It used to be that treatment for overcoming addiction focused on overcoming denial. After all, that is the first step: admitting we are powerless over drugs and alcohol. The problem is that these days patients rarely come to treatment and say, “I don’t think I have a problem.”
Instead they say, “I may have another high in me, but I don’t think I have another recovery.”
That’s not a very hopeful statement, but unfortunately, it’s pretty realistic, especially if you’re someone who uses heroin. We’ve all read the news articles, seen the staggering statistics, heard of the latest fatal drug that’s hit streets. It’s been declared a “State of Emergency” and an “Epidemic.”
So if you’re like most of our patients, you aren’t reading this because you’re trying to decide if you have a problem with addiction. You already know that. Most of our patients have been in treatment before. They’ve tested those “reservations” and had the chance to “gather more data.” They aren’t trying to figure out how to “get sober”.
They’re trying to figure out how to stay sober.
And they’re scared. The old slogan that “relapse is a part of recovery” is still true. Any time in recovery is a learning experience. The knowledge you’ve gained while sober doesn’t just go away because you’ve had a recurrence. But that doesn’t change the reality that every time someone uses, they are risking their life.
“What’s going to be different this time?”
Normally, this question is directed at the addict. Family members, insurance companies, and counselors want to know what you are willing to do differently. The truth is, it is equally important that you ask this question of your treatment. If you have been in treatment before, what are you going to gain from this treatment that you didn’t last time?
In our programs, we subscribe to a Lifetime Recovery Management model. This means that we do not just “reset the clock” when our patients have had a recurrence. We recognize that you have already gained knowledge and experience in recovery and seek to build on this foundation. A patient seeking treatment for the first time is being introduced to an entirely new view of the world and way of living, but a patient coming back to treatment has already begun this new life. So why are they still unable to stop drinking and using?
Discovering the answer to this question will be the focus of your treatment. If you have had a recurrence, you may now be able to recognize triggers you were unaware of before. You have probably realized that there are coping skills you still need to learn, or perhaps you need a more guided transition process as you begin applying these skills. There may also be other complex issues that have not been fully resolved; issues like trauma, grief, co-occurring depression and anxiety, codependency, or family dynamics. Whatever the case, you need something more than last time, and by working with your treatment team to create an individualized treatment plan, we hope to help you find your answer. Recurrence is part of recovery, but sustained sobriety is always the goal. We would love to help you reach it.
There Is Hope. We Can Help.