Any addict who is living in opiate recovery and has found a life of freedom from using painkillers or heroin has accomplished a huge task. Of course the task is never really finished as they have to keep growing and learning in recovery in order to stay opiate free. So how does an addict reach this point of recovery, and what are some of the strategies involved? Let’s take a look.
1) Cold turkey and independent recovery – on one far end of the spectrum, you have the idea that an opiate addict could simply stop using opiates on their own, and do nothing special to get help for their addiction. They could just stop with no help at all, detox on their couch, and then go on about their life without making any real changes or utilizing any programs of any sort. In most cases this is not going to work for most addicts because what is really needed is massive amounts of change. In the scenario just described, not much change has really been introduced so it is unlikely that such an approach will produce meaningful sobriety. However, it is possible that an addict can just stop and some people have done just that. Cold turkey, no program. They just don’t use drugs anymore. Period.
2) Detox and a support system – This is a greater level of help for the problem. The addict can check into a rehab and get medically detoxed from the drugs, which will help mitigate the pain of withdrawal quite a bit. Then they will likely be introduced to a recovery program, such as the 12 step program. They might attend meetings or go to support groups or have therapy with a counselor. This is what we would think of as being “traditional recovery,” and is certainly a viable path for recovery from opiates. In some cases, an opiate user might also go on long term medication in order to help them stay off of their drug of choice, such as Suboxone or Methadone. Using these drugs as a long term maintenance program has been met with mixed success, however.
3) Holistic growth – at the far end of the spectrum, we find the opiate addict who is far removed from their addiction and is now seeking growth and new experiences in all areas of their life. They are motivate to keep learning and keep growing personally as a method of recovery. This is where you want to be if you want the greatest insurance against relapse.