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The Best Way to Quit Using Drugs

If I were to take a poll of 100 recovering addicts and ask them what method they used to get clean I would likely get a number of responses.  And that’s the point. What works for one individual many not work for another.  In the past I’ve received some criticism about my promotion of 12-Step programs in this blog.  I do not apologize for my beliefs about the Alcoholics Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous (or any of the other 12-Step programs, for that matter).  I have seen these programs literally turn people’s lives around.  Some people, however are unable to get with the Higher Power concept found in AA and NA.

Many Paths: One Destination

But am I naïve enough to think that the 12-Step model is the only way to go?  Of course not. There are many paths to the same destination.  One thing I do know is that for most individuals stopping drug use is hard to do by one self.  At some point, the addict is going to need help. The idea of “cold turkey” just doesn’t cut it.

So what do you do if you want to stop using drugs but don’t want to go the 12-Step route?  Here are a few treatment models to consider:

  • Formal Counseling – Whether it is inpatient or outpatient counseling, this method can begin to open the door to the possibility of a drug-free life. The availability of resources may vary depending on where you live.  Some therapists use methods such as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) to help individuals with the recovery process.
  • SMART Recovery – Based on a 4-Point Program offers specific tools and techniques for each of the program points:

          Point 1: Building and Maintaining Motivation

          Point 2: Coping with Urges

          Point 3: Managing Thoughts, Feelings and Behaviors

          Point 4: Living a Balanced Life

Hope is Essential

There are of course, other methods people utilize in their attempts to quit using. Often times the individual hits bottom and comes to the realization that either he stops using or he ends up facing devastating consequences.  An added element in the early recovery process that is crucial is hope. When a person is able to have even a small glimmer of hope that recovery is possible positive things can happen.

So in reality there is no one :”best way” to quit using drugs.  The main thing is to keep an open mind and never give up hope.  Of course, there are many other things a person can do to help themselves stop using drugs but having the support of others can make the process just that much more manageable.

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4 Responses to The Best Way to Quit Using Drugs

  1. Eliza Player says:

    I see you made no mention of either Suboxone or methadone. Statistics show that these treatments are much more successful than abstinence-based treatments. Statistics show that 90% of all opiate addicts relapse within the first year of beginning and abstinence-based treatment program, while 60% of methadone patients who detox completely off the drug after at least 2 years of treatment will remain opiate free for at least 5 years. And Suboxone is thought to have even higher success rates, although it is so new that the data is not really there, like with methadone. Furthermore, a number of opiate addicted patients overdose when they relapse after a period of abstinence, often brought on with treatment. Hazelden noticed a dramatic number of deaths from overdose in their opiate addicted patients after leaving treatment, which led them to adding Suboxone to their treatment list.

    I just really feel that in discussing alternatives to 12-step programs, mentioning some more evidence-based practices, including Suboxone, methadone, and even things like Vivitrol, is really the only unbiased way to cover this topic. These treatments are working, in many cases better than the three you mentioned here, and I think that are are also worth mentioning in this argument, at least in my opinion. While some may not agree with these treatments, claiming that patients are not ‘clean’ while on them, but they are most certainly in recovery, and their lives are inevitably being saved and improved. To fail to include these treatments as viable alternatives to 12-step programs is incredibly biased, if you ask me.

  2. Great point Eliza. As you stated, there are arguments both for and against Suboxone and methadone. There are, however instances of individuals who remain on thses treatments for a prolonged period of time. I guess, in my post, I was looking at the issue from a purely abstinence-based perspective. Thanks for your comments.

  3. Robert says:

    Methadone for detox “ONLY” take it from a 35plus year “Dope Fiend-Heroin Hype”Methadone is by far worse to kick then the smack.When your ready and I mean READY then just lock down and kick,I really don’t care what dude thinks about Cold Turkey,just another one who has probally never stepped or walked in these shoes.3-5 days of HELL,1-2 weeks of flu like symptoms,it’s done! Now don’t get me wrong your just getting started,now the time has come to deal with the Biggest Problem and it’s located “Between Your Ears”.People like us are and have been coddled for way too long,with so many enablers & the politically correct,you have a disease,& bleeding heart liberals/counselors no wonder the bullshit rates of sucess are so low.Take Responsibility for what you created,nurished,& loved for so long.Treatment today with “Dome” 90% of the time ends at death or at best several-several years.I’ve been on clinics from New Orleans,Memphis,LasVegas,SaltLakeCity,Ogden,Pensacloa,do i really need 2 continue,because there is no difference in ANY of them..ClinicOwners depend on maintanance cuz 98% of them have become Legal Dealers,in maint.all you have done is swap one addiction for another,and more often then not you’ll throw in some benzos & alcohol(deadly combo only to highten dangers “TheJuice”)Oh,but we Piss Test,Yeah Right,your dealing with junkies & we will beat your test all to hell and back.Still think Dome is the way 2 go? Then consider this for the next 6,8,12….months you feel like crap,so much like crap,backsliding is just arriving at your door.Listen,I know how hard & cold this sounds,Good,think back on all those relationships you threw in the cooker & shot right up your arm.You created this monster now you have to Kill it & Kill that muttha quick.He will return many times with many different faces & he won’t be alone,he will arrive with 10 of his best little demons because they love to screw up a clean house.Remember these are familiar spirits,they know you all too well,they know your bottons,weakness,and obsessions,they will return,the better you are prepared the better shot you have at overcomming & stomping those nasty lil demons who you loved so deeply at one,two,fifty times.Pump-up your chest,beg 4 forgivness from family & friends,because you have a tough road ahead your gonna need these folks in so many ways so that you can gain the Victory.Just-a-Thought.

  4. Karen says:

    In life we all have our own individual unique journey to travel. It’s with hope and the support of others that help us get there.

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