What is the key to achieving long term abstinence from opiate drugs such as vicodin or heroin?
In order to get off of opiates permanently you will have to take a massive amount of positive action.
What does that mean exactly?
It means that you will need to first surrender, then ask for help, then arrest your disease through some form of disruption, and then finally figure out a new way to live your life and deal with stress.
That can be overwhelming if you try to swallow it all at once.
So, don’t try to do it all at once. All you have to do is get through one day at a time. And you can start that by making a simple decision right now, this very moment, that you are not going to keep living your life in fear and misery, that you are going to do something about your opiate problem, and that you are actually going to ask for help and take real action.
Now we all know that we have made these sorts of promises to ourselves in the past and then not followed through on them. How can we avoid this in the future? How can we actually stick to our guns and make a real change in our lives?
For starters I would suggest that you can ask for help and people will suggest that you go to inpatient rehab. Now you may or may not be ready for a step like this, to check into a facility for 28 days and go through the detoxification process, and then learn how to face life without your drug of choice. Not everyone is ready for this step.
However, if you are not ready for this just yet, I would urge you to really question yourself every day in terms of your overall life satisfaction. In other words, if you choose to continue to self medicate with opiates on a daily basis, then you should be asking yourself every single day if you are happy or not. Because if you honestly are not happy on a day to day basis, then what do you really have to lose by checking into an inpatient rehab facility? What is the worst thing that could happen if you go to rehab? Right now you are miserable and unhappy with your life, you are trying to hustle up more opiates to self medicate with, and for what? To endure more misery and chaos while you desperately wait for that next high, that is no longer even that good?
Hopefully if you force yourself to assess your own happiness each day you will begin to pierce through your denial and realize that chasing after opiates just isn’t worth it.
If and when you reach a point of surrender, pick up the phone and call an inpatient treatment center. You can do this step at any time, so long as you have the courage to pick up the phone. Call them up and tell them that you need help and then find out what you need to do next.
This is the single best decision that most people can make in their lives, to pick up the phone and call a rehab. For example, I have been clean and sober for over 16 years continuous now, and everything that I good in my life today can be traced back to a single phone call that I made that transformed my life. One phone call was all it took to start the ball rolling in the right direction for me. From that one phone call came a stay at inpatient rehab, followed by counseling, meetings, and lots of personal growth and dedication to recovery.
Today my life is amazing and I am still learning new things about myself, and I owe it all to that one phone call.
Therefore I want to challenge you with this simple idea:
If you can summon the courage to do so, even for a brief moment, pick up the phone and call a rehab center. Ask them how you could get the help that you need.
Let go of your fears, let go of your worry and incessant self centeredness. Let go of everything and just get on the phone and call for help. It is the both the easiest thing in the world to do and also the hardest. The phone can weigh a million pounds and yet dialing a number and asking for help should be the easiest thing in the world for you to do.
Instead of making promises to yourself and to others that “one day you will clean your act up for good” or “I can’t keep living this way,” instead of making those hollow promises, simply pick up the phone and make a call. Do it right now so that you cannot wiggle out of it later.
Once you start this process of healing, your entire life will begin unfolding before you, with one positive change stacked on the next positive change. When you overcome an addiction to opiates or other substances, essentially what you are doing is to trade out your bad habits for good ones. So your primary “bad habit” is drug addiction, but there are other habits that you will discover that are coming along for that ride which you will eventually need to eliminate.
For example, when I first got clean, I realized that I had the bad habit of feeling sorry for myself and creating all sorts of extra drama in my mind. I was doing this out of habit in order to justify my outrageous drug and alcohol use. The problem was that I had become clean and sober, but my brain was still in the habit of justifying more drug use, so it continued to focus on the drama, focus on the negative, and try to figure out ways that I was a helpless victim in my life. Because if my brain could convince itself that I was a victim and that I had been done wrong, then it could easily justify taking more drugs.
The truth was that when I became clean and sober I really was not a victim at all, and I had to discard the bad habit of justification. Instead I had to learn to tell myself that I was empowered, that I had choices today, and that I was no longer a victim in my life. That may sound a bit cheesy but that does not make it untrue! In my recovery I could ask for help, I had friends and family and peers in AA and NA would do nearly anything to help me, and so for me to throw a big pity party about how unfair my life was it not realistic.
I had to examine my entire life and the habits that I was using in order to cope and deal with reality. Another good example is that instead of smoking cigarettes to cope with daily stress I switched to exercise and distance running. Of course this did not happen overnight and it took me several months (a few years even) in early recovery before I was ready to make this positive change, but I eventually made it. And in doing so it made my recovery from drugs and alcohol that much stronger. I have found the habit of daily exercise to be even more powerful than that of meditation (at least for me).
So I would encourage you to get started, to ask for help, and to go to rehab. That was the starting point for my own set of positive changes, and the positive effects of this continue to ripple throughout my life in recovery as I move forward. Today my life is full of positive growth and changes, and I would not trade it for anything. Recovery is amazing today, give it a try!