more complicated than just saying no.

Addictive thoughts and behaviours can be one of the most difficult things to deal with.This is due to the compulsive nature of addiction, the amount of time it’s been building and the feelings of powerlessness that accompany it. It can have a devastating effect on your life, work, health and the people around you. But people can and do beat addictions, read on to find out how.

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“I’d hit a very low point and my drinking (due to issues) was causing problems with my family. I’d tried counselling before but it didn’t work so I was a little sceptical. Now my relationship with my wife and family have improved immensely. I can go out now without worrying (or having the wife worry about me). I am truly happier every day.”
Brad, Sales Manager, Cardiff

What is an addiction?

Firstly, it’s important to know we can get addicted to pretty much anything and that’s down to two things: 1) The way our brains function – thoughts and behaviours can quickly become patterns, especially if there’s some kind of enjoyment, release or sense of control involved. 2) If other situations in our lives are difficult to handle (or were difficult when the problem started) we can find ourselves relying on our habit to get a ‘buzz’ or simply just feel okay.

Whether you’re addicted (or think you might be addicted) to alcohol, drugs, medication, eating or not eating (anorexia), self-harm, gambling, shopping, OCD or compulsive thoughts, you may want to deal with the problem but not know where to begin. It’s important to know even ‘healthy’ habits can become compulsive – being addicted to exercise, work or sex can lead to problems if they get out of control.

I have a lot of experience in counselling clients with addictions through my work with the Cardiff Alcohol and Drug Team. Because the patterns behind addiction are similar (regardless of what you’re addicted to) I use the same approach which is client-led. This means you choose whether to abstain completely or learn to control, manage or reduce your addiction. Whatever your choice, I can help you work towards it.

How We’ll Work

In our session’s we’ll work in these five ways;

1) Exploring
We’ll talk through what you’re experiencing – looking at the thoughts and feelings behind your actions and how it fits with other areas of your life.

2) Building Motivation / The Cycle of Change
We’ll use Motivational Interviewing, a model to to help you build or increase your motivation to change. We’ll also look at the ‘Cycle of Change’ to increase your knowledge of the change process, including common pitfalls.

3) Deciding on a Goal
This will be what best fits you and your lifestyle. If you’re not sure, we can work through the options and it doesn’t mean you have to take action immediately. Often, our work in the planning stages is just as important (if not more so) than work in the action stage.

4) Building strengths and resources
This could be inner resources (finding new coping strategies to deal with problems or difficult emotions) or outer resources (developing or strengthening support networks and filling the space addiction leaves).

5) Action and Support
Often when we’re changing an addiction it can take a few ‘trial and errors’ to succeed so ongoing support is crucial. As well as processing the feelings of change and loss you may be experiencing.

What can be just as important is having someone to turn to who can hold the hope you may not be feeling. When we’re in addiction it can feel impossible to escape – but people can and do quit every day. Maybe with the right help, you’ll be next?

If you think this could use some help with this, please get in touch.

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