My last post described my detox experience. Usually, in rehab, you are supposed to start counseling right away, even if you are detoxing. But in severe cases, you cannot even think properly during detox, so they let you wait a few days to start counseling. This was the case in my experience; my detox was so rough that the staff allowed me to have the first few days of treatment to rest and detox, and once I was feeling better, my counseling sessions began.
My in-patient stay consisted of both individual counseling sessions and group sessions every day. As someone who had never been in therapy before, I found this intimidating, and a bit unnecessary. How much could I really have to say? What could another person who I had just met possibly tell me about myself that I didn’t already know? And as far as group therapy went, I was wildly uncomfortable with the idea of opening up to a bunch of strangers, let alone fellow addicts.
Now I can say I only wish I had started therapy sooner, and maybe I wouldn’t have descended into alcoholism, to begin with.
My counselor was an older woman with kind eyes. She told me she had been specializing in addiction therapy for 30 years. She said she had seen many, many people make a full recovery and stay sober. Some, however, relapsed. Whether or not I stayed sober would be my responsibility, but she was there to help equip me with the tools I needed to handle my emotions without drinking.
Right away we started talking about my divorce. I explained how I had been drinking heavily throughout my marriage, and that it definitely contributed to the reasons why my wife left me. We had gone through some hard times, and I hadn’t handled it well at all.
My wife and I had been trying to get pregnant and suffered two miscarriages. It was brutal. Instead of channeling my emotions into work or exercise, as my wife did, I just started drinking more and more heavily. My wife constantly reminded that alcohol could lower sperm count and make sperm move slower, making it even harder for us to get pregnant.
Eventually, the pressure of trying to have a child, combined with our different ways of handling it, broke us. I drank more, gave up hope, and lost my ambition. I changed as a person, and my wife didn’t like who I had become. To be honest, I didn’t like myself very much at the time, either.
My counselor helped me realize these things in the first few sessions. She helped me recognize and understand my emotions and reactions, and how my feelings were connected to my drinking habits.
I would now recommend therapy to anyone.
Keep reading to learn about my experience in group therapy.