Opiate addiction, the battle against addiction to drugs including prescription pain pills or heroin, cannot be overcome by simply taking Suboxone. Treatment, in order to be effective, can include additional measures that will ensure you keep coming back for your prescription. Addiction habits die hard, and returning to your Suboxone treatment center on a regular basis will keep you focused on recovery. Here are some specific actions you can take to give yourself the best chance at success.
Stop Hiding Secrets
When you first enter a medication-assisted treatment program in your neighborhood, it all starts with the assessment process when a licensed, certified counselor asks you all kinds of questions about yourself. It’s natural to hide the answers that are just too personal for you. Many people avoid talking about things that embarrass them. In some cases, people admit that they’re using opiates, but they do not admit to abusing other substances. Other times, people hide the truth about abusive relationships that they’re in, or the domestic violence they’ve suffered at the hands of their parents.
The counselor who asks you questions knows that it’s difficult to admit things. The questions he or she asks, however, are dictated by assessment protocols mandated by places like the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF) and by their state drug boards. The reason for those questions is to help you take control over all areas of your life. Since the effects of addiction spill over into so many areas, your role involves being as honest as you can. Honestly, you won’t shock them!
Consider Your Mental Health
Mental health, behavioral health, emotional disorders—those are not dirty words. Many people in methadone or Suboxone treatment also suffer from co-existing mental health or behavioral disorders. In fact, approximately half of all people who abuse drugs have some kind of co-occurring emotional disorder.
For many people, the symptoms they’ve experienced have resulted in their drug abuse. Many young adults diagnosed with ADHD, for example, look for drugs to counteract the side effects of their ADHD medications. Yet others who are traumatized by auto accidents become depressed over the long-term pain they’re experiencing, and the pain medication makes them feel good—until they realize they can’t stop and the depression gets worse.
Be honest as your counselor guides you through a series of mental health questions. If you know deep inside that you need help then it’s important to keep your counseling sessions.
Modify Your Behaviors
Suboxone treatment is not all about pointing a finger at you and your imperfections. It’s about letting you take control of your life in positive ways. It’s about reflecting inward and deciding what things in your life you don’t like and what areas you want to change.
Many therapeutic exercises might seem “dumb” to you but they have a purpose. If your counselor asks you to draw a family tree, you might be surprised to see how many relatives fall out of its branches who have abused drugs or alcohol. Addiction is a family matter, possibly a matter of heredity, and sometimes a matter of environment.
Another common exercise involves creating a timeline of your life. It will help you look back and reflect on what you were doing at stages when you first started using drugs and when you got in a little deeper. Some counselors also take their clients through a model involving “Use, Consequences, and Secrets,” to show you how deception and consequences start slowly until they roll downhill into big snowballs.
Explore Hobbies and Activities During Suboxone Treatment
The areas above address the counseling that takes place during your Suboxone treatment. But what can you do outside of your local methadone or Suboxone program? As your treatment gets underway and you begin to feel a little better physically—and you will—turn your focus outward on the world around you.
What areas interest you? Maybe you’d like to get involved with your child’s sports team. You certainly aren’t going to put yourself out as coach, or become the leader of the school’s majorettes—but start attending booster meetings in your community. It can be something as simple as volunteering as a room parent during your child’s classroom holiday party. Take a class on origami, or begin writing poetry the way you did a decade ago.
Many people who were unable to go to work or school when they were actively using find themselves ready to take on new challenges when they are in methadone or Suboxone treatment. If you can’t find a job right away, volunteer your time during your neighborhood’s church festival. Whether or not you attend church, extra hands are always welcome, and you’ll get to meet other adults in your community who can point you toward new opportunities.
Never Stop Growing
Suboxone treatment begins with baby steps, tethered to your medication-assisted treatment program with weekly doctor visits and counseling. As you progress through treatment, your visits will become biweekly and eventually monthly. It will be time for you to take back control of your life, to regain the power that opiates once had over you. As your personal growth progresses, your relationships with others will improve, and the roadblocks in your life will suddenly become maneuverable. Life can be good again. But first, if you haven’t already done so, you have to make the call to get started.