How To Give Back By Helping Others With Substance Abuse Disorders
Drug and alcohol addiction are serious chronic health disorders that affect millions of people every year. As addiction treatment centers attract more clients who need help with substance abuse disorders, there is an increased demand for certified addiction counselors.
Learning how to become an addiction counselor can help you contribute to people’s mental, physical and spiritual health in recovery. As an addiction counselor, you’ll directly impact an individual’s life through the work that you can achieve in the fields of drug addiction and alcohol addiction recovery.
Many people working as an addiction counselor were at some time in their lives addicted to drugs or alcohol themselves. Addiction counselors who are in recovery are often the most empathetic and understanding people working in the field of substance use disorder treatment.
By helping others with substance abuse disorders, addiction counselors who remain in recovery can give back and contribute to society in a way that many people can’t. With a unique perspective on drug addiction or alcohol addiction, an addiction counselor who’s been through treatment and is in recovery also gets to enter a growing healthcare field and follow a personally rewarding career path.
What Is a Drug Addiction Counselor?
A drug addiction counselor works with people from various backgrounds who have acquired an addiction to drugs or alcohol. This type of counselor works as a mental health advisor specializing in treating individuals who have become dependent on drugs or alcohol.
As a drug addiction counselor, you’ll work closely with your clients, listening to them explain their problems and what leads them to take part in their addictive behaviors. As an addiction counselor, your job entails discussing with patients how they can achieve long-lasting recovery, such as 12-step programs, learning coping mechanisms, creating treatment plans, and leading group therapy sessions.
Steps To Becoming an Alcohol and Drug Addiction Counselor
There are specific steps to take in learning how to become an addiction counselor. You’ll need to become licensed or certified in substance abuse counseling, and the requirements for this can differ, depending upon the state you live in.
You’ll need to graduate with a particular type of degree, engage in a specific curriculum of study, and acquire a certain number of credits in your school of choice to start. After graduating with the appropriate credentials, you will have to apply for accreditation, gain some clinical experience, perform internships and take licensing exams.
To better understand if you’re studying the right curriculum and meeting the appropriate requirements, you’ll need to plan for your future in this career before entering an academic program. It will help if you know where you’ll be working as an addiction counselor after graduation. You can then research the state you’re considering working in and their licensing or certification requirements to become a counselor in the drug addiction or alcohol addiction fields.
It’s also a good idea to speak with an addiction counselor who works in your neighborhood or community. They will be able to give you some additional insights into how to become an addiction counselor.
The Benefits of People in Recovery Working in Addiction Treatment
Although you don’t have to be a person in recovery to work in addiction treatment, there are some benefits to having had personal experience with substance abuse.
One of the focuses of 12-Steps programs is to relay the message of recovery to others. As someone in recovery who becomes an addiction counselor, you’d be fulfilling the goals of your 12-Step program.
As an addiction counselor, you would be a personal role model, showing clients that recovery is possible and offering them hope and inspiration.
As someone in recovery, you’re also more familiar with actual substance use, including its effects and the experiences you’ve had. This experience invites trust and can establish a quick rapport with someone in treatment for substance use disorder.
Individuals who are seeking addiction recovery often want to speak with a person who’s been through treatment and recovery themselves. An addiction counselor with this type of experience can help others when this type of support is most needed.
If you or a loved one needs help with abuse and/or treatment, please call the WhiteSands Treatment at (877) 855-3470. Our addiction specialists can assess your recovery needs and help you get the addiction treatment that provides the best chance for your long-term recovery.