What is a Drug & Alcohol Counselor?

Unfortunately, drug and alcohol abuse is an epidemic all over the world. Many people addicted to alcohol or drugs also have mental and behavioural problems which need to be addressed.

Drug & alcohol counselors are trained professionals who work with clients to help them better understand and overcome their addictions. To do this job well, one has to love working with and helping people. As a result, many addicts will be able to reclaim their lives and finally overcome their addictions. While it can be a tough job, it can be a rewarding one as well.

What does a Drug & Alcohol Counselor do?

Drug & alcohol counselors provide the assistance needed to overcome destructive behaviour by offering their clients support, rehabilitation, and guidance. Using various methods, they help to expose the root cause of the addiction, which can be a positive step on the road to recovery.

A drug & alcohol counselor talking with people in a group setting.

Drug & alcohol counselors meet with their clients either one on one, or in group settings. They educate and develop treatment plans to help them better cope with their addictive personalities. Periodically, counselors will do an assessment to determine how much progress has been made towards recovery.

Typically, counselors work within a rigid program structure as determined by their employer. These programs are often implemented by facility managers and chiefs of staff. For example, the twelve step program may be used to treat alcohol addiction at a particular hospital or treatment facility where a counselor is employed.

Counselors seek to find what triggers an addict's behaviour in order to help them eliminate such triggers from their life. They take detailed notes which helps to form a better understanding of each person's unique situation. They ask appropriate questions and offer advice as to which approach is best for treating a particular problem. A drug & alcohol counselor is trained to recognize attitudinal barriers which may inhibit a person's ability to successfully overcome their addiction. They then work to help their clients remove those barriers.

Drug & abuse counselors also teach how to best prevent a relapse. They do this by developing a strategy to help the person manage their problems in the best way possible. Helping them to understand the signs and symptoms of their addictive behaviour can often prevent an addict from experiencing a total relapse. Ultimately, the goal is to find a course of treatment which will enable a person to finally break free from a destructive pattern and get on with their life.

Counselors also work to increase awareness of drug problems. This often involves writing articles for local newspapers, magazines or blogs, as well as speaking to community groups. Conducting drug education workshops and community outreach programs help to provide information to those who may be reluctant about seeking treatment.

Are you suited to be a drug & alcohol counselor?

Drug & alcohol counselors have distinct personalities. They tend to be social individuals, which means they’re kind, generous, cooperative, patient, caring, helpful, empathetic, tactful, and friendly. They excel at socializing, helping others, and teaching. Some of them are also artistic, meaning they’re creative, intuitive, sensitive, articulate, and expressive.

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What is the workplace of a Drug & Alcohol Counselor like?

A drug & alcohol counselor works in a variety of settings. Institutionalized settings are very common, such as prisons, hospitals, halfway houses, and drug treatment centres.

While private sector work is readily available, many drug & alcohol counselors work for the government through health departments and welfare agencies.

This career can be very frustrating, as many people who receive treatment eventually relapse. High caseloads are also common, particularly for counselors that work in government.

Drug & Alcohol Counselors are also known as:
Drug and Alcohol Counselor Drug and Alcohol Counsellor Substance Abuse Counselor Chemical Dependency Counselor Addictions Counselor Certified Drug and Alcohol Counselor Substance Abuse and Behavioral Disorder Counselor