The two primary components of opioid addiction treatment are opioid replacement therapy (methadone or suboxone) and behavioral health counseling. Each of these therapeutic interventions address very different aspects of one’s addiction. And one intervention, without the other, is generally not sufficient to promote lasting recovery from opioid addiction. Both must work in unison to produce meaningful, lasting change.
When entering treatment, most clients are initially very focused on their physiological dependency to opioids and the associated withdrawal symptoms that emerge when their drug supply runs out. Recurrent opioid withdrawal takes priority over most all other considerations. Consequently, addicted people place much emphasis on their methadone dose due to its ability to provide relief from painful opioid withdrawal. There is such a clear connection between methadone dosing and symptom relief that clients often assume that dosing alone is the complete answer to their addiction problem.
However, this is a false & inaccurate conclusion. Real recovery involves not just the absence of withdrawal symptoms, but deliberate changes in thinking, attitude, and behavior. Without improvements in these areas, a majority of clients will relapse again and again, and consequently be unable to sustain progress over time.
There is an old saying in the recovery field that goes “You can’t go back to being the same person you were … because that person became addicted.” What is meant by this is that one cannot afford to remain stuck with the same old ways of thinking and living. It was those old ways that led down the addiction path. In order to experience lasting quality recovery, one must adopt new approaches to living and coping with life. It is the development of these new approaches, skills, and tools that will allow a person to deal with life using healthy methods … instead of drugs.
Counseling not only teaches key skills for managing life, but aids clients in developing inner resources that will empower them to achieve new things that were previously not attainable. Many clients dedicated to personal recovery become much more complete people, more capable, and ultimately more satisfied. Addiction sucks the life out of individuals day by day, but recovery brings people back in contact with life & opportunity, and opens doors that were previously shut tight. Counseling is an extremely important piece of the recovery puzzle. Counseling facilitates positive change and positive results.
Use counseling to learn more about yourself. It will allow you to become better educated on managing the disease of addiction, and it will strengthen you in numerous ways, if you let it.