Therapist in Los Angeles
Darren Haber PsyD

Drug & Alcohol Issues

These situations are hard to figure out on your own. Talking with someone can lower the confusion, embarrassment and stress.

Many who come to me with a drug or alcohol-related question often ask, "So, do you think I'm an addict/alcoholic?"

In the first place, addiction is self-diagnosed. I will be honest with you, but the final verdict is in your hands. Sometimes we know, but often we don't. Like much of life, the question is often gray, not black and white. There is a difference, for example, between "partying" now and then, and having a hard-core addiction. Some people go through phases. Some people are genetically predisposed. Some people drink occasionally and then, one day, get a DUI. Or their spouse or friends are telling them to slow down, which is confusing since only a person with a real problem would need to hear that.

Maybe this is happening to you. Perhaps you're silently wondering why you can walk away from every drug/drink except pot. Or booze. Or wine/beer only, while avoiding the hard stuff. Maybe you drink, but not as much as your alcoholic parents or siblings. Can someone be an alcoholic if they don't black out? And is marijuana really addictive? What about painkillers that are prescribed? And why are your friends or family so worried about it?

Or maybe you believe there might be some sort of issue going on, and you're scared to talk to anyone about it. The idea of not having control is very frightening - and embarrassing when friends can have just a couple, while you struggle (or fail) to stop when they can. Maybe you've tried AA, or heard of it, but don't much care for it. Plus, how can someone plan to never drink or drug ever again? It's just not realistic. And isn't AA some kind of religious program with all that "God" stuff, like a cult?

These situations are hard to figure out on your own. Talking with someone can lower the confusion, embarrassment and stress. I will help you figure out what you want to do, with a plan to increase your overall satisfaction. It's a comfort to have assistance sorting out what is (and is not) going on. I know how frustrating or even embarrassing it is to be an intelligent person who just can't "figure out" your own problem, even if it's just one nagging issue.

I have worked with hundreds of people - some decided they were addicts, some did not - get answers to these questions, and move toward happier lives. Some choose a 12-step program, but this is not the right option for everyone. There are options. You'd be surprised how relieving it is just to talk with someone who "gets it".

Getting feedback on all this, even just a consultation, can be a way of finding some relief right off the bat.