Improving The Counseling Process

Improving The Counseling Process

It's Not Just The Substance But The Habit As Well

by Martin Franklin

Undertaking drug addiction rehab is a big, necessary step in the right direction, but if you're trying to kick a hard habit, you have to keep something in mind about treatment: there's a reason that addictions are colloquially called habits. Whether it's a cigarette habit, a drug habit, or what have you, what's really going on is that some sort of behavior is manifesting as chronic use and abuse of a particular substance. It's all too common to address the substance only and not the tendency toward addiction, which can lead to you simply becoming addicted to something else. As you go through treatment, you'll get specific help for the substance you use, but you'll also have to be on the lookout for replacement addictions after you leave residential treatment.

Food, Alcohol, and Cigarettes

These are three of the more common substitute addictions when getting off drugs. What might have been a random social drinking habit while you were using drugs can suddenly become chronic alcoholism as your body learns to use the gratification of getting drunk quickly as a substitute for the highs you used to get from drugs. Food can be comforting, and immediately gratifying -- you can see a connection, here -- and your body urges you to just keep eating. Cigarettes can be particularly tough because you have the addictive kick of the nicotine in addition to your own addictive behavior.

If you've got a support team of family and friends, tell them that while policing normal meal times shouldn't go too far, they should look out for changes in your behaviors, such as suddenly eating a lot more sweets than you did before. They need to point out those behaviors as soon as possible to you and your counselors. You may want to avoid alcohol completely.


Exercise can be a double-edged sword for people addressing addictive behavior. It is possible to become addicted to exercise, overtraining and thus harming yourself. However, when handled correctly with lots of counseling and monitoring, exercise can become a healthy outlet for frustration. In fact, exercise has been shown to be one of the better activities for people trying to kick an addictive habit.

The key is not letting it become the focus of your life to the exclusion of all else. That can be difficult to suss out because when you start training for something, you do have to stick to a schedule that might upend your pre-rehab schedule. Devotion should not be mistaken for addiction -- and vice versa. You should ask your counselors about finding trainers or teams who have experience with dealing with people undergoing rehab and who can spot the signs of new addictive behaviors.

Internet Use

Internet addiction is a real condition, and because you likely have to use the internet daily for regular tasks, it's a major risk for another substitute addiction. Install blockers that let you access only a few chosen sites for most of the day, leaving surfing for only a short period of time. Have family or friends monitor your usage as well.

Your rehab should address continued addictive behavior and its underlying reasons, but your counselors can also help you steer away from potential substitute addictions before the addictions get too intense, if you let your counselors help. Talk to them about action plans should you recognize some new addictions showing up in your life.


About Me

Improving The Counseling Process

As a lifetime sufferer of depression, I have spent a great deal of time in therapy. One thing that I learned early on was the importance of having a good attitude and trying to figure out how to cope with some of the suggestions that my counselors gave me. I realized that when it came to having a good experience, the bulk of the responsibility fell in my lap. I started working hard to take their suggestions in stride and carefully analyze my life and my behavior. This blog is all about improving the counseling process by having a better attitude.