Do you worry sometimes that your use of a substance - be it alcohol, marijuana or cocaine - is getting out of hand? Are other people always telling you you've got to do something about it or else...? But you are not sure that they are right, or that there is a problem.
Perhaps you have listened to advice from others and gone to a 12 step meeting. Does this mean that you are an "alcoholic", and will be for the rest of your life? That you have a disease, and that complete abstinence is your only hope? If this makes sense to you, and, however hard it is, it is working for you, then that is wonderful, and I will support you in any way I can.
But if you are struggling with whether this is the right appproach for you, I offer something called "Harm Reduction". Although this is still an unusual idea in Southern California, it is increasingly accepted as the way to go with substance abuse issues both in Europe and Canada.
Together we look at all your options. We explore your use in a nonjudgmental atmosphere. There is no need for confrontation. We look at all the ways your substance use helps you as well as harms you. The early focus of the work is on safety, both yours and that of others. Then we move on to what, if anything, you want to change, and how you want to do it. Your final choices might indeed involve AA and abstinence, but they will be your choices, and you get to decide what is right for you.