The cognitive therapy approach to alcoholism treatment is not concerned with analysing your childhood, or finding out if you have an ‘addictive personality‘, nor does it force you into a one-size-fits-all step by step solution, like Alcoholics Anonymous does.
An alcohol problem is not just a habitual behaviour, but also a habitual way of thinking. So the cognitive approach to treatment offers you a way of understanding how your thoughts influence your feelings, and how both of these might cause your problems. You can begin to see what the individual elements are which make up your addiction.
Once you’re more informed about yourself (rather than just acting on auto-pilot – the ‘habit’), then you can make changes in the way you think about your life, about yourself, about alcohol. But only the changes that you choose to make, because at the end of the day you know yourself better than any counsellor or therapist does.
There are many techniques and strategies which have been found to help – ways of changing your habits, and you will be given some suggestions to guide you. But therapy is about helping you develop your own strengths so you can solve your problems. It’s not about being given a set of answers, it’s about discovering your own.
You will probably want to make changes to your other behaviour too – modifications to your lifestyle so that you can deal with anxiety, ease your depression, or cope with stress a bit more easily. So that you can relax without a drink, so you can find healthier, more productive ways to spend your time.
As a combined approach, counselling and cognitive therapy deal with the internal aspects of your addiction and will help you to change your behaviour too.