We want to be acknowledged, heard, understood.
Most of all we want to be listened to.
We say we want advice on a drug or alcohol problem, but…do we always take the advice? No? Perhaps we didn’t want advice after all. We all have a strong, core need to be heard and understood. We ask without words: “Do you get me?” Sometimes we talk with our eyes, our expression, our tone of voice. Words are one way of being known. Most important is the acknowledgement of who we are. Maybe we draw negative attention to ourselves. It’s a way of asking for help. If we we were not afraid of asking directly, it may look something like this: “I’m in trouble. I need help.”
We want to be cared for.
We often care for others. Depending on our role in the family, we either take care of getting good grades, the children, the parents, the house, the mortgage, the business, or some combination of the above. It can be exhausting to give all the time. It might be difficult to admit we need to be cared for; that we need help, but there it is. “I need help.” Were you taught that it’s weak to ask for help? It is weak to starve yourself when nourishment is a phone call away. Alcohol and drugs may be telling you “Don’t call!” You can quit anytime you want to. “They will try to separate you from the only friend you have in the world” That is the voice of fear. Actually the alcohol and drugs are lying to you. Don’t believe me? Have you ever met an old person who said “I wish I spent more time, money and effort on drinking and drugging?
The therapeutic relationship
Be curious about good relationships. What do you remember about your favorite teacher , mentor? Who listened to your stories as a child? You may not remember what the other person said exactly but you know if you felt loved.
Should I be afraid to use the word LOVE in a counseling relationship? I’m not talking about a sexual relationship but an intimacy of unconditional acceptance. No judgment. No blame. Only empathy, bonding, a type of kinship.
How do I find the perfect therapist for me?
The kind of therapy is not nearly as important to success as the relationship being built. In other words most any “brand” of therapy will work if there is a trusting relationship. You deserve a therapist who understands you and cares for you. No matter what you have said/done, or not said/didn’t do. It’s a special kind of relationship. No strings. No need to lie, or cover up who you are, because your inner beauty is known, seen, heard. NO conditions. NO judgement. Someone who sees all of you and helps you live up to your values. Someone who sees your goodness and helps to bring that out in you. Your biggest fan.
When you are ready to find your counselor or therapist to help you become your best self, a therapist who gets you, someone who knows your love/hate relationship with alcohol or drugs; get ready to become your best self. If they are a good listener and you can connect with them, go for it.