Compassionate Acceptance


 Glenn Bigonet, M.A.

Mental Health Counselor

Certified EFT  Therapist





Substance Abuse & Addictions


Many faces of the same disease

The disease of addiction has many faces:

  • Alcoholism
  • Drug Addiction
  • Compulsive Gambling
  • Sex Addiction
  • Compulsive Eating
  • Food Addiction
  • Workaholism
  • Compulsive Shopping
  • Codependency
  • etc

In the end it is all the same disease acted out in different ways.  In fact, non-substance related addictive behaviors can damage the brain in the same way as drug addiction.  In one study they took Cat Scans of the brains of crack addicts and compared them to Cat Scans of compulsive gamblers.  The damaged sections of the brain and the severity of the damage were almost identical even though the compulsive gamblers never used crack cocaine.  The level of dysfunction that addiction can cause an individual can vary from mild social and/or professional problems to complete loss of control causing the individual to lose everything meaningful to him or her.


When is it Substance Abuse and Not Addiction?

Sometimes we have troubles with certain substances or behaviors and never develop an addiction to them.  We don't need it every day but when we do it we lose control.   An example of this pattern is the drinker who can go weeks without a drink but when he drinks he is unable to stop until he passes out or gets sick.  Substance abuse of this sort can result in the same catastrophic results of addiction and often requires counseling to stop the abusive episodes.

12 Step Programs

To date the most successful treatment for substance abuse and addiction are 12 step programs such as

12 Step Programs are Often Not Enough

Although they are the most effective form of treatment the success rate is still fairly low as they fall short of dealing with and addressing all aspects of this disease.  As an example, AA and NA fail to mention nor address Post Acute Withdrawal Syndrome which is the most common reason for relapse among addicts and alcoholics.

My Approach to Substance Abuse & Addictions

I see substance abuse and addictive behavior as a way of coping with things that we don't know how to manage.  Often the addictive behavior is an effective coping mechanism with horrible side effects.   My approach is to combine education of the disease including recovery techniques with an exploration of what the substance abuse/addiction is doing for the individual.  Once we are able to identify why you are using, I provide new healthier copings skills to help you learn to manage without having to go back to the old harmful addictive patterns. 

Copyright © 2014   Glenn Bigonet, M.A.
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