Why do you have to go to a treatment center in order to stop abusing your drug of choice? You’ve asked yourself that, and no doubt there are members of your family who have asked you that same question. Opiate addiction recovery is no easy thing, and it takes a well-considered plan in order to sustain it. Learning how to put a support system in place and develop a plan to combat the risk of relapse is something you learn while you’re in treatment for substance abuse.
The experts at the federal government’s Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) have given long, hard thought to issues of recovery. They have identified four major areas in your life that will indicate if you’ve built a successful structure to support your opiate addiction recovery plan:
How’s your health? This question begins by asking if you are staying away from pain pills, heroin, or whatever your drug of choice has been. You also must be abstaining from other drugs and alcohol. Too many people think as long as they aren’t shooting up heroin, it’s okay if they smoke weed or go on a weekend alcohol binge. But an addiction is an addiction, and you cannot replace one addiction with another. The effectiveness of medication assisted treatment programs can also be negatively impacted by the use of other drugs and alcohol.
The question also asks if you’re getting your head out of the sand and addressing health problems that you disregarded while you were so deeply involved with drugs. Too many people ignore good dental hygiene and pay no attention whatsoever to their nutrition while they’re getting high. Being honest with counselors at your local methadone program or your doctor has to be a part of your opiate addiction recovery plan. Be honest and talk about any symptoms, concerns or questions you have. Most people get a good physical once a year, and that applies to you too as you make your health a priority. Substance abuse affects your body in so many ways, it’s important to make physical healing a part of your long-term treatment.
Where do you lay your head? One case worker at an opiate treatment center noted that clients’ addresses often changed from the day they were assessed to the day they actually began treatment. She stated that young men and women, in particular, often reported that they were just staying at friends’ homes—crashing on their couches—because they were no longer welcome in their own homes. She felt it was sad that people reported this nonchalantly, as if it were no big deal to lose their rightful access to a pillow and a bed in their own home.
When you put together an opiate addiction recovery plan, your counselor will help you find a permanent place to live if you don’t have one. You cannot concentrate on recovery, after all, if you don’t have safe and stable place to lay your head at night.
What’s your purpose in life? Well, we don’t mean what’s your entire purpose on the face of the planet; we’re only asking if you feel like you have a routine of meaningful daily activities that you like to accomplish. Do you go to work or attend school? Do you enjoy any hobbies? When you’re using drugs, your only focus is on the last time you got high and how you’re going to get high again. When you’re in recovery, it’s important to focus on activities that point to your place within your social circle or family. Having a purpose means you stand on your own two feet, you have income, and you have the things you need to do what you want, within reason.
Do you have a place within your community? No, we don’t want you to run for mayor. How about volunteering as a room parent, if you have a child in school, during one of those holiday parties? Why not attend Friday night football games at the high school? Your substance abuse treatment counselor wants you to feel satisfied with your relationships that make you feel loved and valued. The social and community connections you build can provide love, support and hope, adding to your belief that you can meet the challenges that will crop up as you recover.
Opiate Addiction Recovery Plans are Built on People
The path to recovery may be different for some than for others, but generally your substance abuse treatment counselors have some pretty good formulas for success. Even when they implement variations in recovery plans to meet the needs of individuals, they all agree on one thing: Recovery centers around the support systems, and people, we surround ourselves with. Whether or not we are in substance abuse recovery, we all experience emotional ups and downs in life, including fear, anxiety, embarrassment, shame, guilt, anger, and loss. But when we have developed relationships with the people we care about, we learn ways to avoid situations and deal with emotions that can trigger relapse. These relationships comfort us when we accidentally stumble upon troublesome times despite our best efforts.
Addressing the four key areas outlined above will provide a solid foundation for an opiate addiction recovery plan, but there will still be challenging days. Remember when you are tired and you’re not certain if your opiate addiction recovery will stand the test of time that there are websites like National Recovery Month—a place you can visit anytime of the year to reach out to others or read their stories of recovery. You can visit an AA Online Meeting any time of the day or night to talk to someone like you. And remember—you can always call your sponsor or the counselor who helped you with your opiate addiction recovery. If you’re feeling the need, you should reach out by picking up the phone and calling that person right then—right now if you need it. If they’re unavailable call the next person on your list. Your recovery will work if you work it.