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Quit your heroin addiction and get sober with the right treatment

Mark Myers LCSW, CADC Licensed Clinical Social Worker and Certified Drug and Alcohol Counselor Myers Counseling Group
Quit your heroin addiction and get sober with the right treatment

There were 620,000 individuals who used heroin in 2011, according to results from a National Survey on Drug Use and Health. This has nearly doubled since 2007. Heroin use has become more popular in recent years. It is a powerful drug. Users can obtain their desired effect within 6 seconds of initial use. Individuals who try to stop using heroin have high relapse rates. Quitting use from heroin takes a lot of effort and commitment. Although difficult, you can achieve abstinence from heroin with some help and expert advice.


Do

Do cut off anyone who still uses heroin

A vast majority of the times, individuals who abuse heroin find a peer group who use as well. This can include friends, family, and even simple acquaintances. Any attempt to keep relationships after committing to abstinence is nearly impossible. If you do, you will find yourself going back into the same environment you are trying to leave. Temptation will usually be too difficult to resist, and it could lead you to relapse. Most of those relationships revolved around the drug use itself, so trying to maintain these friendships is self-defeating.

Do let as many positive people in your circle of recovery

The more people that know about your commitment to recovery the less difficult your recovery will be. The people that you should inform are individuals who will support you and not have a negative impact on your recovery. By telling others, you can also help solidify your commitment to recovery. It also makes it more difficult to waffle on your decision.

Do get rid of all your paraphernalia and drugs

If you are planning to stop heroin use, there is no need to keep anything around related to drug use. This would also include items that could possibly trigger your use. Although some items may be common household products that are often used as tools to using heroin, like shoelaces or spoons, you need to dispose of as many of those items as you can. If you do not smoke cigarettes, there is no need for you to keep matches around the house. The greater distance you can put between urges you get and ability to use, the better off you will be. It would also be helpful to do this with a sober friend to help you in case getting rid of these items trigger an urge.

Do consider pharmacological assistance

Heroin withdrawal, although not fatal, could be extremely painful. Acute withdrawal could last for up to three days. In some cases, withdrawal features could last up to ten days. There are medications that have been recently included in the fight against heroin addiction. These medications could be taken for maintenance or to prevent the desired effects of heroin use. Ask the professional that is helping you through recovery about the different types of prescription pharmaceuticals that can help you get sober.

Do seek out professional help

This includes help from doctors, therapists, and/or treatment centers. Successful abstinence of heroin use usually involves longer term care from someone experienced in addiction. A thorough medical exam is essential. There are many medical complications that could present themselves to heroin users. This could include: lung infections, vein collapsing, bacterial infections, and infections. This would be important medical information to gather in recovery. Professional help regarding therapists or treatment centers should also be included in recovery. Treatment centers offer longer term, structured care. This type of treatment is usually indicated with most heroin users. If you choose not to go this route, at the minimum you should seek out professional help from a Certified Drug and Alcohol Counselor who can help monitor and assist your recovery.


Don't

Do not believe you can use other drugs

Heroin users often try to convince themselves that using other drugs is okay. They tell themselves as long as they stay away from their drug of choice (heroin) they are okay. This type of thinking often leads to relapse. Also, if you switch to using another drug, you are just substituting your drug of choice. Individuals who abuse one drug are at a higher risk of abusing any mood altering drug. The payoff in switching is not worth the potential consequences.

Do not get angry when significant others doubt you

Most heroin users have led a life of lies and deceit in order to hide their use. The costs to significant others is great and repair to those relationships take time. Don’t be impatient. Understand you dug yourself a hole regarding trust and honesty. Although you may be clear on your commitment to abstinence, it may take others awhile to believe you.

Do not make exceptions to your recovery plan

A recovery program involves guidelines you should be following to maintain abstinence. These guidelines are established to minimize triggers and urges. They are usually made when commitment to abstinence is at it’s most prominent. As time goes by, this commitment may waiver. By staying on course it will ensure the likelihood of success. Most of the time, exceptions to the rule will become the rule.

Do not buy into your self-talk

When you are abusing heroin, there is a part of you that understands what you are doing is wrong and harmful to yourself and others. Due to the nature of addiction, you will listen to your other voice. This is referred to as your addictive voice. The addictive voice overrides the rational voice. It convinces you to continue with your use and ignore consequences associated with use. In recovery, your addictive voice will try to convince you to return to use. It is extremely important not to give in to this voice. If you understand this thought process, you will have an additional tool in your recovery belt.

Do not get discouraged

The initial stages of recovery could seem pretty bleak. The physical withdrawals can be intense, new friendships forms, old ones are given up, relationships need to be repaired, and many other issues present themselves as challenges. Although it will start out tough, it will get better. Trust is rebuilt, relationships are repaired, health is restored, and urges will fade. It takes time. Listening to others recovery process can be helpful. This can be done through support groups or treatment groups. Maintaining a positive outlook is essential in recovery.


Summary
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Heroin abuse/addiction can take a devastating toll on individuals and others around them. The impact can be enormous. Recovery can be challenging, but not impossible. The road will be filled with obstacles. It is important to remember that life will get better. Relationships can be rebuilt or new ones established. It is helpful not to take this journey alone. Family, friends, religious institutes, and professionals can and should assist you in your recovery. This is something you do not have to do alone.


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Mark Myers LCSW, CADCLicensed Clinical Social Worker and Certified Drug and Alcohol Counselor

Mark Myers received his Master of Social Work Degree from Loyola University. He has been practicing in the helping profession for over 20 years. He is an Illinois Licensed Clinical Social Worker and a Certified Alcohol and Other Drug Counselor. ...

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