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Addiction & Recovery Message Board

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Hi Jules,
I can understand why your son is fighting this outpatient program. And if he's already not happy about it, maybe it's not a good match.

I too was offered a local outpatient program with suboxone and counseling at a local hospital run program....with lots and lots of group counseling. My doctor urged me to get into it. The thought of it just curled my spine.....going to meetings 4 days a week for 4 hours each day, plus coming into the clinic 6 days a week to get my meds...Not for me! These programs can and obviously are good for some, but there are negatives as well. First, usually about half the people in these programs are there because they have to be, by court order. In fact I use to go buy heroin from a "friend" and meet him at the clinic parking lot at 8 am. My point is not all the people he will meet will be good influences. They won't all have the same problem too...some will be alcoholics, meth users, etc. It's not (or shouldn't be) a one size fits all counseling, IMHO. There are big differences with an opiate addiction, and unless you have had one you will never fully understand how it feels...Neither will an alcoholic, a coke user, etc. They may say an addiction is an addiction and they are all the same, but opiates are so much different. Also, it sounds like your son is intelligent, and probably would be bored to tears with too much counseling. I refused the local outpatient program, because i felt it wasn't right for me, and I found a psychiatrist 1.5 hours away that treated me, and I did great. I use to have those monthly, or bi monthly slips too, even while on suboxone, but with couceling, studying the disease, and time I have learned it's just not worth it for those little slips.
My last slip was over 6 months ago, and i nearly died...

What you explained about your son going for months and then something triggering him to use is common. This is how my shrink explained it to me. Our brains receptors are messed up, and will be for years. Even when we are off the sub, or whatever opiate, there will be times, like with major stress or emotional upsets, when these extra receptors we have developed will flare up and scream for some kind of opiate relief. What she recommends is taking a small dose of suboxone when this happens, instead of going out and scoring some pills or dope . Eventually, in time, most people will recover enough that they don't need that little suboxone boost occasionally....but in the meanwhile it's much healthier than going out and scoring whatever. It will take years for your sons brain to recover, and the good news is he's young and healthy and has a better chance than many at recovery. The stress he has right now is probably driving him crazy wanting to use, and that's one of the things he needs to learn to control.

It sounds to me like your son has come a long ways in a year, and he's making great strides. If he is only having slips every few months, that is a huge step and shows he does want to get clean. Actually these slips are all part of learning how to stop, and believe me, he pays for those slips with tons of mental anguish, feels like a failure, and pays the price mentally and physically to get back on track. This disease is a very hard one to overcome. Personally I don't think manipulating him into a program will help him. Yes he does need to be in some type of program, but why not let him choose the path he wants to follow, as long as it is a legit plan. He might have just as good of luck seeing a shrink once a month as going to an intensive program 3-4 days a week that he doesn't want to be at.....and as I said. Many of the people in that outpatient program aren't serious about quitting, whereas a doctor run program where people are paying and coming there voluntarily are more serious about getting clean typically.

As far as threatening him with kicking him out, I personally think that is wrong under these conditions. If he was constantly using, not working, partying all the time....then maybe. The stress of losing his family may be all it takes for him to say screw it, and go right back to full time use. He needs your support and understanding, and the reality is you can't really fully understand, but you can support him...mentally I mean.

You sound like a wonderful caring mother, and I think he has good odds of beating this and living a normal life, once he fully commits to it....He has learned a lot already, and has come a long ways. I'd say he gets an A for effort, and i hope you will continue to help him help himself.

I personally think the job he likes so much is VERY important to his recovery as well....Keeping busy doing something you enjoy is one of the best therapies there are...Is taking that way for him to sit in meetings he doesnt want to be at really going to help?


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