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Written by Opiates | Published on March 30, 2018 | Updated on July 15th, 2020,
Opiates are one of the most difficult substances on the planet to quit. Not only do they create an obsession within the user that is unrivaled by any other substance, but they also produce some of the worst withdrawal symptoms of any known illicit substance.
It is this obsession coupled with the fear of withdrawal symptoms that cause many opiate addicts to continue to use, well beyond the time that they know they need to stop. In fact an opiate addict may be well aware that they need to stop using for years before they actually make an attempt to finding recovery. While this is an attribute of most addicts, it is most common among opiate users, as the drug can be so overwhelming that individuals will literally throw away their entire life in the pursuit of more.
The attribute of pursuing drug usage above everything else in an individual’s life is one of the cornerstones of addiction and it is something that mostly baffles the addict and those closest to them. When it comes to addiction, an addict loses the ability to choose whether or not they are going to continue on in their addiction. Once addiction has gained hold of their mind, it is as if a switch is flipped and the addict will pursue their drug usage even in the face of legal issues or medication complications.
For this reason “death-therapy” or attempting to frighten the addict into getting sober almost never works. Nor does trying to appeal to their rational side or emotions seem to have an effect on getting an addict to quit using substances. What this means is that the only way that many people wind up finding recovery and quitting opiates is by the self-admission that they need help and no longer want to live in the manner they have been living in.
With that said, even though the individual may have a desire to stop using opiates they may still be unaware of how-to-quit opiates. They may have heard of the 12 Steps or of treatment before, but without concrete knowledge on these things work, they are left wondering if they should resign themselves to a life of addiction.
When an addict reaches this place, they are faced with two options really: seek out help for their opiate addiction or trudge on in their addiction until something forces them to stop. While this may seem like an simple choice, it is not, as addiction is a complex illness that greatly skews the individual’s ability to see reality and make the correct choices.
So if you are at the point where you would like to stop using opiates but you are unaware of how-to-quit opiates, then read on and hopefully the information presented below can help guide your decision on the matter.
Detox is the process in which an individual rids themselves of any and all mood and mind-altering substances. As far as science has come in the matter of addiction studies, there is still no method by which drugs and alcohol can be removed from the system, other than allowing it to happen naturally. At a detox facility you will be given certain medications in order to aid in the withdrawal process, but while symptoms can be mitigated, they cannot be removed entirely.
The reason that an individual abusing opiates should attend a detox is many times addicts and alcoholics who attempt to get sober on their own will not make it out of the detox phase. The reason for this is because when they attempting to quit this powerfully addictive substances on their own, they oftentimes have no defense standing between them and using again, and when the withdrawal symptoms get bad enough they resort back to using.
Inpatient Treatment is a high level of care in substance abuse treatment where the individual attending lives at the treatment facility for the duration of their treatment. Since they are staying at the treatment facility for the duration of their stay they are privy to a number of therapeutic benefits that are not available if they attempt to quit on their own.
By living at the treatment facility opiate abuser have the opportunity to get the care and support they need in order to finally overcome their addiction. They will be removed from their daily environment and all stressors that may have allowed for the continuation of their addiction and in doing so they will be able to focus all of their energies on finally quitting opiates.
While it is not entirely recommended to attend only outpatient treatment when attempting to quit opiates, it is included in this guide on how-to-quit opiates because individuals are successful going this route. However, and it cannot be stressed enough, that by attending only outpatient treatment you are creating a scenario where you have to deal with all of the issues present in your life, while also attempting to quit opiates. This may mean continuing to go to work, school, or meet familial obligations, and for some opiate addicts this can prove to be tremendously difficult.
One of the most popular ways to quit using opiates is by attending Narcotics Anonymous. This 12 Step program was specifically designed to help those suffering from drug addicts find recovery and remain abstinent. In fact in some ways Narcotics Anonymous wrote the first how-to-quit opiates guide when they broke away from Alcoholics Anonymous in the 1950s, in order to focus solely on drug addiction.
While this may be controversial to say, if you do not find what it is that you are looking for in Narcotics Anonymous then Alcoholics Anonymous may offer you the ability to quit using opiates. While some may say that only alcoholics should attend AA, there have been, and especially in the past few years, a growing number of opiate addicts who have joined the ranks of Alcoholics Anonymous. This program is where the 12 Steps originated and it is the basis for Narcotics Anonymous.
While individual therapy alone rarely is suffice in helping an individual quit using opiates, it can be tremendously helpful in the process of learning to identify with your addiction. While it may not offer the totality of the solution for quitting, it can be a great stepping stone for finding recovery, and getting the support you need in order to make the decision to finally get sober.
One of the most interesting aspects of addiction is that warnings and admonishments from those that are closest to the addict mostly fall on deaf ears. In fact it is only when they hear from another addict how they got clean and sober and stayed clean and sober, do the wheels start turning in their head. It is this relating to the common suffering of another addict that makes 12 Step programs so effective in helping individuals find recovery, and so any guide on how-to-quit opiates that does not include a personal tale is incomplete.
The opiate addict that we will be discussing here today agreed to have their story shared so that maybe if you are thinking about quitting using drugs, it will help you to come to realization that you no longer have to live under the constant strain of drug addiction and that a life of sobriety is more then possible for you.
The individual who fell into opiate addiction did so almost by accident. He had been abusing substances like cocaine and marijuana since he was 14 years old and when he was 18 he tried Oxycontin for the first time. He used it a number of times over the next few weeks and then one day when he made the decision to not use for a couple of days he began to experience withdrawal symptoms. At the time he didn’t know that what he was experiencing was withdrawals and it was only after he used again and felt better did he realize the precarious situation that he had placed himself in.
Over the next few years his addiction progressed to heroin usage and everything became about filling the insatiable desire he had to use and not feel withdrawals. He dropped out of college fairly quickly, began to isolate himself from friends and family, and at the age of 21 he went to rehab for the first time.
He had attended 12 Step meetings through the years prior to this first rehab stint but he didn’t truly understand what was going on in these meetings. He understood that the people there were no longer using, but he believed that they must struggle with not using like he did during his periods of being dry.
Needless to say his first rehab stint was a failure because he was not yet ready to stop using and within 6 months he wound up in rehab again. This time he was a little closer to the point of being ready to quit, but he still held onto to some reservations and was not yet ready to fully give himself to a life of recovery.
Over the next 3 months he proceeded to totally lose himself in his addiction. Whereas he was always able to pull himself back from the edge, during this last stint of using he crossed every line that he said he would never cross and he himself knew that he was out of control. At the end of this run he was offered the chance to go back to rehab for the 3rd time that year and he jumped at the opportunity.
At this point he really wanted to get clean and sober but still didn’t understand what that meant or how it would look in his life. Since such an early age he knew nothing but drug addiction and leaving behind the comfort of that world for the unknown of recovery scared him to no end.
In treatment he began to learn that in order for him to get sober he first had to get honest. He had to try to the best of his ability to stop lying about everything and be honest with who he was and where he currently stood. From this point the healing began, and in turn he got a sponsor and began to work the Steps.
The beginning of recovery was difficult, as he experienced withdrawal symptoms for almost a month, but making it through this phase and regaining his appetite and ability to sleep spurred him to continue onward.
He worked through the 12 Steps, attending at least 5 meetings a week and he began to engrain himself in the surrounding recovery community. The friends that he made and the support that he received were invaluable in helping him to get sober, and particularly in the beginning, he asked others what he should in certain situations and followed their suggestions over what his mind was telling him to do.
For this individual the obsession to use was removed fairly quickly, and since working the Steps it has not returned in the past 9 years. Although he was young when he got sober, the same applies to anyone who is attempting to get clean off of opiates, and that is—if you have even the smallest desire to get sober you can achieve this goal as long as you follow the few simple suggestions given to you by people who already traversed the path you are on.
While quitting opiates can be incredibly difficult, it does not need to be impossible and if the millions of recovering individuals in the world are any indication, any person, regardless of race, socio-economic background, religion, or gender can get and stay sober. So if you are at the jumping off point and want to get clean and sober, then hopefully the writing above has you given you the hope necessary to choose recovery over addiction and to find a new way of life.