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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. The best way to quit using drugs is determined by the addict. 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.

14 thoughts on “The Best Way to Quit Using Drugs”

  1. 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.

    1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. for me its very sad to know that one of your family is using. i dont even know how to stop them ,and make them realize how sad we feel for them .I REALY HOPE THEARS A SIMPLE WAY TO STOP THEM AND DRUGS WILL NEVER BE SEE IN THE WORLD

  4. Anyone who uses another drug to get off one is kidding themselves period. You get high off sobuxone and methadone. Stop lying to others. People who get on that crap and they continue to be hooked on a substance. I wish he drug life never existed. That whole ugly scene stinks. And drug dealers are pure scum. And the cops who let some people sell drugs because they are helping them out are just as bad. If you allow dealers to sell drugs people die. That’s the real problem. Long long sentences with manual labor will kill those [moderated] dealers.

  5. As the wife of an ER Doctor, I used to feel so sorry for people suffering in pain, myself being one of them. Their habits are undeniably easy to spot. I would NEVER change Doctors, exaggerate my disease, make useless trips to the ER, try to influence people I don’t even know for their script. If I ran out, I never do, but if I did, I would suffer through it, use meditation, exercise, steam rooms, and sweat it out. I always carry a thumb drive with my medical records so my life could be saved by first responders. I also always give myself a break from the meds, a week, a month whatever. The reality is if you don’t they won’t work for you anymore for your pain, and then you will be forced to take more and more. Who wants that?

    Addicts will manipulate, change drugs, seek multiple Doctors, use street drugs, and most importantly become VERY ANGRY over not getting what they want. They will tell sob stories, and do anything besides show strength.
    I feel bad for people like me that have life altering diseases, and many times need these medications to live healthy, productive lives! Or we would become a huge problem to our society and have to live off our government on disability. How humiliating, a hard days work is so good for you! The difference is our bodies may become addicted, but rarely do our minds. Just watch how we behave if we don’t get what we want or need. The behavior is very different.

    That is the difference. We live our own 12 step program and simply pay it forward!

  6. There is none. If Dr Silkood would be alive today he certainly again conquer that for the Type 1 Chemical Dependent there is no cure or much hope. Only a spiritual experience can bring in rare cases some success. Addiction in all shapes and form is as any other disease primary chronic and fatal.

  7. i have been sober for just under 4 years, i was on a suboxone maintence program, i tapered as directed by my doctor. i also learned things about my self serving, egotistical ,insecure, inner conflicted, self using the twelve steps of recovery as a guidline for living. i was very judgemental and evenoutspoken about the steps prior to actually learning about them. the spiritual principles , a manifestation of the steps, of getting out of your self and serving a brother or sister new to recovery, is never a bad thing. to get caught up on the higher power concept, is to miss the message. go from selfish to selfless. try the steps, there ever evolving , and always improving you if you let them. one year off suboxone, and almost 4 years off heroin. thank you godn and modern medicine.

  8. Ayahuasca: the magical brew of amazonian plants

    Ayahuasca; also called “rope of the soul” or “vine of the spirit” is the name given to banisteriopsis caapi vine and chacruna plant brewed from immemorial time by the indigenous people of the amazonian basin (more often by shamaans – the spiritual leaders of the tribes)

    The Ayahuasca brew wich has powerful consciousness expanding properties, has strong antihelmintic effects (kills parasites) and purificates the body.

    The principal active ingredient in the brew is DMT (N,N-dimetiltriptamin).
    DMT can be found in all living things in the planet, including plants & mammals. DMT is produced in smaller quantities by the brain, its responsible for our dreams when we sleep.

    The reason im putting this article up is because i want to point out the inmense benefits ayahuasca has brought to my life – and what it could do to yours!

    I have been drinking the brew regularly for over 2 years with amazing results. It was a life changing event. In my case i had a terrible problem with addictions to various drugs (heroin xanax crack & alcohol) for over ten years in spite of being in various rehab institutions, psiquiatric institutions for forced rehabilitation, religious centers, nothing seemed to help. i realy saw myself as a lost case along with my wife.

    Ours lifes changed from stealing, begging and living in the streets to both completely rehabilitated, working with an active healthy lifestyle.
    Nobody that knew us would ever believed this to be possible. Our selfesteem wich used to be rock bottom has radicly changed with a new perspective of life.

    My wife and i are part of a ayahuasca drinking society in the city where all kinds of people come to the events. By this i mean Its not just for addiction problems its used, Ayahuasca helps for all type of personal problems youre going through, big or small.

    Id be happy to answer any questions you may have


    hope i could be at help!

    1. Interesting Christian, thanks for your post. I have heard about ayahuasca but don’t know nearly enough about it to have much of an opinion. Though for myself personally I don’t think it’s the right choice, perhaps it can help others.

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