#145 – Episode 145 – Getting The Right Kind Of Help


In all our episodes we encourage you to ‘get help’ for an alcohol problem. Today we want to clarify what kinds of help to look for. What questions to ask a therapist, how to find a rehab and what to beware of when you join online programs.

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What This Episode Is About

Be discerning, ask questions. – Veronica Valli

For a long time, both online and in the real world, I’ve seen people set up all kinds of therapeutic or sober services with absolutely no qualifications or experience.

What ends up happening is that people seeking sobriety pay for these programs and services but then end up feeling short-changed and sometimes leave worse off than they started.

To accompany you on your sobriety journey, in this episode we’re offering a guide to help you figure out what is the right kind of help for you and what to look for when choosing a program or provider.

The main sobriety support offerings include therapy, rehab, peer-led groups, and coaching. Where you live, your financial circumstances and the type of insurance you have are the main factors that can impact your ability to access these services.

For most people, a combination of these services is the best path to sustainable sobriety as having ongoing support is critical throughout your recovery journey.

Unfortunately, in most places, the healthcare systems don’t place a premium on this but instead focus on short-term solutions like rehab stays of 30 days or less, or a short run of sessions with a therapist not of your choosing.

For somebody who hasn’t isn’t above a certain financial threshold, your choices are so limited. – Chip Somers

When resources are limited, online offerings can often provide much-needed support. But be aware that a social media presence and a really flashy website only mean that people are very good at marketing.

Be discerning about that wherever you go and get your support.

Let’s break down the key things to think about.



Throughout our podcast episodes we keep saying get help and what we mean is finding a therapist of some kind.

Going to see a therapist with no experience in addiction can actually be counterproductive and you will likely get some bad advice.

Most of us are carrying a lot of trauma, dysfunction, and very deep issues. Those sorts of issues should not be dealt with by an amateur.

I don’t care how long your sobriety is, it doesn’t give you the resources, knowledge, or expertise to deal with very difficult, delicate subjects. They need to be dealt with by a professional. – Chip Somers

When you’re looking for a therapist the two most important factors are that they’re licensed or accredited with the appropriate bodies in your area and they have a very good understanding of addiction.

Key points for you to consider:

  • Think about what questions you’d like to ask the therapist and write them down before you see them
  • Don’t be afraid to go to your first session with a list of questions and get answers. Ask them directly whether they have experience working with people with addiction problems
  • A good therapist will also be able to refer you to further services, such as someone who can prescribe if you need that
  • If you’re paying for a therapist, you always have a choice. It usually takes a couple of sessions to click with a therapist but if after a while you really don’t feel like you’re a good fit, it’s okay to go and find somebody else


Online programs

Nowadays you can access hundreds of thousands of people very quickly with zero qualifications. – Chip Somers

With the rise of social media, support services have become much more accessible and the stigma associated with sobriety and addiction has become much less prominent. The shadow side of that ease of accessibility is the multitude of people with no relevant qualifications or experience offering sobriety support.

The first thing is to discern between what is really good marketing and what is an appropriate program or service.

Key points for you to consider:

  • Do not buy services, workshops, or programs from anyone who doesn’t have the qualifications to deliver what they’re offering
  • On its own, someone getting sober is not enough to help you get sober
  • If you’re going to work with someone who’s a coach, make sure that they’ve done at least a 6 – 12 month solid qualification and that they’ve had some qualified supervised practice.


Peer groups and Peer-support services

One of the pillars of sustainable sobriety is to have a community of sober people.

Peer-led support can be immensely valuable but you need to be clear about what your expectations are and what you’re going to get from them.

But as a place where you can go, without having to pay, and meet people who can help you and guide you and tell you what they did, these groups are essential.

Key points for you to consider:

  • It’s important to recognize that there’s only so far you can get with that type of support because you’re amongst peers, many of whom are only a bit further along than you are
  • Make sure there’s some professional expert help in the group too, whether therapists or others who are qualified and experienced to do so
  • Understand that peer support is one level and at some point, you’re going to have to do the deeper work on the emotional roots of why you drank abusively in the first place, which requires working with a professional of some kind

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