Certified substance abuse counselors are psychological well-being experts who help clients battling with substance dependence. Their primary duty is to work with people and their families to treat both emotional and mental issues, and also to support general psychological wellness. They treat emotional conditions, for example, addiction, depression, substance abuse, suicidal impulses, stress and general issues with grief or self-esteem. The certified counselor who I interviewed is called Dr. Suzanne Wong. She holds a master’s degree in psychology and nursing and also has a current professional certificate from the state.
Dr. Wong runs a private office where she attempts to help families and people who are dependent on substances, for example, alcohol or drugs, recover. Since each patient is unique and is battling with substance abuse in various ways, Dr. Wong modifies treatment plans for every customer. She regularly meets with her patients as they recuperate and works intensely with those in crisis. Through her clinical practice, she teaches her patients how to change their states of mind and self-conviction, and come up with techniques to overcome rationalization and denial in the hope of accomplishing full recuperation.
The more significant part of her clientele is young people aged between 15-29 years of age. For the majority of these young adults, factors which impact their indulgence in substance abuse are probably going to be experimentation, peer pressure, recreation purposes, incidental circumstances in alerting the mind for examination or “brain expander” phenomenon. As indicated by Dr. Wong, factors such as modeling, ignorance and rebellious acting out against authority figures may likewise play an essential role. She mostly deals with adolescent males, the fact that she attributes to substance abuse being a young male problem than a female one.
It is possible that this occurrence is because of the innate differences between both genders in their preparation to take in specific behaviors. Dr. Wong additionally claimed that the more significant number of substance abusers dropped out of school at the secondary school level. On the tertiary level, substance abusers have a lower dropout rate, a reality that Dr. Wong ascribes to the substance abusers being more mature and less inclined to be affected by unnecessary pressure from their peers. Since guardians and parents assume the most significant role in the development of the child in the home and the family, the more substantial number of the patients who come looking for Dr. Wong’s assistance are either from a family that is dysfunctional or have lost a parent or both parents.
Dr. Wong has experienced more than three supervised years of experience in counseling, with 66% of this having been in the wake of finishing her master’s degree. She has additionally gone through HIV/AIDS training and training in ethics amid the previous five years. In the wake of attaining her secondary school diploma in 2001, Dr. Wong went on to finish a four-year degree course in mental health treatment and psychology. She graduated with high honors in the year 2004 and from that point saw it shrewd to acquire a license keeping in mind the end goal to work in her private practice. Obtaining this license required her to seek a master’s degree and between 2,000-3,000 hours of clinical experience under the supervision of an authorized counselor.
After getting her practicing permit in the year 2006, Dr. Wong was required to take a fixed number of continuing courses every year keeping in mind the end goal to stay up to date with the accepted procedures and practices in substance abuse counseling and extend her range of abilities as her profession advanced. As a substance abuse counselor, Dr. Wong has to assist people with dealing with different problems that include family or personal tribulations, parenting problems, self-esteem issues, suicidal ideation, substance abuse, marital problems, stress management, and other addictions. Her fundamental philosophies are prevention, resilience, and wellness.
One theoretical orientation that the counselor relates to is cognitive therapy. She posits that one’s feelings and practices are regularly caused or inferred by one’s contemplations. In other words, if an individual is anxious or depressed, at that point that person has certain distortions or cognitive errors that make that individual be depressed or anxious, and along these lines look to substances as a way to escape.
In her remedial work with different customer populaces, Dr. Wong thought that it was useful to go up against their idea and conviction patterns and look at how these influence their other emotional issues. Another theoretical orientation she relates with is motivational interviewing. It is mostly based on abilities identified with warmth and empathy while concentrating on working with patients who frequently are impervious to treatment. The method was initially intended for resistant clients who were receiving substance abuse treatment. Four active components of MI are supporting self-efficacy, rolling with resistance, developing discrepancy, and expressing empathy.
Dr. Wong makes use of the 12-step meeting as part of the treatment protocol. Through the procedure, she puts emphasis on the significance of accepting addiction as an ailment that can be arrested, however, never eliminated, improving individual development and spiritual growth, limiting egotism and giving help to different people who are dependent on substances.
She utilizes these steps to indicate that substance abusers must concede their weakness over drugs and alcohol, take an ethical inventory of themselves, acknowledge the nature of their wrongs, make a rundown of people whom they have hurt with their behaviors, and present appropriate reparations to those individuals. Involvement in this 12-step process is intended to furnish members with support for staying free from substances, an interpersonal organization with which to associate, and a list of 12 guiding standards to be followed during the process of recovery.
Substance abuse counseling is a cause that is near Suzanne Wong’s heart as she initially ended up developing interest in the subject when one of her companions became dependent on cocaine. Dr. Wong needed to understand and help her friend so she took a course on addictions and she was interested in the subject and went ahead to seek after a career in substance abuse counseling. While she has attempted on more than one occasion to find different avenues, only those opportunities in substance abuse and addictions counseling presented themselves. Along these lines, she unequivocally believes that it is a place that she is meant to be.
Suzanne Wong’s advice for students regarding their academic and professional development in the area of substance abuse treatment is that they should try and pursue that is made available to them early in their career. Attending anything they are invited to, applying to countless places to present, write, or be interviewed would help them achieve a higher level of success. Establishing and maintaining their professional relationships is also essential. Additionally, having as much fun as possible while still working or studying is crucial, and balance is critical. She also advises students to take advantage of any opportunities that may present themselves and also develop professional networks that they can connect with.
This morning I went to a 10:00 a.m. open talk AA meeting. Sixteen people were present, and they all appeared to be in the vicinity of between 40 to 60 years of age, except for a young fellow who looked around 25 years old.
When I arrived, one of the individuals instructed me to grab some espresso in the kitchen. Despite the fact that I had just had some coffee before I left the house, I chose to have another cup, partly in light of the fact that it was freezing in the room, but for the most part since I felt it would make me appear more receptive and part of the gathering instead of an outsider. I had planned to sit at the back of the room with the intention of being less apparent and better able to watch the members, but then figured that this would make me seem standoffish, so I chose to sit in the middle the room.
The gathering started with reciting the Serenity Prayer. The leader of the meeting at that point had one individual read the 12 traditions, and another member read the 12 steps. At that point, he asked whether this was anybody’s first meeting at AA. I put my hand up and identified myself as an understudy enlisted in a program taking a course in substance abuse. Next, the leader of the meeting inquired as to whether anybody had a specific subject that he or she needed to discuss.
One individual from the group expressed he wanted to talk about a page from the Big Book in which Bill Wilson examined how spirituality had helped him beat a particular episode of temptation to begin drinking once more (Wilson, 2013). Bill Wilson was a fellow benefactor of Alcoholics Anonymous and the account of his experience with liquor addiction, and other data on AA is depicted in the Big Book.
After the individual discussed how his spirituality had helped him to defeat the urge to drink, the leader of the meeting requested that the member pick the next individual in the gathering who would share their experience. Well, wouldn’t you know, he chose me! He said since I was the only understudy there, it would just be well mannered to let me share next! Since I do not have an ordeal related to spirituality or drinking, I chose to expound on my purpose for attending the AA meeting by disclosing that I wanted to gain a better understanding to set myself better up to help future clients manage issues of liquor and substance abuse. I then said thank you to them for giving me a chance to be a part of the gathering. From that point onward, we proceeded around the room with everyone except one individual sharing their encounters.
The vast majority of the men spoke for just a couple of minutes. However, a couple of them shared their experiences for a good 10 minutes or more. Some had just quit drinking some weeks or days back, some had stopped ten or more years prior, and the rest were still in the process. I was astonished by the fact that the vast majority of them revealed that they experienced issues either with making a connection with the spiritual aspect of staying sober or in maintaining the said connection.
One man discussed how he began his sobriety by developing a profound feeling of spirituality, yet over the years, had come to question the presence of a higher being, even though he didn’t expand on why. I was likewise astounded to hear a significant number of the individuals concede that they had never followed each of the 12 Steps, yet had stayed sober for quite a long while. One member alluded to himself as a “dry drunk,” expressing that he had not drunk in nine years but had never done any of the steps, and just as of late felt that he needed to work through the process if he was going to be able to remain sober.
A dry drunk is any person who is refraining from liquor, but who has not made ideal improvements in her or his behaviors or attitudes, which thus, brings about uneasiness in his or her life, in spite of the lack of drinking (Schneider, 2008). The majority of the men discussed the significance of taking their recuperation each day by itself and how looking too far in the past or too far in the future would almost certainly lead to disappointment.
While the subject of their discourses was a genuine issue, a considerable lot of them interjected with bits of humor, which helped relax the environment even more. One specific person who has been sober for quite a long while discussed how, while still drinking, he was the relative that nobody looked forward to hanging out with or talk to. However, that all changed after he became sober. He amusingly expressed that this was not something to be thankful for since now he had a massive number of companions and relatives calling for his attention.
In thinking back about the physical appearance of the people who took part in the AA gathering, I noticed that most of them were very thin, which may imply malnutrition related to liver failure (Van Wormer & Davis, 2016). What’s more, one of the senior individuals in the meeting, who I guess was in his 60s, chattered with an occasional stammer, which may show some level of alcohol-related brain damage.
Toward the end of the AA gathering, we all stood up, held hands, and said the Lord’s Prayer. From that point onward, everybody went outside and mingled. Most smoked cigarettes when they were out of the room. A few people came up to me and got some information about the class I was taking. Some expressed gratitude toward me for my interest and for going to the gathering. At first, I was apprehensive about going to the AA meeting, but I was astounded by the kindness and warmth extended by the individuals, and additionally the candidness they showed in discussing their battles with alcohol abuse.
The people at the gathering strived to promote the 12 step process and traditions with the goal that every one of the newcomers knew about them and understood them. In any case, I feel that the most significant issues that were addressed at this gathering were empowering the newcomers and giving them the feeling that there is hope for them to find help with their liquor addiction and the fact that the group will be there for those ready to improve for the better. I think that both of these issues are critical. I trust that without a robust spirituality an individual will experience severe difficulties throughout everyday life and will swing to different outlets like liquor to figure out how to adapt.