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30 Days of Recovery: The full introduction to the book

February 22, 2013

Introduction

Let us get started and not stall with a lengthy introduction this is a life or death situation after all.  My name is Amy and I am an addict.  I have written this book to help other sick and suffering addicts find recovery.  I have combined my resources with tips and exercises that helped me and other addicts find and maintain recovery.  Recovery was offered to me through other recovering addicts, reading books on recovery and most importantly the lessons I have learned through Narcotics Anonymous.  It also helped to have a master’s degree in counseling; later on it actually hindered my recovery and contributed to a very vicious relapse.

First it helps to tell everyone you are going to get clean, whether they believe you or not.  Some may even laugh at you, some maliciously, others thinking you are joking.  Telling people that you love and care about, especially those whose approval is important to you such as a parent, brother or sister or maybe even children that are old enough to understand the situation, is a great motivator in helping you to stay clean.

This is a suggestion made to people trying to quit smoking as well and we do this for several reasons.  First, if we fail, we disappoint not only ourselves but our loved ones as well.  This may help in moments of weakness to prevent you from picking up when the urge hits you. For example, I did not want to disappoint my kids.  Mind you they had no influence over me whatsoever during active addiction or my relapse.  Today though I know it would devastation them.

If you have people in your life that have faith in you and are willing to help you great, they are the beginning of your support network. Ask them for their help, you are going to need them.  If you do not have people in your life anymore you can still build a support network. Think of it as it was explained to me. People who cannot or will not help were removed from my life to make room for those who will. Remember though, only you can stay clean and stop yourself from picking up.

Ask yourself this, do you want to get clean and sober? Are you willing to do what it takes to get healthy? Is there anything preventing you from surrendering completely to your recovery?

If you are ready then prepare to be uncomfortable for the first week or so, in some cases extremely physically ill and in need of medical attention depending on your drug(s) of choice. My drugs of choice were heroin and crack cocaine.  Crack may not have had many physical withdraw symptoms but what it was to me was highly addictive and mentally addictive. Heroin is physically and mentally addictive with some very severe withdraw symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhea, hot and cold chills, fever, aches and pains and seizures.  Withdraw can be very dangerous and even deadly.  I have watched many people go through withdraw, I have helped people make it through withdraw but by far the very worst I have ever seen in my life was the “DTs,” alcohol withdraw.

This will be one of the most difficult things but she will do in your life. Take it one day at a time, slow and steady. Use this book to guide you through each day. Stay in the moment and do not think about tomorrow and do not think about the past. Soon you will start to feel better; you look forward to getting out of bed in the morning. You will have energy and enjoy things again.   Remember slow and steady, this is not a race this is life or death, this is a journey.

Next write a letter to your addiction. This activity will help you identify with your addiction, say goodbye and it will help give you closure. You are saying farewell to the part of your life that the addiction stole. You are doing this by writing a “Dear John” letter. Some say it feels like losing a family member when they quit using drugs.

When I finally broke down, I needed my boyfriend to help me throw out all my “works.” He sat on the bathroom floor with me and helps me dispose of all the needles properly. Throughout the process I cried hysterically and hugged him. He assured me everything woods going to be all right, I rocked back and forth holding my knees and crying. We sat there on the bathroom floor smashing crack pipes and throwing out needles and the worst part was they had been sitting in my safe for over a month. I was too afraid to open the safe, I’d been clean for over 30 days, it’s supposed to be one of the first things you do when you get clean, get rid of the “works.”  I found out later it was a reservation I had in my program which is a subconscious thing you do or hang onto to reserve a place for relapse.

Here is an example of the letter I wrote, it does not have to be as dramatic, just write what and how you feel about your addiction and say goodbye:

Dear heroin,

You ruined my life. You took everything from me, you made me feel good, then you made me think I could lean you. You tricked me and made me need you. You made me obsess about you. You made me love no one else, not even myself, just you.

Dear heroin,

I love you, I hate you, look what you’ve done to me. You stall my family, my kids, my home and even my dog. You drained me of everything I ever loved. You made me into a shell, a hollow person just me and you inside.

Dear heroin,

I win, I thought you beat me, I thought I could live without you can’t guess what heroin, I’d be you. You can’t have me anymore and I have an army of fight and me. You can’t hurt me anymore. I loved you but it’s over now.

Goodbye heroin, never again.

I said what I needed to say and said goodbye. I read it to my family and friends. I read it in my treatment groups, to my counselor, and most of all to myself.

There are other alternatives to quitting cold Turkey for opiate addiction. Withdraw from these drugs can be very dangerous. There is method on weekends treatment, suboxone and subutex treatments, and medical detox. I feel a combination of treatment is most effective. A variety of treatments or treatment programs are available. Recovery is a long process, there is no cure, it is not a race, it is a journey and it is a way of life.

Methadone is an intensive outpatient program monitored by the state and Health Care providers. Most methadone programs require the client to go every day, participate in group therapy, one and one counseling and random drug testing. After a certain amount of clean time the client is eligible for privileges such as reduced time at the clinic. The client is give and take home doses, required to go to less groups, and required to see their counselor less. The client must demonstrate a certain level of need as well to receive these privileges, such as if the client is employed were doing volunteer work, also if they are involved in self-help.

There’s also suboxone maintenance treatment where the patient has monitored by a Physician who prescribes the suboxone to relieve the physical withdraw from opiates and control the cravings of drugs such as heroin and prescription pain medication. The patient is usually required to seek outside counseling as well. They are also required to submit to random drug testing.They are required to report to the physician once every two weeks. After some level of success they only report once a month.

Unfortunately there are are waiting lists for these programs. Pregnant women or those with HIV are admitted to the program immediately. Methadone has been studied for years especially the effects on pregnant women and the unborn fetus. The risk is minimal but once the child is born they may suffer some withdrawal and need to be hospitalized.

Suboxone and methadone treatments are sometimes considered replacing one drug for another by the recovering community like alcoholics anonymous and narcotics anonymous. Everyone has different opinions and every person is different. One program can work wonders for one person and as a disaster for another.

There are other medical programs to assist patients with the withdrawing off of drugs and alcohol. These programs help relieve the uncomfortable withdraw symptoms. Ask your doctor or counselor what your options are and what is available to you. You can also do your own research on different treatment programs.

It is a personal choice whether to go medically or cold Turkey. Keep in mind that cold Turkey can be very dangerous and you should consult a Dr. Before considering this option. It all depends on your tolerance and amount of drugs you are taking.

In this book their tools needed to deal with the addiction but it is up to you to accept responsibility for your recovery. These are the building blocks you need to start a healthy sober lifestyle. We will take a look at and reevaluate your values and beliefs, building a support network, your role and responsibility, your self esteem and self worth, goal setting, healthy choices, getting active, awareness, motivation, and your achievement of short term goals.

Mind body and soul check: allow yourself to cry. It is said what has happened and this is not going to be easy. It is scary, frustrating and going to see a great deal of willpower. So, cry, get it out, sadness is a normal human emotion and what you are going through right now is difficult. I suggest you write about your feelings and talk to another recovering addict or loved one.

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15 Comments
  1. Richard G. Shuster permalink

    Great start, Amy, keep up the good work you are doing, one day at a time!

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    • Thank you! hopefully the book will be published by the end of March as an E-Book, I have everything ready to go, as soon as I’m done revising my finally draft I’m sending it to my grandmother for her finally approval (she does all my editing for me) then I’ll add her corrections and upload it, after it’s uploaded it will be for sale on amazon.com that day! I am also working on a collection of short stories and of course my life story. My first novel, my baby, The Silo, is completely ready for it’s final revisions but I’m saving that project. I may give a bit of a taste on my blog thought!.

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  2. Hi Amy! Keep up the awesome work! You’re journey will surely inspire many. I’m working on my blog UnmanageableLiving, which is for the family members of addicts. I just began it but am completely committed and possibly we can work on something together in the future. I think an understanding from both sides is so incredibly important.

    Keep up your awesomeness!!!!

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    • Thank you so much for the encouragement, I really need it, it’s taken me a while to get to this point. I’m hoping to have the book published as an E-Book by the end of March but I set everything up so that as soon as I’m finished editing it I can have it litteraly for sale in a day as soon as I upload it and create the cover. So spread the word and help me increase exposure for this book, it is set up as a day by day guide for the first 30 days, it has all kinds of tips and exercises, and tons of information!

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      • I definitely will! Let me know as soon as you get it out there! You should connect with Young People in Recovery on Facebook and Twitter. They are an awesome startup organization!

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      • I am definitely interested in working on a project together, I think it would be amazing having our views combined in something, how amazing would that be! I’m desperately working my butt off to get my book finalized and published. I am also trying to get the word out about the book. A friend of mine published a book about his life and his drug use. He helps me with advice and tips on how to get my book published.

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      • That is so inspiring! I’m really excited to read it. Reading accounts of celebrity drug addicts, such as “The Heroin Diaries,” just doesn’t hit home enough. Not as relatable. “Tweak” was a good one and I’m sure your book will be even more inspirational as yours seems to aim more in the direction of the twelfth step. I’m just starting my blog so it’s definitely in its infancy but once I find my groove, we should def see what we can get going. I’m sure your book is keeping you plenty busy right now. Understatement of the year? Lol.

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  3. me too, i’m new at blogging, but I’ve written 2 books and i’m working on my life story. 30 days is a sort of guide book for the first month of recovery and a kind of starting point, information on all the different programs, ways to get clean, and if someone chooses to detox at home or detox medically for a few days then go home, they can use this book as a day by day guide. It is set up to help with tips, journaling excersies, and just different options for staying clean, basically it helps keeps the addict busy with useful things between meetings and to let them know that what they are feeling and going through is normal. At least that’s my goal. so I want to give little excerpts every day to give a taste of whats to come when I publish the book. It’s finished it’s just not finalized, I’m finishing my editing and then I’m going to E-publish it as soon as I’m done, I’ve got a quarter of it edited, this is my third time going through it so it could be published as is but I want it to be perfect. Then I’m going to concentrate on my life story, well it’s really based on my life but focused on my addiction and recovery. Then I’m going to publish my novel “The Silo” that book is about a young girl who suffers unspeakable abuse and some other experiences that land her in a mental hospital, I wrote it six years ago, it’s pretty intense, and has a crazy ending. anyway, i really appreciate your feedback and support, I’m excited to work with you!

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    • Thank you, This is rather old, I published this book last year in May I believe and I’m working on a new book about our spirituality changes in recovery or life in general. It’s more of a self discovery book I guess. It helps those who struggle with spirituality and higher power(s). The book this into came from is called “A Better Life.” I changed the titled, no one does their first 30 days the same lol! It’s interesting to look back at my writing then and now, a lot has changed.

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      • That sounds interesting…and as far as spirituality is concerned, you are right…it changes. Sometimes ours changes, but mostly, it changes us if we are willing to follow its lead. It’s a very interesting topic that is nice to hear about. I know what it did for me. Good luck with all of your future endeavors. I look forward to hearing about it 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. 30 Days of Recovery | A Path To Recovery
  2. 30 Days of Recovery Book – March 4, 2013 update | A Path To Recovery
  3. 30 Days Of Recovery – Chapter 5 “A Healthy Lifestyle” | A Path To Recovery
  4. 30 Days: Chapter 8 Learning to Live Clean | A Path To Recovery

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