If you are in a recovery program it is a given that you will meet regularly with a counselor. It is actually a bit tragic that people do not reach out to counselors before a major problem develops in their lives. I could have saved myself a lot of trouble if I had been brave enough to meet with someone years ago…but that is the subject of another blog series.
The frequency with which you meet with your counselor will vary based on the acuity of your condition and the status of your budget. Meeting with a counselor once a month is a good rule-of-thumb under normal circumstances.
However, if you have entered the Addiction Cycle you need to meet with your counselor as soon as possible, even if your last meeting was last week. When you enter the Cycle it is easy to get isolated or fixated only on your mentor. Of course you need to call your mentor when you are in the Addiction Cycle, but he/she is not a paid professional and will not be able to help you sort out the root issues at work in the Cycle. I also believe that setting a future appointment with a specialist can give you the hope and motivation you need to hang on just a few more hours or days.
Returning to the story I have cited twice already in this series: I was a mess after seeing the nude woman across the street from my office. That day and the two days following were the worst three days of the last 365. I made a lot of phone calls during those three days to my mentor and trust me: Those calls played a critical part in rescuing me from the Addiction Cycle. But during that first day I also made a call to my counselor; I knew there were deeper issues at work beyond a little nudity that I needed to talk about: My perfectionism, my desperate need for acceptance, and the intense loneliness I feel; topics that my mentor is not qualified to help me sort through. I need to deal with these issues while in the Cycle to put things in perspective and to foster long-term recovery. If I had not reached out to my counselor during those difficult days my root problems would have overwhelmed me and I would have acted out.
Today’s challenge: If you have a problem with an addictive or compulsive behavior you need to meet with a counselor on a regular basis. If you do not already have one, find one today. The next time you are in the Addiction Cycle remember to ask yourself Question 13: “Have I scheduled an appointment with my counselor?”