Once you get started at a methadone drug treatment program, you will begin to think about change. It doesn’t happen quickly, and the majority of people really aren’t too happy on the first day of treatment. However, rehabilitation is all about change, and before you know you’ll see that change is all around you—and you’re right in the middle of it!
Your Initial Experience Doesn’t Prepare You
Most people make their first contact with a methadone program on the day that they can no longer stand the idea of going out to score their drug of choice one more time, or the day when they can no longer look at their face in the mirror. Sometimes it comes from a choice between jail and treatment. When you’re tired enough of the life, you’ll be ready for a methadone drug treatment program.
Your entry into treatment is the first stage of a long journey toward recovery. That journey never ends, because recovery maintenance is something that you will work on for your whole life—the same way a diabetic maintains his diet and manages his insulin, or how a person with high blood pressure avoids salt and takes medication.
There is a lot of anger when you first go into treatment. You are probably upset with the spouse or employer who forced you to make a choice. You may be irate at the judge who sentenced you or the lawyer who didn’t get you off. Most of all you feel angry with yourself for getting yourself into this situation. But then, as you become accustomed to the drug treatment program, you begin to notice a change.
The Drug Treatment Program Instigates Change
Being among other people in your methadone program, you will notice that they are changing, and you will want to change also. That’s one of the reasons why group therapy at a drug treatment program is so important, because it puts you among people who have lived your lifestyle, and you can see that life is getting better for them.
Identify the people in your group who have been there longer, and a couple who just began, and listen to the way they talk. The newbies like you express themselves using statements that begin with I can’t or I won’t. Their very negativity speaks to their newness within the culture of recovery.
Those who have been attending the drug treatment program a little longer will say things like
- I would like to…
- I wish…
- I really want…
The reason for this change in language is that they are subconsciously beginning to see new possibilities in their futures. Before long you will notice that their language progresses to these kinds of statements:
- I can or I will…
- I am able to…
- I plan to…
Their choice of words unwittingly expresses a confidence in their own capability to change. As you go through the phases of your methadone drug treatment program, you should think about your own capacities for change. What is really stopping you? Don’t you want to make your life better?
As people go through these stages of change, they use language that points to their higher level of commitment. They don’t say that they might go to Thursday’s AA meeting; their language indicates that their plan to go is written in cement: “When I go to the meeting on Thursday I am going to talk about…” or “I am dropping my mother off at Al-Anon while I’m at IOP.” Through the changes brought on by a positive recovery plan, they recognize the disadvantages of the status quo.
Watch For Changes in Yourself
The next time you catch yourself saying “I wish” or “Maybe I will…” stop and ask yourself some questions. Why are you concerned about your current situation? If you had a bad day, think back to what you could have done to make it better. What things did you do in the past that worked for you?
Change is common no matter what we are doing in life, whether it’s a drug treatment program or going after a new job. The person who wants to lose weight finds that they’re actually reading food labels before they buy items at the supermarket. The person who wants to go back to school reads through the night school class catalogues that are sent out by the local adult education center.
Be proactive about change in your life. The first step, if you haven’t already started in a methadone treatment program, is to make an appointment for an assessment. You will discover that the drug treatment program doesn’t change you—you actually change yourself. As you move toward recovery, guess what? You will feel good again.