Counseling, therapy and life coaching
Wi Awaken
A non-profit charitable organization
700 North Pine Street
PO Box 189
Burlington, Wi. 53105-0755
Our counseling staff consists of master’s and doctorate level therapists
trained in areas including, but not limited to, depression, mood
disorders, personality disorders, adjustment disorders, trauma, anger
management, substance abuse, addictions, Collaborative Divorce, divorce/separation and
parenting support. 

Make an Appointment or ask a Question: [email protected]

Our clinicians are skilled in helping you piece together a support system that meets your unique needs. We take a holistic approach to addiction treatment which includes individual, group, family counseling, mental health and drug/alcohol abuse education, colaboration with other professionals if needed, and coping skills including mindfulness and breathwork to promote physical and emotional wellbeing. 

If you or a family member is experiencing substance abuse or addiction behaviors, please contact us for more information about our addiction services

Contact Us

Supportive, confidential to help you cope with addiction in a caring, non-judmental environment

Addictive and Problematic Compulsive Behavior

What is substance abuse and addiction?

There are many definitions of substance abuse and addiction; These range from inability to control use and failing to function in primary roles such as family, work, and social relationships to life threatening withdrawal.  Definitions can be problematic. Some individuals will deny the existence or seriousness of their problem because the definition doesn't exactly fit while others will over identify with the definition internalizing the label resulting in feelings of shame and hopelessness; changing who we believe we are is more difficult then changing problematic behavior.

Substance use disorders result in the individual developing an unhealthy relationship with the substance.  The unhealthy relationship will continue despite negative consequences.  An individual that hasn't developed an unhealthy relationship will change the behaviors that lead to negative consequences.  For those individuals who have developed an unhealthy relationship with substances the following  symptoms may be seen:

  • Lying about their use or the consequences of use
  • Getting angry to protect their use when they are confronted (so to avoid the consequences of use)
  • Sneaking use (to protect the use)
  • Making promises to control and quit using
  • Putting relationships in jeopardy - often with family and friends (the individual battling addiction gives the substance priority over relationships)
  • Encircling themselves with others that use normalizing their behavior (no longer associating with non-users or cutting down their contact)
  • Giving up on activities they previously enjoyed if the substance won't be around (refusing to go to a restaurant that doesn't serve alcohol)
  • Developing tolerance (needing increasing amounts of the substance to obtain the desired effective)
  • Substance use results in high risk behaviors such as unprotected sex, drunk driving, and needle sharing
  • Neglecting responsibilities in order to sustain substance use (diverting money away from obligations such as rent and food)
 Can repetitive behaviors be called addiction?

Behaviors like gambling, internet use, video gaming, pornography, shopping, hoarding, and sex can result in compulsive behaviors consistent with addiction.
These behaviors can lead to negative consequences just as substance use disorders can.  When these behaviors become problematic symptoms similar to those seen with substance abuse disorders are seen:

  • Lying about the behavior
  • Sneaking in order to engage in the behavior
  • Getting defensive when the behavior is discussed or challenged
  • Promising to quit or cut down
  • Giving up previously enjoyed activities
  • Increase in tolerance (engaging in activity increases from one hour to three hours)
  • Neglecting needs of others (attention, money, and safety)
  • Failing to meet other obligations (not completing homework, engaging in behaviors at work, spending money)

Is there treatment that leads to Recovery?

There are many treatment paths available to individuals that want to recover.  No particular treatment path works for everyone.  Treatment is individualized based on multiple factors including severity of the behavior, individual needs, resources, social network, strengths and challenges, age, environment and so forth.  The goal of treatment is recovery.  Recovery means that the individual can return to normal function, or, as we often to see, a higher level of functioning than when they were engaging in the self-defeating behavior. 

The treatment plan can include traditional therapy in the form of individual sessions, group therapy sessions, individual and group educational activities, couples and family counseling and use of a recovery coach.  Peer support is an important component of recovery and is found groups such as 12 step meetings, Men for Sobriety, Women for Sobriety, Smart Recovery, and other self-help groups.  Other activities that have proven beneficial in the recovery process include reading, meditation, breath work, yoga, acupuncture and a range of other activities that promote a healthy sense of wellbeing. When behaviors whether substance related or other compulsive behaviors begin to have a negative impact on an individual's life, an evaluation by a credentialed therapist with specialized training and supervision in that area is required. Clinicians at Wi Awaken are professional with specialized training in the treatment of individuals with abusive and addictive behaviors.