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Details on What It’s Like to be a Drug and Alcohol Addiction Counselor

Estimated reading time: 4 minutes

You’ve reached a new chapter in your life where you’re now considering a new career path. Whether you just recently graduated from high school, or are just looking for a new path in life, you’ve been considering becoming an addict counselor. Maybe you’ve suffered from addiction yourself or have seen ones you love suffer from it and are ready to make a difference.

No matter what your reasons are, you’ll be appreciated by many. Not only will those who you’re helping benefit from this career decision, but you’ll benefit from it as well. Interested in knowing all the details on what it’s like to be a drug and alcohol addiction counselor?

Continue reading below to learn more!

What Is a Substance Abuse/Addiction Counselor?

Substance abuse and addiction counseling is a career where a counselor works with people suffering from drug or alcohol addiction. It’s the counselor’s job to help these individuals recover from their addiction. Although a counselor’s job is to focus on the addiction itself mostly, counselors also work towards addressing any related issues.

These issues can range from mental health, social, job-related, and emotional issues. Counselors have an understanding that addiction is a disease, and they know that with the right treatment, time, and intervention sessions, it is treatable. It should also be understood that not all treatments work well for every addict. Treatment plans are individualized to help that specific person recover. 

What Does an Addiction Counselor Do? 

An addiction counselor first comes in during the intervention stage or sooner. It’s his or her job to assess the addiction issue and determines any other circumstances that might aid in the addiction and recovery. Because every addict’s situation is different, it’s the counselor’s job to help implement a unique treatment plan designed for each individual addict. 

The level of addiction, a person’s age, the family or support system that they have, the type of drugs they’re addicted to, and any legal requirements are all taken into consideration when putting together a plan. A counselor might implement a plan through one of the following:

  • Individual Therapy Services
  • Group Therapy Services
  • Treatment Classes 

Each method has its own benefits and a counselor will help decide which one is best for each addict. 

What is the Future Like for Addiction Counselors?

According to the BLS, Addiction counseling is one of the fastest-growing fields in mental health. Unfortunately, this fast growth is due to the struggle of addiction that so many people are faced with. Another reason why this field is ever-growing is because many insurance policies may include covering the costs.  Many addicts are now seeking treatment because they can afford it when before they couldn’t. 

How Much do Addiction Counselors Make?

As with any job, the location of your job its cost of living, work experience, and total education will play a factor.  What’s most important is the joy you receive from helping someone and seeing them make it through their personal struggles and land themselves on a journey to recovery and improved health. That aspect of the job is priceless.

What Makes a Good Addiction Counselor?

To be a successful counselor, you will need good listening skills, and you’ll need tons of genuine compassion. These skills will be needed to create a solid foundation of trust between the counselor and the addict. Mutual trust is essential for an addict to succeed in a program.

This is why so many successful counselors were once addicts themselves or are close to someone who is or was an addict. Because of this personal connection, counselors are able to fully empathize with the addicts understand exactly where they are coming from, and show them that they can relate. 

A good counselor is also someone who can help with diagnosis and then help treat any mental health conditions that may be co-occurring. In this position, a counselor must have the desire to truly help others.  

What Are the Educational Requirements for Addiction Counselors? 

Addiction counselor’s educational requirements vary. In some states, entry-level work can be completed by those just graduating from high school with some on-the-job training. Although someone without a master’s degree in the field won’t be considered an actual counselor, it’s a good way to get your foot in the door. 

To be an addiction counselor, you’ll typically need a master’s degree in counseling, social work, psychology, or another closely related field. There is a great focus on addiction, but there’s also a good amount of focus on counseling techniques and human behavior. To begin the process, you could complete a program where you’ll learn the basic skills needed to treat addiction and then use this as a solid base for continuing education. 

What Are You Waiting For? Start Your Journey Today!

Now that you know what it takes to become and be an addiction counselor, what’s holding you back? Start your journey towards becoming an addiction counselor today by checking out what certificate and degree programs we have to offer you. You know just how important it is to help someone on the road to recovery and help change their life.

Whether you’ve been through it yourself or you’ve watched a loved one go through it, you know how hard addiction is to fight. If you are ready to stand up and help fight the battle of alcohol and substance abuse, Contact us today to get started!

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