I have been working with a young woman named Amber who disclosed to me that someone in her family had been in a very serious car accident, and that it was triggering her to want to drink alcohol, which was a way she coped with stress in the past.
Amber and I sat in a private space and explored the different feelings she was experiencing in regards to the accident. I listened carefully and acknowledged her feelings, making sure Amber knew it was natural to have these feelings and thoughts. Amber spoke about part of her wanting to go have some drinks. At times we sat in silence together, as Amber appeared to be processing a great deal.
Focusing on her strengths, I spoke with Amber about all the fantastic qualities that she has that would help her choose how to react to the incident in a way that promotes her well-being.
Amber used her problem solving skills to identify that drinking alcohol was a quick fix that would feel good for a while, but that it would not change what happened, and that drinking would probably make her feel worse later. Instead, Amber decided that she would spend some time alone acknowledging her feelings towards the incident in her room, and then later go catch up with a good friend. Amber identified that leaning on her support network was a great way to cope with a very difficult time.
I praised Amber for taking control of her reactions and behaviours. I kept an eye on her for the rest of the night in order to provide support if needed. I also notified the team leader, so that all staff would be able to support Amber emotionally over the coming days.
I felt very privileged to be able to have this conversation with Amber. My main role was to support her to use her problem solving skills, and support her to feel more empowered in her ability to choose how to react. Given the severity of the situation and her drinking history, Amber did an amazing job!