Alcohol Abuse Counseling
Whether you are just starting to wonder if you have an alcohol problem, beginning sobriety for the first time or the millionth time, or struggling to remain sober, it is important to get support. Struggling with an alcohol problem or alcoholism is difficult, and no one should have to do it alone.
Alcohol problems vary in intensity. Some people drink alcohol every day, and some people only drink occasionally. Even if someone drinks smaller amounts of alcohol or only drinks occasionally, alcohol can still be causing problems. Sometimes people don't get help because they don't identify as an alcoholic or don't suffer from alcoholism. In order to recover and reclaim your life, it is not necessary to identify as an alcoholic or to have any specific beliefs about alcoholism or addiction. Whether you drink alcohol all day long, binge drink occasionally, drink only with friends, or drink at home after the children go to bed, if it's causing you concern, it is worth exploring ways to cut back or stop.
Many people wonder if they could actually have an alcohol problem, because they are functioning well in many ways. It's common to still have your job, family, health, and no DUIs, but to feel like alcohol is causing problems or keeping you from achieving your potential.
Drinking Alcohol in Secrecy?
Many people drink in secrecy. Often, no one else knows that there is a problem. Some people only drink in front of their family; some people only drink alone at home; and some people only drink after their children go to bed. Even if drinking is not causing external problems, it can be painful. Some people get sober because it feels like drinking alcohol is killing their soul or getting in the way of what they value.
Shame, guilt, and fear of getting caught are common emotions. You deserve to feel better. Often, sobriety brings a sense of pride and contentment.
Alcohol Abuse Counseling Can Help
In counseling, you can
determine if you have a problem (explore the pros and cons of drinking/sobriety)
identify alcohol abuse triggers
develop a plan to stay sober
find joy in being sober
increase your coping strategies and internal resources
work through any past traumas or difficulties that may be contributing to the alcohol problem
As important as it is to understand the negative consequences of alcohol abuse, it is also important to explore the joys that can come with being clean and sober. It is much easier to stay sober if you are doing things that you enjoy and find meaningful!
People struggling with alcohol problems often feel split between the desire to be sober and the desire to drink. Ambivalence is normal. Counseling can help you decide what you truly want to do.
I believe that supportive counseling can be more useful than the confrontational approach. According to motivational interviewing, there are six stages of change (unaware of the problem; contemplating change; preparing to change; deciding to change; maintaining that change; and potentially learning from relapses).
People recover from alcohol abuse in many ways. Some people use groups, some use substance abuse counseling, and some use a combination. Do whatever works for you. Sobriety is worth it.
You can also read my blog posts about healing from alcohol problems and addiction.
Alcohol & Other Drug Addiction Recovery Groups
You may find the following self-help groups useful. I do not necessarily recommend the following resources, but I want to provide as much information as possible. Please use your own judgment when using these resources. Check the websites or call for up-to-date meeting times and locations.
Secular Recovery Groups That Are Not 12-Step
Women for Sobriety - womenforsobriety.org (Women's meetings in Santa Clara and Redwood City; Online forum and online meetings available; No Women for Sobriety meetings in Sunnyvale) Self-empowerment and happiness are key components to their recovery program. Initially, their program focused on alcohol addiction, but now it is open to any woman struggling with substance abuse. You do not need to identify as an alcoholic to go to their meetings. Call for meeting information. Phone # (215) 536-8026
SMART Recovery - smartrecovery.org (Meetings in Santa Clara, San Jose, and Los Gatos; Online forum and online meetings available; No SMART recovery meetings in Sunnyvale) Their program consists of learning various tools to reduce urges and stop drinking or using. Their program does not tend to use the word “alcoholic”. Open to anyone struggling with alcohol, other drugs, or addictive behaviors. Phone # (408) 850-3595 or (440) 951-5357
For SMART Recovery tools - smartrecovery.org/resources/toolchest.htm
LifeRing Secular Recovery - lifering.org (Meetings in Mountain View and San Jose; Online forum and online meetings also available; No LifeRing recovery meetings in Sunnyvale) They focus on each person creating his/her own individual recovery plan. Open to anyone struggling with alcohol or other drugs. You don't need to identify as an alcoholic or addict to attend their meetings. Phone # (800) 811-4142 or (510) 763-0779
SOS- Secular Organizations for Sobriety - sossobriety.org (No SOS meetings in Sunnyvale or Santa Clara County) Phone # (323) 666-4295
Rational Recovery - rational.org (No meetings at all; Online resources)
Buddhist Recovery Groups & Pagan Steps
Recovery Dharma - recoverydharma.org (Meetings in Mountain View, Palo Alto, San Jose, Campbell, San Francisco, and Santa Cruz; Online meetings available; No Recovery Dharma meetings in Sunnyvale) Recovery Dharma or Refuge Recovery is a buddhist approach to recovery.
Spiral Steps - spiralsteps.org (No meetings in Sunnyvale or Santa Clara County) Spiral Steps is a pagan approach to recovery.
Twelve-Step Recovery Groups
Alcoholics Anonymous - aa.org or San Jose/Santa Clara County AA - aasanjose.org (Many meetings available in and near Sunnyvale) Many meetings are 'open' meetings which means that anyone can attend, even if you are just curious; 'closed' meetings are only for alcoholics. Phone # (408) 374-8511
Narcotics Anonymous - na.org or peninsulana.org for Mountain View/Palo Alto or sjna.org for Sunnyvale/Santa Clara/San Jose (Many meetings available in and near Sunnyvale) Many meetings are 'open' meetings which means that anyone can attend; 'closed' meetings are only for addicts- defined as a person with any drug or alcohol addiction, not just narcotic addiction. Alcoholics can attend NA meetings. Their program focuses on recovery from addiction in general, instead of addiction to a specific substance. Phone # (650) 802-5950
Dual Recovery Anonymous - draonline.org (Meetings in San Jose, Redwood City, and Los Gatos) 12-step recovery from substance abuse and mental health issues.
Therapy Office in Sunnyvale
My office is in Sunnyvale, California on Wolfe Rd., near El Camino Real (also close to Santa Clara, Cupertino, and Mountain View). Parking is easy; there is a large parking lot.
1021 S. Wolfe Rd., Suite 255
Sunnyvale, CA 94086
I am a therapist/counselor in Sunnyvale, California. I work with adults, teenagers, and children. (LMFT Lic. # LMFT40414)
Please visit my therapy home page for more information about me.