The company referred Paul* to me given that I specialize in substance abuse and anger management issues. Paul said he believes he gets into fights due to his long- standing habit of drinking in bars and starting confrontations. He explained that most of his friends and significant others have had issues with drugs and/or alcohol.
At the beginning of my work with Paul, we carefully reviewed what happened during this incident and similar past incidents, including step-by-step analyses of what led to the confrontations. After a couple of visits, Paul disclosed that he has abused opiates for a number of years. I referred Paul to a couple of excellent outpatient substance abuse facilities and encouraged him to chose one and set up an intake appointment.
Paul returned for follow-up sessions, completed the intake appointment, and attended outpatient treatment for 4 months and an aftercare group for 1 year. He explored AA meetings in his area and found a meeting that was upbeat and positive regarding recovery. This was the first time Paul had ever attended treatment or 12 step meetings despite years of alcohol and opiate abuse. He was rather reserved in group meetings, and it took him awhile to open up in group. Eventually, he shared that his alcohol problem led to an arrest and a short jail sentence. He was concerned the group would judge him, but to his surprise…they were very supportive of Paul’s sharing how alcohol abuse had negatively affected his life.
Throughout Paul’s time in treatment and counseling, which continues to this day, Paul often discusses his remorse about what happened and the origins of his maladaptive behavior.
*Not his real name