Skip to main content

A Therapist’s Story of Addiction Recovery

By March 27, 2024No Comments
Staff Photo

A Therapist’s Story of Addiction Recovery

Learning Healthy Emotional Regulation Skills

Written by Find Reason Therapy’s Counsellor Heath Gerrard

“Why does everything that’s supposed to be bad make me feel so good?” – Kanye West, from his song ‘Addiction.’

From the moment I took my first swig of beer and toke of a joint at the tender age of 16, it lit me up like a Christmas tree. The darkness disappeared, as did the fear and emptiness that had been a constant companion since childhood. Any and all uncomfortable thoughts and niggling worries could be brushed aside with ease – I felt good, I felt free, and, most importantly, I felt I had found the panacea to my troubled mind and the confusing world around me… or so I thought.

I continued to use drugs and alcohol excessively on an almost daily basis to numb, escape, avoid, and distract until I crawled into a rehab at 34, truly defeated and with nowhere else to turn. Using had promised me the world and seemed like the answer to all my problems, but in the end, they just made things a whole lot worse.

Now, I know one of the many reasons I ended up in such a pickle was that drugs and alcohol served my misguided attempt to self-soothe and regulate my emotions. Many of us (men particularly) who did not have healthy emotion regulation modelled for us as children will turn to something, usually a harmful and unhelpful substance or self-abandoning behaviour. Chances are, our parents and grandparents were never given the tools, and the cycle of silence and avoidance unwittingly repeats.

What’s your go-to for doing a ‘wheelie from your feelies’? Is it people-pleasing, caretaking, perfectionism, or other process addictions like porn, shopping, or gambling that you have been using to protect yourself from your pain? Or do you stay in flight or fight or shut down to survive?

Maybe you are waking up and starting to realise you have been running on an outdated operating system that isn’t working anymore, and that maybe things can change.


Therapy provides the opportunity for us to reboot and install a new operating system. Almost 11 years on from crawling into that rehab, I am living proof it is never too late to find a new way and that long-lasting change is possible. If you are ready to build a toolkit of healthy emotional regulation skills and feel what you have been running from, including the love that lies underneath, I look forward to hearing from you.

Meet The Team 

Book A Free Discovery Call