How I Used CBT to Treat My Problem Drinking

I suffer from alcoholism. It was being able to admit this that I could take the first steps to even consider alcohol treatment centers. As most of us have learned, you have to want to be successful through treatment in order to actually succeed. So, how did I manage to treat my problem drinking?

“We began to identify the reasons why I was drinking.”

I began my journey using CBT to combat my alcoholism when I first entered into one of the local alcohol treatment centers I was enrolled in. When I sat down with the therapist the first time, we began to identify the reasons why I was drinking. My therapist had me explore why I was using alcohol to create a crutch in my life and to gain a better understanding of why the desire to drink was there. It was with that, that I could understand why I was dependent on drinking.

With that information, we began to map out a series of skills that I could use to help create healthier alternatives. Such as, instead of escaping stress by having a drink, I can look at new ways to face the stress and work past it. That way, the stressful event is gone, and I haven’t dipped into a bottle and solved nothing.

“I found new ways I can change my routine.”

But that wasn’t all I learned in the alcohol treatment centers. I also discovered how I could use other things to take away the desires before they ever happened. I knew my routine and I knew I needed to break it in order for this to work. So instead of sitting down in my recliner after work, lighting a cigarette and having a beer, I took the dog for a walk instead. I found new ways I can change my routine and thus get out of the habit of seeking alcohol to help me to cope with things. After all, it is a vicious cycle that a person faces that traps them in alcoholism and when we change how we do things, we can break the cycle and find new solutions.

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Finding a therapist I could trust and open up to was the most significant step in my road to recovery (Image source: Pixabay)

Mind you, this isn’t a long term solution that I have accomplished on my own. I still go visit the counselor who was assigned to me at the alcohol treatment centers, so I can continue with my CBT therapy. Together, we look at new structured directives to further enhance the duration of my success. My counselor is flexible with what they have shown me, and we both are interested in my success. So as they help me to unlearn behaviors and patterns, and focus on healthier solutions I take note and take action. A win for me is also a win for them and they hold me accountable. There is something to be said for being accountable that goes beyond just a simple promise, and I believe that has helped me to succeed.

It is through all of this, that I have maintained sobriety for years now, and I would strongly recommend CBT for anyone struggling with chronic alcoholism. As you take the first steps and work with a professional, you too can regain control of your life and get yourself out of the bottom of a bottle.

About Joan Swart, PsyD, Forensic Psychologist and lecturer

Joan Swart is a forensic psychologist, lecturer, and business developer at Open Forest LLC. She authored two books titled “Treating Adolescents with Family-Based Mindfulness” (Springer, 2015) and “Homicide: A Forensic Psychology Casebook” (CRC, 2016). She is a contributor to Hubpages and HuffPost.

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More on: Alcohol, Drinking
Latest update: January 30, 2017
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