Category Archives: Recovery

Lifestyle Change and Responsible Behavior

drug-treatment-opiate-addictionPeople facing addictive disease cover a wide variety of maturity levels, individual capabilities, and in their level of desire for sober lives. What I mean is that some are further along in their mindset and are really ready to live drug free. They embrace the challenge, and they recognize that some work lies ahead in order to get their life properly sorted out.

Others are sometimes only motivated by the present crisis. They do the right thing only long enough to avert the crisis, and then they’re back to old behavior and old attitudes like they didn’t miss a beat. They straighten up just long enough to avoid probation revocation. They may stop using and “make nice” with a loved one as long as it takes to get some money or a favor, and then it’s back to addict behavior.

With opiate addiction, people from all walks of life can develop a problem – from the chronic troublemaker to the person who never gave anyone a hard time. Opiate addiction covers the whole spectrum of humanity and knows no boundaries. I have treated doctors, dentists, and lawyers … grandparents … church members … teachers … and teens. This diverse group of people had one thing in common. That’s right. Addiction.

While long term recovery is available to every person, only some get clean & sober. Why is this? The answer has much to do with whether a person has an innate desire to change, whether they are teachable and open, and sometimes whether their conscience is awake. Addiction, and the unique behavioral traits that often surround it, make people resistant to change. They resist doing the things that lead to stability, sobriety, and success. Like a seriously overweight person who keeps overeating or a stage 4 diabetic who won’t leave the doughnuts and cookies alone.

Addicts can cycle in and out of rehabs, in and out of jobs, and in and out of relationships. They become the drama that disrupts family life. The phone call at 3:00 a.m. that wakes the children. The examples are endless and they all lead to the same destination … which is pain, loss, failure. Or, as they say in NA: jails, institutions, or death.

Each addiction is a journey as is each individual recovery. There are bumps in the road and a multitude of wrong turns. But there is learning. Hopefully, humility develops and the willingness to follow a new path that involves the guidance & support of others who know more. Addiction is a cunning illness. Trying to fight addiction alone is not a smart decision. It has been shown repeatedly that those who make it typically seek help. Treatment is help. Treatment provides the needed support, feedback, and essential tools for repairing one’s life. Opiate addiction is a powerful trap. Make no mistake though. People do recover … and go on to exciting and enriched lives. Do not stay stuck. Reach out for help in your local community.

Recovery From Heroin Addiction Helps Parenting

methadone-clinic-7When a parent enters treatment for opioid addiction and begins methadone dosing, hopefully that person embraces the recovery process and the resumption of certain responsibilities that may have been neglected during addiction.

Many parents in addiction live with a sense of regret and shame over not always being there for their children. Opiate addiction is particularly brutal and can derail a person’s priorities for extended periods of time. Families can suffer, and their bonds strained to the limit for years because of drug addiction.

When a parent begins to find true recovery and is able to take an honest look at their life, they recognize how their mistakes affected others – most often their families and particularly their children.

Effective parenting requires a notable combination of talents & abilities – obviously love mixed with patience, availability, consistency, and attention. These qualities suffer and are diminished for a majority of addicted parents when drugs are in control. As the years roll on while a parent remains in active addiction, their children may develop behavior problems, experience depression or rage, or feel lonely or abandoned. Facing this damage can be very hard for a parent in early recovery. Trying to resume the role of an “active parent” may not be well-received once the kids have endured on their own without supervision or proper care.

Rebuilding trust and good communication will take time. As a parent in recovery, it will require a new commitment from you to your children (and family) to be there when you can and to be honest and genuine. Addicted people have often broken multiple promises to those they love. Family who were lied to or repeatedly disappointed will be in a cautious, protective mode for a long time – perhaps hopeful that Dad is really going to stay sober, yet fearful he will return to drugs and restart the painful cycle all over again.

If you are a parent in recovery, you should have your own support group who can help to nurture you through the transitions and stresses of getting clean & sober and learning to deal with past damage. The path of recovery obviously involves a strong commitment to sober living. Good intentions are important, but real follow-through and demonstrated effort are much more important. It’s not enough to talk-the-talk. You must walk-the-walk if you are to truly succeed in achieving a sober life and recapturing the trust of those who were harmed or neglected.

The good news is that families, and children, often have a remarkable sense of love and willingness to forgive when they see that you are real about your recovery. Recovery changes people from the inside out. It returns people to a better form, and in some instances makes them better than they ever were. These positive changes in attitude, behavior, and lifestyle are visible to others. When they see the real you, the better you – that has evolved during the recovery process – the love, trust, and communication often return and may actually surpass what they once were.

It is important to do the work of recovery and to recognize that you must work on yourself. This is the basis for leaving the past in the past, and moving forward to a better future.

For More On Becoming a Client in a Methadone Program

Methadone Program Profile – Alcohol and Drug Services (ADS)

ads-methadone-treatment2There are many hundreds of methadone clinics in operation across the entire United States. Wherever there is addiction, there are suffering addicts and concerned friends and family in search of answers … and treatment.

Methadone.US would like to profile a highly regarded opioid treatment program located in Greensboro, North Carolina. This program is part of a non-profit substance abuse services agency known as Alcohol and Drug Services (ADS).

ADS has been helping the Guilford County and surrounding Triad community for over 40 years. While ADS offers a range of addiction treatment and drug prevention programs, they excel in the area of treating opioid addiction through a combined use of opioid replacement medication (methadone) and structured counseling.

ADS has achieved CARF accreditation, is licensed by the State of North Carolina’s Division of Health and Human Services, and is an approved Medicaid and multi-MCO authorized provider. But ADS’ most outstanding accomplishment is the depth and quality of their opioid program services and the professionalism of their compassionate & committed staff.

Methadone medication offers safe & effective relief from opioid withdrawal symptoms when properly administered through a quality, structured program. Unfortunately, some methadone clinics are too lite on their counseling and case support components, which are key ingredients in any comprehensive opioid treatment program.

ADS has a longstanding history of helping clients gain a thorough knowledge of their addictive illness and in helping clients to develop valuable coping skills for managing their lives and achieving personal goals. ADS treats indigent and low income patients who might otherwise be unable to pay for methadone services out-of-pocket. The ADS Methadone Program offers psychiatric services, limited medical services, free HIV testing, and substantial case support assistance to help with major issues like housing placement.

Alcohol and Drug Services’ methadone program in Greensboro, NC is comparatively small in relation to some of the local private, for-profit methadone clinics. ADS typically serve between 180-200 active clients.

The organization recently launched a new website to inform the community of their various programs. The website is: www.ADSyes.org. The agency gratefully accepts charitable donations of any amount through their website.

Visit the ADS Blog and the ADS Google + Page

Methadone Treatment Requires Strong Commitment

methadone-treatmentThe decision to utilize methadone dosing to manage opioid withdrawal is a choice that will require considerable personal commitment. As methadone dispensing for opiate addiction occurs within the structure of a methadone clinic, each patient must travel to the clinic daily to check-in and receive their medication in person under supervision.

In addition to the daily commute, one must also make arrangements for payment of their methadone program fee. A majority of methadone programs across the country are private, self-pay programs. Many of them offer a variety of pay plans with a fair number of patients opting to pay their program fee each day when they arrive. That fee generally ranges from $8.00 to $15.00 per day.

There are a considerable number of State and Federally subsidized methadone programs that are funded though medicaid or state dollars earmarked for mental health & substance abuse services. These programs usually have very low fees and some of them actually have no out-of-pocket cost to the patient. As one might imagine, state supported programs usually have a finite number of available openings whereas medicaid generally does not operate with the same caps and can accommodate many more patients. However, qualifying for medicaid is not necessarily easy with healthy adult males typically not meeting eligibility requirements.

While methadone dosing provides effective relief from withdrawal sickness, it’s the counseling component of methadone programs that helps patients develop improved skills and a realistic plan for long term recovery from addiction.

When committing to methadone treatment, patients are most excited about the benefits of methadone medication and its usefulness in eliminating the sickness of opioid withdrawal. But, it’s the participation in group and individual counseling that make the greatest difference in developing a new & improved view of one’s future and the possibilities that lie ahead. Opiate replacement medications like suboxone and methadone are an important piece of the recovery puzzle, but learning to cope with one’s feelings, thoughts, and life circumstances comes from the unique benefits of the counseling experience.

Commitment to counseling and learning new skills are key elements in your pursuit of a drug free, improved life. Methadone and suboxone help to remove the huge obstacle of daily withdrawal sickness. Once that hurdle has been jumped, then one can truly walk the path of recovery and discover the many good things that await along the road of life.

Drug Addiction, Methadone, and Suboxone

suboxone-articleAn article was brought to our attention by Dr. Dana Jane Saltzman, a New York City physician who specializes in the treatment of opioid addiction. Dr. Saltzman uses suboxone in her private practice to help those seeking recovery from a severe opioid habit.

The article was posted in The Village Voice and attempted to depict the duality of opioid replacement therapies. This duality stems from the highly therapeutic & legitimate uses of suboxone (buprenorphine) contrasted against the attempts of some addicts to create a black market cottage industry with the medication selling it illegally online via Craigslist, Facebook, and other social media.

In the world of medicine and addiction treatment, selling suboxone is certainly criminal, and also behavior characteristic of someone who is not grounded in recovery. Many medical & clinical treatment professionals across the country have endeavored for decades to provide safe, effective treatment to suffering addicts. When FDA-approved opioid treatment medications are misdirected and sold on the black market, all varieties of abuse and exploitation occur ending in overdoses and a deepening of damaging social stigma about medications such as suboxone and methadone.

The Village Voice article plays it straight up the middle with perhaps some emphasis on the growing underground market for suboxone targeted to those who want to bypass the cost or inconvenience of signing on with a suboxone-approved physician.

Individuals who attempt to treat their own addiction with opioid replacement therapy are going to fail a high percentage of times. First, most  have no medical basis for understanding the complex nature of opioid addiction in the brain, and they can even deepen their addiction through the inappropriate use of opioid replacements. Addicts often go with what feels right opting for their own intuition as opposed to following proven best practice protocols like those employed in structured treatment programs supervised by suboxone-approved doctors.

Addicts who treat themselves with street suboxone or methadone are also completely missing the counseling component of recovery which addresses the underlying psychological factors that drive addiction. Taking street suboxone without counseling is akin to taking diabetes medication while eating doughnuts. In other words, the individual makes their complicated dilemma even worse.

There are some generic equivalents of suboxone in development which may make opioid replacement therapy more accessible to the larger population. Suboxone and methadone have a definite place in addiction treatment. It is critical however that early recovering addicts receive quality counseling so that they can better understand how to cope with relapse patterns and develop the skills necessary to successfully manage the disease of addiction. Addicts treating themselves with medications acquired on the street will remain stuck in a vicious cycle of addiction.

True recovery requires humility and commitment to higher principles. Chasing shortcuts to recovery creates more pain and wastes valuable time that would be better invested in real solutions.

Choosing To Face Reality

woman-12To be curious is a basic part of human nature. We live each day naturally drawn to things which interest us, which feel good physically or emotionally, or which might incite some curious inclination down inside of us. It is literally wired into the human DNA to be inquisitive and to seek new experiences.

We live in an information age in which most anything one wants to know is available via the internet. We know that drugs are dangerous. Yet, we naturally assume substance problems are something that happens to someone else. We know that addiction is real and can wreck one’s life, but we look past the potential danger and conclude that these risks don’t really apply to us at this time, or in this particular situation.

There is an old saying in recovery circles that no addict started out with the intention to become addicted. This is, of course, true. No one starts out intending to become an addict. So what is it that we tell ourselves when we face the potential dangers of addiction? Do any of these sound familiar?

  • Well, just this one time. One time won’t hurt.
  • I’ll stop before things get out of control.
  • Well, she did it and she doesn’t have a problem.
  • I don’t have to have it. It’s just something I like doing from time to time.
  • I’ve had a terrible day. I deserve a break. It’s not like I’m addicted!

Addiction is a complex problem. Drug use alters brain chemistry. For some people, these neurological changes are rapid and dramatic leaving the individual with an addiction that builds quickly before they are even aware of it. And denial keeps people from facing the truth even longer.

The door to addiction is often wide open and one only needs to take a small step to pass through to that other side where addiction becomes a harsh reality. Facing the truth is always the first step. No one gets well until they admit they are sick. The journey of recovery does not begin until a first step is taken.

If you have an ongoing opioid addiction and have honestly tried to get well, then medication-assisted treatment may be the next step that you take. Addiction progresses. Inevitably, addiction will make your life worse if left untreated. This downhill slide only stops when you make the decision to get into treatment or obtain effective help through some other proven means.

The message is this: Choose to face your own reality! Whatever it is, it can likely be changed. It can likely be improved. But it can only happen with your cooperation and your good intentions. Move in the direction of a solution. Commit yourself to getting help.