An Integrated Model Approach To Recovery and Addiction
What the hell does that mean? Integrated means a combination of therapies, programs, and treatments. It is just a fancy way of taking a little bit from several different approaches to recovery. I prefer to use a Buddhist based approach to my lifestyle and follow Buddhism as a philosophy of life. I choose to pray to and believe in a Christian God as my higher power. I also use the 12-steps and Narcotics Anonymous as a source of structure and support. It is something tangible that I can follow and apply to my life in a simple form to treat my addiction disease.
Medically, my mind, hormones and receptors have been severely damaged by my drug use. I also have severe back and neck problems that cause chronic pain. I have several herniated discs in my neck and back, seven actually and I also have nerve damage, scoliosis and arthritis at the ripe old age of 36. I absolutely refuse to let my pain and physical disabilities cause me to give up and throw in the towel. My drug use has disturbed my natural ability to fight pain with hormones my body is supposed to produce and connect with receptors to control pain. It can take up to 18 months for the brain to begin to return to normal after you stop taking opiates. I know I cannot take prescription opiates without abusing them. Therefore I am a patient at the Methadone Maintenance program. Methadone severe two purposes for me, first it treats my disease of addiction and second it treats my pain. This is considered a crutch or replacement therapy in general is frowned upon in the 12-step groups. They believe it is replacing the drug with another drug. Which to an extent is true. I tried to get off of methadone last year, weened myself off and ended up relapsing. Methadone works for me. I stay at 80 milligrams which is a blocking dose and I have not increased my dose and do not intend to. I also do not put a time frame on how long will I be on methadone. People always ask me that question and I do not have an answer. I did have an answer three years ago. I said I would only be on methadone for two years then switch to suboxone and then cold turkey. This obviously did not work because I relapsed soon after I began suboxone. Today I do not put a time frame on my treatment, I may be a lifer, I do not know. What I do know is it works. I have maintained sobriety since a week and a half after I started back on the methadone program September 27, 2012.
I know it sounds complex and a royal pain in the butt. Addiction, in its many forms, is just that, complex and a royal pain in the butt. It is however, treatable, not curable but treatable. The complexity of the disease of addiction is because we are complex creatures. There is no one right way for everyone. What works for me may not work for you. What I do know is expanding your treatment of addiction is important. The reality is the 12-step approach works but there are not very many people out there with double digit years of clean time who are truly free and happy. Some are sicker then the new comer. I cannot remember the last time I was in a 12-step meeting that had more people with double digit clean time then newcomers with less then a year. Those that have double digit years and our truly happy and have found a new way to live are the ones who expanded their treatment and spiritual search outside of the rooms. They went spiritually, medically and therapeutically outside of the 12-step approach to seek help for their addiction. They teach us in the 12-step programs that yo must go the extra mile in recovery as you did in active addiction How far would you go and the things you would do for a fix? It is the same in recovery. I double dip into different approaches and philosophies to experience and get a first hand perspective on whether or not it works for me.
Each person has their own set of unique circumstances, needs, and priorities. The idea that one program can treat all of the demons is fairly egotistical I think. For some it is enough and they continue into double digit years of sobriety with a true passion for life. They are far and few in between though.
My philosophy on addiction treatment sounds complicated but it really is not. I learned it in Narcotics Anonymous, use what works and leave the rest. I feel that this can be applied to all areas of my life and can be broken down into a few areas, maybe more or less for other people. For me, I need different things from different programs, philosophies, and treatment therapies.
1. Spiritual – Buddhism and a Christian God
2. Medical – Methadone
3. Therapeutic – Trauma therapy and Schema Focused Therapy
4. Treatment Program – the 12-steps and methadone
5. Support and Structure – NA, Church, Methadone Maintenance, family and friends
That is what an integrated approach to Recovery is. We are complex creatures with complex problems. We need complex treatment. I suggest you write down categories in your life that have voids and needs. Then next to those write down some ideas of places where you can fill those needs. It is different for everyone, that is the problem with addiction treatment but it is also the beauty of it, everyone brings different things to the table which creates a beautiful diverse group of people coming together to help each other on their personal journey through recovery.
- Responsibility in Recovery (amylong1933.wordpress.com)
- The Moment I Hit Rock Bottom (amylong1933.wordpress.com)
- Realistic Advice – Letter From the Author of 30 Days of Recovery (amylong1933.wordpress.com)
- Drug Addiction and Recovery: Opioids (thenerdynurse.com)
- Cookie Cutter Recovery (amylong1933.wordpress.com)
- An Addict’s Distorted Reality (amylong1933.wordpress.com)