Addiction

From Addiction to Recovery, isolation to connection.

Recovery takes specific Knowledge, Insight, Commitment and consistent Effort; it’s a process, not an event. That is to say, any relapse, back sliding or returning to what was, can occur. It happens when someone is not actively and consistently applying this Knowledge, Insight, Commitment and Effort into their recovery on an ongoing basis. Like driving a car, recovery for many gets easier but even when practiced for years, the person in recovery needs to be aware of the dangers and behave in a way that keeps them safe.  Addiction, like driving a car recklessly can be fatal for the addict and others.

Some people may feel that they have no choice around addictions but this is not true because they have; they do however need to apply Knowledge, Insight, Commitment and Effort to connect with that choice and the ability to carry it out consistently.

The motivation to change can be a confusing aspect of addiction and recovery for many people because they can hold both awareness and a desire to stop at the same time as a compulsion to continue. This can often be a feature of addiction and is referred to as ambivalence. This is further confirmation that an addiction is present.  Some people have lost the ability to see clearly and consistently the damage that their addiction is doing and therefore minimise or deny the reality; once again, this is addiction. Denial and its many forms will keep the addict stationary and those around them confused, frustrated and affected.

The elevator of addiction stops at many floors and people don’t have to go down to the bottom to get off; however, if they do get off, recovery is still possible. Loss in an addiction comes in many forms and can be emotional, material, relational, psychological, health and reputation – any number of and sometimes all of these things can be repaired in recovery.

 

Addiction

         

Addiction is less about giving something up but more about gaining something, such as a more meaningful, authentic and connected life. Addiction takes things away whereas recovery gives them back. This could include self-esteem, love for and from self and others, meaning, passion, ability to deal with life’s challenges, healing, and hope.

 

The Knowledge, Insight, Commitment and Effort mentioned throughout this article are best acquired and understood from and with others. These others might be a support group and/or a counsellor. Commitment and Effort can often relate to and be increased, by hope and a shift in belief – the belief that one can overcome an addiction. Once gain this can be found in connection with others.  In some ways the journey from addiction to recovery is the journey from isolation to connection.

For help with addiction, addictions counselling and therapy see specialist addiction recovery website.

 

Confidential Counselling Notice – Our Privacy Notice

Counselling Services Nottingham Ltd Privacy Notice. Confidential Counselling Notice. 

About this Privacy Notice.

Counselling Services Nottingham (CSN) (referred to below as CSN and / or The Service) is committed to complying with the terms of the General Data Protection Regulation made on 27 April 2016, and to the responsible and secure use of your personal data. Providing Confidential counselling  and privacy is a core part of what we do, we provide confidential counselling services. CSN  has a legitimate interest in processing personal data to provide counselling and other related services. This notice sets out  what personal information CSN collects and holds, why we collect this data, how long it is kept and your rights over your personal data. CSN is registered with the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO).

 

  1. Information about you

We collect personal information from you when you enquire about our services and then during the delivery of our services.  We may collect and store  information including your contact details, details of others associated with the provision of our services and you, payment and invoicing details,  your availability and other relevant personal information. Given the nature of service some of the information we hold may be of a personal and private nature, for example details of health conditions you may have, events in your life and or other personal historical and current information you share in counselling and with the service.  Once a client ends counselling, all data regarding their counselling is stored securely for 5 years and then destroyed. Your information is only shared within the service with those who need to know that piece of  information. Most of the information held is only accessible to the Counsellor you see.

We may store personal data of those whom engage in other services from us, this is information might include contact details and other relevant details as outlined above, when appropriate. Other services include Group Therapy, Consultancy and / or Training.

  1. How we use your information?

Your personal information will be used only to provide you with our services and to give you information relating to our services. We will not share your personal details with any other person or organisation without your knowledge and permission unless we need to meet our legal and / or safeguarding obligations. These obligations may require us to disclose your information in order to safeguard you or others, details available on request.

 

Confidential Counselling

 

 3. How do we take care of your information?

We will take all reasonable precautions to prevent the loss, misuse or alteration of information you share with CSN. These precautions include using professional clinical cloud-based notes software.

Communications in connection with our services may happen via e-mail, online, text, telephone or letter. For ease of use and compatibility, email communications are not sent in an encrypted form unless you require it and give us permission to communicate with you in that way. The aforementioned forms of communication are not fully secure and / or confidential. Whilst we endeavour to keep our systems and communications protected against potential confidentiality breaches , we cannot bear responsibility for all communications being confidential.  Please be assured we take all reasonable precautions when communicating with you and your communication with us.

 

  1. What are your rights with regards to the information we hold about you?

You have the right to ask for a copy of your personal information, free of charge, in an electronic or paper format. You also have the right to CSN to amend or change any incorrect information about you. You have the right to ask CSN to erase any information that the service retains about you. This includes your personal information that is no longer relevant to original purposes, or if you wish to withdraw consent. In all cases and when considering such requests, these rights are obligatory unless it’s information that there is a  legal obligation to retain.

 

  1. Concerns or requests

For the purposes of the General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) 2018, the data “controller” is Andrew Harvey, Director, CSN.

If you have any questions, concerns or would like clarification on any of the above or other concerns relating to confidentiality, confidential counselling, data storage or privacy please do contact Andrew Harvey the companies data controller.

CSN ltd, 240 Porchester Rd, Nottingham, NG3 6HE. t.07802 767462 e info@CounsellingServicesNottingham.co.uk

Director Andrew Harvey, MBACP, FD (Open) , Fdap.

 

Counselling Services Nottingham (CSN), Also Trading as Addictionscounselling.net, Andrew Harvey and Addictions Counselling Nottingham. 

OCD Client Information Resource.

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder Client Information Resource

Download CSN Resource PDF OCD

Online …

OCD UK
A charity run by people who have lived experience of the condition. One of the largest and best sources of
information on OCD online. It has a free downloadable informative booklet that is helpful to those
who experience OCD and those wanting to support them, available here
Download PDF OCD UK information booklet
OCD UK Website

 

Intrusive Thoughts. Org (and more)
A USA based site that explores OCD with quality information including Intrusive
Thoughts and Body Dysmorphic Disorder related content. The site is rich in information and video
and has a “community” ethos. One of the better sites in terms of information, the site itself and the
breadth and depth of meaningful content.
Intrusivethoughts.org Website

 

Mind 
A UK based charity, MIND has a wealth of information on their website. The site offers an overview of many key topics with
links to more detailed information and specialist support and websites. The Guides on MIND’S
website can be downloaded as PDF’s for printing or sharing with others.

Download PDF Understanding OCD

 

Royal College of Psychiatrists 
OCD from a psychiatric perspective with a focus on medication alongside other information. The site
appears to only offer a brief overview and draws heavily from “Evidenced-based treatments”. For a
brief overview of the condition, this site could be helpful for some.
Royal College of Psychiatrists – On OCD

 

 

Books …

Break OCD Free from OCD: Overcoming Obsessive Compulsive Disorder with CBT

by Fiona Challacombe, Victoria Bream Oldfield and Paul M. Salkovskis, published by
Vermilion. Self Help CBT guide that some clients find helpful. This book is sometimes
available from Library.
ISBN: 9780091939694 Format: Paperback Publication date: 1 September 2011 304
pages. Other formats: Ebook (9781446491843)

 

 

OCDOvercoming Obsessive Thoughts: How to Gain Control of Your OCD
By Christine Purdon, Published by New Harbringer Publications.
The book has a focus on helping the reader understand the true nature of distressing
thoughts and disconnect from the distress and power the thoughts sometimes have.
Useful exercises and self-care strategies. A useful and meaningful book.
ISBN-139781572243811 Publication date1 Jan 2005 Pages160.

 

if you are looking for counselling or therapy in relation to struggling with OCD please do make contact.

Am I addicted ?

Am I addicted? When is a problem an addiction? By Andrew Harvey, Counsellor and Therapist. 

Have you ever asked yourself that question “am I addicted” ? or maybe someone else has said they think you may be if so, this article is for you, its also for you if you have ever asked, “is she/he addicted ?”

Before I start my little article here, I want to say that I respect that more than one understanding of addiction and recovery exists; I hold a pluralistic perspective when it comes to the subject. I do, with my best intentions, do what I can to respect these diverse understandings. I do not claim to hold an ultimate truth; I write here from my own personal and professional experience: an experience that has included working with, treating and sharing with incredible individuals who have turned their lives around, sometimes before addiction really got a hold sometimes not. My experience also, sadly, includes working with, treating and sharing with people who never moved to a solid recovery. Some are sadly no longer with us as a result of addiction.

What gave me the motivation to write this article is a question that I often get asked. Not maybe using these exact words, it can be something like ‘I think I may be addicted to (Drugs /Drink/Internet/Porn/Shopping/Food/Gambling … chose one … or several), but I’m not sure. How would I know?’ Unfortunately, there is often no short answer and depending upon where you look for your answer you may arrive at different conclusions. If you Google ‘what is addiction?‘ you will end up with many diverse definitions and understandings, and depending upon how authentic and connected your level of awareness of your problem or addiction is (which if it is addiction, it’s both!) or level of denial, you might find one that fits with your perceived experience. The danger is, of course, if you are truly addicted and are experiencing the often accompanied deep level of denial you will settle for a website that denies addiction even exists. As you can imagine this might speak to the part of you that wants to keep going with the addiction. A claim that disputes widely held understandings of addiction may well concur with your own denial and keep you going along the long road (sometimes short) of loss, because that’s what addiction, in my experience, leads to: loss of connection, hope, money, dignity, self, love and for some, life.
So how do you know if your problem is “just a problem” or an addiction? I guess a simple and extremely reductionist answer is: try stopping (and here’s the crucial bit) and STAY STOPPED. Most addicts can stop for a length of time, but the truth of addiction is they can’t stay stopped. Here we are presented with another issue, that of choice. Many a real addict will say ‘yes I stopped and I started again, because I chose to’ … REALLY! Did YOU choose or did your addicted self choose? I refer to my previous mention of denial. Here we see it in the form of “I can control this; it doesn’t control me I choose to live this life”, another path to the road of loss. Denial has been mentioned in this piece on more than one occasion. It is frequently a symptom of addiction; it’s a denial that the problem has crossed a line and if in some sort of recovery, relapse occurs, it is often denial related: a denial of how bad it was before: a denial of loss of personal control; a denial of the loss of personal choice; a denial of what needs to be done to stay in recovery; and often a denial of the person’s true values and personality.

So, in short , what’s the answer? “Am I addicted or do I just have a problem?”  My unsophisticated, yet caring, answer is … you probably won’t know. You will need help to investigate and find out, in the form of another human being because,  left alone with an online test or website, if you are addicted your denial might well run riot. So if you really want to know,  seek help from people with good recovery (Alcoholics Anonymous or other 12 Step fellowship) or a professional, your GP might be a good place to start. Addiction really takes hold in isolation, so that act of reaching out to another is, in itself, is a step towards recovery.
At the end of the day, if you’re asking yourself the question, maybe you and the people that love you deserve an informed answer. I truly hope you find your answer and act on it. Recovery happens, and when it dose it is truly a re-connection with self and others.

Andrew Harvey
Andrew is a therapist and counsellor working both private practice and for one of the UK’s leading providers of action recovery services.

Counselling Services Nottingham’s sister company Nottingham based AddictionsCounselling.net provides therapy, face to face and SKYPE therapy for all types of addiction including; alcoholism, alcohol addiction, drug abuse, drug addiction, gambling, sex addiction, internet addiction,  Porn addiction and other compulsive behaviours/addictions. 

 Federation of Drug and Alcohol Professionals

Making changes that last

Making changes that last….. I’m posting this again, as its January ! and as we know that’s the time of the year that most people seek to make changes.

Written by Andrew Harvey, Counsellor and therapist. 

As they say … ‘change is good’ … not sure who ‘they’ are.. But let’s take it as a given… Change is good. Given that change is good, and people often have every intention of making changes and sticking with them, why is it so difficult? Why do people give up smoking to start again, lose weight to then gain even more, sign up to the gym and then stop going, agree with another to do things differently only to fall back into old ways of being? One of the main reasons is, people don’t understand and accept the nature of change. In this brief article, I hope to convey one or two thoughts on change, that I hope will be of use to anyone wanting to make lasting change and stick to it! These thoughts stem mostly from my work as a therapist working with hundreds of addicts and therefore witnessing people making and maintaining lifesaving changes.

New Year’s resolutions are often just that … They last for the duration of the New Year, even when the intention was for them to last forever. The reason is often making change is sometimes more challenging to maintain than making the initial change in the first place.

People often think of change as a one-off event, for example, they might make the decision to get more exercise and then fail to do so for the time period they intended (attend any gym in January, then return in April to see this for yourself). What happens is that the change process is not understood or given enough attention; change is an ongoing decision, not a one-off event. It’s a Process, not an Event … and that’s it really. Once you have done the initial stage of making the change, the next essential and ongoing step is the Maintenance Stage.

Making Changes that Last is often more about how people attend to maintaining the change they want, rather than the initial effort put into change. Below are a few tools and techniques that can be useful in maintaining change (the maintenance stage).

• The change process often loses momentum or stops when you lose motivation. This is why it’s important to regularly recall and focus on why you wanted to make the change, get in touch at a deep level with the consequences of not making the change and consequences of making the change. Write if down! Look at it often, or cut out a picture that sums up the benefits for you .. or if you prefer, the consequence of not making the change. This is important. It repeatedly gets you to that place of motivation, where the initial energy can be found that started the change, it’s like making the change again and again, and that keeps it fresh! Many people I work with in addiction make a commitment to staying in recovery daily. That’s a great way to make it a priority and maintain momentum.

• Don’t do it alone. If you keep trying and not succeeding maybe it’s time to enlist some help. For example, if you are trying to stop drinking and are failing to stay stopped then maybe an organisation like Alcoholics Anonymous might be the way forward, often people seek help from a counsellor to make and maintain changes. Personal trainers or a friend to go walking with might be the key to keeping you in the maintenance stages of change.

• If you slip backwards with change, learn from it, work out what went wrong, and what lessons are there to be learnt. Questions that might help include: what were the signs that my change was losing its momentum? What do I need to do differently next time? What help might I need to get back on track? And very importantly ask yourself “do I really want this change?” It might be worth writing these answers down and sharing your findings with someone who might be able to offer different perspectives.

Good luck with making and most importantly maintaining change. Making Changes That Last can be fun!

3 Tips in 2 Minutes on video by Andrew Harvey 

 

 

Change

Photo by Chris Lawton on Unsplash