You are thinking about your life as an opiate addict, and you wonder if it’s time to go to a heroin treatment center. You’ve finally accepted the advice from many that methadone or Suboxone treatment is the best way to achieve recovery. But you can’t help thinking about all the things people tell you about all those rules in treatment, and you can’t help wondering if you can make your own rules.
Well, can you? Should you?
It’s not such a good idea to go into treatment thinking you can call the shots at a heroin treatment center. The best ones function with guidelines that you’ve got to live by if you want to remain a client there. But take a minute to think about those rules, and decide which ones you’re willing to follow.
The Rules at a Heroin Treatment Center
When you walk in for your assessment, you’ll have to be prepared to provide a urine specimen for a drug screen. In fact, the heroin treatment center can ask you to retest just about any time, any day. You probably aren’t going to like that, but those are the rules. If you choose not to participate or if you don’t pass your drug test, you may not be able to receive your methadone or Suboxone medication.
The main reason for so much testing is not to make your life miserable. It’s because the doctor in charge of the methadone program has to be certain that you are not abusing other drugs while you’re taking methadone or Suboxone. Most importantly, you cannot test positive for alcohol or benzodiazepine medications such as Xanax, because they can potentially lead to death if you take them when you’re taking medication at a heroin treatment center.
Some patients do, in fact, have prescriptions for benzos, written by doctors who are treating them for some kind of anxiety disorder. The question becomes whether your intake of the benzos will endanger your life while you’re in rehab for heroin abuse. Even if you weren’t in treatment, it would be equally dangerous using heroin or opiates along with benzos or alcohol. And there are alternative medications called SSRIs that can help you. So even if you want to break that rule, it’s better to be open to other options.
You will also have to attend therapy sessions with the counselor assigned to you at the heroin treatment center. Undoubtedly you are already thinking that you will make your own decision about showing up for those meetings and you won’t go if you don’t want to. But give it a chance. You didn’t become addicted to opiates without going through some strong stressors and emotional struggles. Maybe your anxieties in life even drove you to your addiction. Your counselor can listen to the things that bother you most. If you tell them that you hate your mother or you don’t like being a parent, they are not going to judge you. They won’t be shocked. They are going to listen to your reasons and help you decide if there are things you can do to make positive changes if that’s what you want.
I Don’t Wanna…
Going to group therapy is another thing that some people dread when they first walk into a heroin treatment center. They plan from Day One on skipping group. In fact, not all heroin treatment centers offer group therapy, so you should count yourself lucky if you have an opportunity to go. Being among other people who face similar struggles as you will help you get through this.
Some people scheduled to enter treatment have said they won’t need to go to groups, because they are just going to use the methadone or Suboxone for a couple weeks and then they’ll be detoxed from heroin and they can quit. However, it really doesn’t work like that. It usually takes a few weeks simply to get adjusted to your medication dosage. Withdrawal symptoms can last for months, and cravings, unfortunately, may never leave you. But being among other people who want to be in treatment and stop using drugs might turn out to be one of the best things you ever do for yourself.
Okay, you’ll go to groups, but forget about the 12-step meetings, you’re saying right about now. It’s enough that you’re going into a heroin treatment center; why do you have to disrupt the rest of your life by checking out where meetings are and going all over the city to find one that suits you. After all, what do you have in common with a bunch of people like they have at AA?
Give It a Chance!
But you’ll enjoy it when you find the right one. Just like group therapy, 12-step meetings put you amongst people who will share their experiences with you. And they don’t shove religion down your throat. There are even 12-step groups that don’t talk about religion. It’s helpful to know that you aren’t the only one who has messed up royally. Recovery takes place in the rooms, many people will tell you at your heroin treatment center. Go to the meetings, find one you like, look for a sponsor—and before you know it, you’ll be mentoring someone new on the road to recovery—someone on the verge of hope and wellness—someone who wonders if they have to follow the rules—someone just like you. Good luck, and have a good journey!
If you want to get started heroin treatment, call one of our centers today.