Public attitudes toward use of both alcohol and drugs have always posed moral conflicts. According to SAMHSA, Americans go through periods when they are torn by the two opposing viewpoints that addicts should be ostracized from society and thrown in jail or they should be pitied and treated. The typical California methadone treatment program has long borne a stigma, a suspicion that anyone who presents for treatment is simply substituting one drug for another.
You probably learned in grade school history about Prohibition, the period from 1920 to 1933 when it was illegal to produce, sell, transport, or import alcoholic beverages. But have you heard about the Harrison Narcotics Act of 1914? Doctors were forbidden from prescribing opiates, and by 1917 those who prescribed opiates were being arrested and tossed in jail. The Harrison Narcotics Act was not overturned as unconstitutional until 1925, when the courts protected a doctor’s right to prescribe for medical treatment as he saw fit. Today, of course, that includes the many doctors who manage the care of people at a California methadone treatment program.
Following the Civil War, many medications came on the market to address both men’s and women’s woes. Peddlers sold them at carnivals, and you could buy a syringe and just a little bit of cocaine from the Sears Catalog for $1.50 in 1890.
In subsequent years, both cocaine and opiates were linked to crime. News headlines stated things like…’Negroes were raping white women because of their cocaine addiction. Chinamen were seducing them with opiates. Crazy Mexicans were wildly smoking weed. ‘It’s interesting to note that although those headlines associated drug use with foreign or racial ethnicities, there was no ethnic group that used drugs more than Caucasian males, according to a study done in 1909.
The Counselor at a California Methadone Treatment Program
Thankfully, today’s methadone treatment program in your neighborhood offers evidence-based therapy so that you not only receive the medication you need but you also develop a motivation to change. It’s not simply enough to stop using heroin or other opiates and take methadone to control your urges or withdrawal symptoms. Understanding how you came to be addicted and what you can do to preserve your recovery constitute an important part of treatment.
You will be assigned to a counselor who will manage your case. A California methadone treatment program may assign you to someone on Day One, and the counselor either meets with you that day or phones you within 24 hours or so. At other agencies, mostly those that cannot offer you a same-day appointment, you will be assigned to the methadone program and then someone will tell you the name of your counselor on your first day of treatment.
The counselor certainly wants to teach you about how heroin or other opiates affect you mentally and physically. You really can’t beat addiction until you become educated about the drugs you’ve been using. The counselor will also help you recognize the reasons you’ve been using. They’ll help you identify problem behaviors. Maybe you’re already aware of some of those behaviors but you just haven’t been able to admit them to yourself. The counselor is dedicated to providing you with the reassurance that you are able to make changes in your life. They’ll discuss socioeconomic problems that you have and they will consider legal stressors as well as economic and cultural factors. They will talk with you about the role your family plays.
Common Motivations to Use Drugs
People often turn to drugs when they have lifestyle changes such as marriage, divorce, or having a baby. Their career or vocation status can instigate drug use, if they have changed jobs, joined the military, or enrolled in college. Events that are positive can also trigger drug use, such as buying a home or even just going on a vacation. Any change in your life, good or bad, can be stressful and can trigger drug use.
The counselor at a California methadone treatment program is trained to help you recognize those life-changing events as occasions to be on the alert for increased substance abuse. They will also help you learn about five common stages of change during addiction treatment:
Precontemplation: This is the time when you really think you don’t need any methadone treatment program in California or anywhere because there are people who use drugs much more than you do and you simply don’t need help. However, many people end up in treatment while they’re in this stage because they are sent there by the courts, by an employer, or because of a spouse’s ultimatum.
Contemplation: At this stage you recognize that your drug use has caused a problem but you are still using. You do so even knowing the risk of being discharged from the methadone treatment program because even though you recognize a problem you are still resistant to the need to change.
Preparation: Only when you realize that your life will be better if you stop using will you reach this stage. This is when you genuinely try to stop or cut back your illicit drug use and you are working the program set up by your counselor and the California methadone treatment program doctor. You are beginning to develop your own list of goals and you don’t get annoyed if the doctor asks you how many meetings you’ve been to.
Action: You are not using drugs at this point and you are taking control of changing your life. You become enthusiastic about the planning process for changes that will make your life better: Maybe you’re looking at a catalog of college classes, or you’re considering a move to a new neighborhood.
Maintenance: At this stage, you work to keep up your good behaviors. Relapse is always a frightening possibility, and you should work with the counselor at your local California methadone treatment program to have a good relapse prevention plan in place.
Ready, Willing, and Able
SAMHSA advises counselors that many people have the ability to change, and they are willing to change, but they just aren’t ready yet. Counselors realize that more people will continue with their California methadone treatment program if they have a choice of the services that they can receive.
Some people wonder if their counselor likes them. They wonder what the counselor thinks of them as they sit in the chair in the counselor’s office and “babble on,” as one lady put it, about their lives. The truth is that people who have a natural sense of empathy are motivated to go into counseling. They have a natural interest in people. While the counselor’s professional ethics prevent them from developing a personal friendship with you, he or she is someone who really cares about their work.
And remember, too, that they do want to hear you babble on about your life. Their job, however, is not to tell you how to resolve your issues. Instead, by listening to you talk about the things that are important to you, and possibly connected to your drug abuse, they will help you reach your own understanding of the things you need to change in your life.
So, if you’re willing and able to change, your local California methadone treatment program has counselors available. It’s time to make that phone call, if you’re at least willing and able to change, and the counselor will help you find out if you’re ready.