Every client who enters a methadone treatment program has a unique set of family circumstances. He or she may be disconnected from their family, or alternatively, living at home with numerous extended family members all around. Whatever the situation, a methadone client must determine who should be informed about their decision to choose opioid replacement therapy.
The range of family responses can be surprising in regard to starting methadone treatment. Some family are relieved & hopeful that their loved one is finally getting help. Other members may not be well-informed about methadone and quickly adopt a critical opinion. Still others approach the decision from a strictly financial point-of-view, and assess the treatment decision based on its cost.
For methadone clients, it may become important for your family to gain an education on opioid replacement therapy, and to understand its benefits & risks. Families often experience considerable stress around addiction issues, and this stress can build over time while chipping away at family relationships. Addicted people need time to recover and to properly orient themselves again to a new life. Similarly, family also need time to deal with hurt feelings, fear, guilt, and even anger.
Methadone clinics provide education and counseling on a wide range of addiction and recovery issues. If you are a methadone client with involved family or friends, ask your counselor about having a family session. It is extremely helpful for your loved one to walk into the clinic and meet the staff. Many family have no idea what a methadone clinic is like and may harbor fears about the other clients or the methadone program itself. Usually after meeting clinic staff, the ice is broken in a matter of minutes, and family can see that caring professionals are there to support their loved in becoming drug free and in living a healthy life.
Our clinic once had a female client who elected to not tell her mother for one year that she had been participating in methadone treatment. She feared her mother would become upset. In that one year, the client's life changed dramatically with very obvious improvements. She decided to then tell her mother how methadone had made such a difference in getting her life sorted out. Instead of becoming upset, her mother hugged her and told her how proud she was of her. The client invited her mother to the clinic where she met all of the methadone staff that had been involved in her daughter's recovery that first year. It was a beautiful moment, and one which meant so much to the client.
The client progressed in her recovery and eventually switched over to suboxone before tapering off of opioid replacement completely. And her mother was involved every step of the way in a constant show of support.
Families are a powerful force. Sometimes it is better to proceed without direct family involvement. At other times, family participation may be exactly what is needed. No two situations are just alike so it comes down to the individual client, and what he or she feels is most fitting for their needs. Whatever the decision in regard to family, treatment staff are there for education, counseling, and support. Recovery usually occurs within the context of one's family, friends, coworkers, church or community. Recovery is about reconnecting with oneself, and with others. It may be just one other person that makes the difference.