Conditions

Alcohol Use Recovery: How to Find Counseling Near You

Alcohol use disorder, also called alcohol addiction or alcoholism, is a common problem that can affect anyone, no matter their gender, religion, or economic status.  The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) defines alcohol use disorder as a condition where someone cannot stop or reduce their alcohol consumption without help, even when it […]

isbell oliva garcia grow therapy By Isbell Oliva-Garcia, LMHC

Updated on Jan 12, 2024

x icon linked-in icon facebook icon instagram icon

Alcohol use disorder, also called alcohol addiction or alcoholism, is a common problem that can affect anyone, no matter their gender, religion, or economic status. 

The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) defines alcohol use disorder as a condition where someone cannot stop or reduce their alcohol consumption without help, even when it harms their life. 

Alcohol dependence can affect mental and physical health, relationships, work life, school performance, and more. Fortunately, help is available. Alcohol counseling services can be an effective and low-risk way to treat alcohol use disorder.  

Here’s what you need to know about accessing alcohol counseling near you.

What Is Alcohol Counseling?

Alcohol counseling is a form of talk therapy that addresses alcohol dependence and its associated consequences. It may include one-on-one counseling, couples therapy, family therapy, or group therapy.

Alcohol addiction therapy is included in most alcohol treatment programs, as it helps you get to the root of your substance abuse and maintain sobriety. As such, it’s an important part of the recovery journey. 

“With any counseling, a person can expect to face one of the greatest and most rewarding experiences of their life: themselves,” says Clint Gaver, a Grow Therapy licensed marriage and family therapist who specializes in addiction and substance use. 

Gaver has decades of experience in providing alcohol counseling to people with alcohol use disorder. He explains that alcohol counseling can help you gain insight into the causes of your addictions, understand your compulsive behavior, and develop healthier coping skills. 

Alcohol counseling can also help you address issues caused by alcohol use and learn helpful life skills, such as communication or stress relief techniques. 

Who Goes to Alcohol Counseling?

Alcohol counseling can help anyone who has a difficult relationship with alcohol. There’s no need to wait until your symptoms feel “bad enough” to seek alcohol counseling. Even if you don’t have an alcohol use disorder diagnosis, you may benefit from speaking with a mental health professional with experience in treating addictions.

Specifically, people who may benefit from alcohol counseling include:

No matter how severe or mild your symptoms may be, alcohol counseling can help. 

How Do You Know if You Have a Problem? 

According to NIAAA, an alcohol use disorder is a condition where you can’t stop drinking alcohol — or reduce your consumption — without help.  

Signs of an alcohol use disorder include: 

If you experience one or more of the above issues, it doesn’t automatically mean you have a substance use problem; it does, however, indicate that you could benefit from speaking with a counselor or doctor.

Medical professionals diagnose substance use disorders. You can start by speaking with a general practitioner, who could screen you for alcohol use disorder or direct you to someone who can. 

What Are the First Steps to Getting Help? 

When you’re ready to find help, you may be confused about where to turn. A good first step is to speak with your doctor or primary care provider. They can assess your drinking patterns and begin to create a treatment plan. 

Other first steps may include:

Alcohol use disorder treatment usually starts with detoxing from alcohol, Gaver says. 

“Alcohol withdrawal can be deadly. If someone has become physically dependent on ethyl alcohol, there is a risk of seizures and other dire side effects from withdrawal,” he says. “A person should have a medical assessment before taking other action, including stopping cold turkey.”

Gaver explains that, for heavy drinkers, it’s important to detox under medical supervision. Detoxing can be done in a hospital or an inpatient treatment program. A general doctor and/or psychiatrist may prescribe medications to help you manage the withdrawal symptoms.  

Common alcohol withdrawal symptoms include:

In more severe cases, you may experience delirium tremens (DTs). The symptoms of DT include:

If you need immediate help, call the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) helpline at 800-662-HELP (4357). This helpline is free, confidential, and available 24/7. 

Although safely detoxing is an important part of alcohol use disorder treatment, it doesn’t directly address the causes of your alcohol use. Alcohol counseling helps you address these underlying issues and learn to cope in healthier ways.  

Find an alcohol abuse counselor

Get started

“Once stabilized, either with or without a medically supported detoxification process, the person should consider other helpful treatments for alcoholism including a therapist, a support group, an inpatient or outpatient program based on their doctor’s assessment, and family support,” Gaver says.

It’s best to look for a mental health care professional with experience and/or specific training in addressing addiction, substance use, or alcoholism. You can find addiction or substance use counselors using Grow Therapy’s search tool.

Which Therapy Is Most Suitable for Alcoholism? 

Although many types of therapy can be used to address alcohol dependence, alcohol counseling usually involves elements of behavioral therapy. Behavioral therapy looks at harmful patterns in your thinking and behavior, thus helping you make positive decisions. 

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is one of the most well-known and widely studied types of behavioral therapy and is often used to treat substance use disorders. Acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT), dialectic behavioral therapy (DBT), and motivational interviewing, are often used as well.

Many therapists who offer alcohol counseling services use an eclectic approach, drawing from various therapeutic techniques to treat their patients. 

What to Expect in an Alcohol Counseling Session

Alcohol counseling sessions differ depending on your counselor’s therapeutic approach and your unique needs. Counseling often involves discussing your thoughts, feelings, and experiences and your counselor asking questions to help you reflect a little deeper. 

Where needed, your alcohol counselor may also refer you to other professionals or resources when necessary — for example, a doctor or social worker.

With any counseling, a person can expect to face one of the greatest and most rewarding experiences of their life: themselves”

- Clint Gaver, LMFT

Alcohol counseling can bring up a lot of difficult feelings. “When we turn our eyeballs inward, maybe for the first time, we often don’t like what we see,” Gaver says. “When we are willing to do the work soberly, honestly, and with humility, transformation occurs.”

It’s normal to feel self-conscious or nervous before therapy. But remember that your counselor is trained to provide nonjudgmental, compassionate support to people in your position. 

How Many Sessions Does Alcohol Counseling Take?

Alcohol counseling varies in length. Gaver says that factors like the severity of your symptoms and the therapist’s approach can affect how many sessions you need.

But the most important factor, Gaver adds, is how motivated you are. If you enter therapy committed to change, you may see faster results. “With an addict, these considerations affect the time in treatment if they are stuck in the contemplation or preparation stages of change – especially if they are still using, drinking, or repeating any compulsive behavior,” he says.

How to Find Alcohol Counseling Near Me

First of all, well done on deciding to reach out for help. Whether you’re seeking treatment for yourself or a loved one, this is an excellent step.

Grow Therapy makes it easier to find local alcohol counselors that will suit your needs. Our search tool lets you find vetted mental healthcare practitioners who take your insurance.

To find alcohol counseling near you, click the Find a Therapist button at the top of our page, or visit this link.

You can choose between virtual care (online therapy) and in-person care (face-to-face therapy). If you’d like, you can use Grow Therapy’s options to filter therapists by their availability and gender, identities, and more.  

When you find a therapist that resonates with you, book a session directly through our platform and begin your journey to recovery.

Frequently Asked Questions

About the author
isbell oliva garcia grow therapy Isbell Oliva-Garcia, LMHC

Isbell Oliva-Garcia is a licensed mental health counselor, bilingual in English and Spanish. Isbell specializes in women's issues during difficult times of transition and also works with front-line individuals struggling with PTSD or stressors created by the job.

This article is not meant to be a replacement for medical advice. We recommend speaking with a therapist for personalized information about your mental health. If you don’t currently have a therapist, we can connect you with one who can offer support and address any questions or concerns. If you or your child is experiencing a medical emergency, is considering harming themselves or others, or is otherwise in imminent danger, you should dial 9-1-1 and/or go to the nearest emergency room.

x icon linked-in icon facebook icon instagram icon