According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, addiction is a complex disease that takes more than good intentions or an act of the will to overcome.1 If recovering from opioid addiction required simply a change in behavior, it would not be the epidemic it is today.
Opioids like morphine and codeine are highly addictive, even in prescription form. Abuse over an extended period of time forces the body to stop creating its own endorphins, kills off its nerve cells and creates an even higher tolerance to the drug. More and more opioids are then necessary to achieve the same high, and the addict becomes obsessed with acquiring and consuming substances that will eventually kill him. Finding the right treatment program with support groups and quality aftercare is the best way to overcome addiction to opioids.
Opioid Addiction Treatment Basics
Opioid addiction typically begins with medically-supervised detox. Detox gives the brain and body the chance to rid itself of the drug. Medically-supervised detox allows the person struggling to go through the process in a safe way. Round-the-clock medical monitoring by trained personnel makes dealing with uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms easier. Once detox has ended, the diagnosis of any underlying mental illness is the next step in the process. Undiagnosed and untreated mental illness can contribute to the development of addiction, and treating both conditions simultaneously dramatically increases the chances of a successful recovery. Once a diagnosis is reached, treatment, including individual and group therapy sessions can begin. Treatment often includes other holistic options like meditation, yoga, exercise therapy, nutritional therapy and career assistance. Each part of the process is important for healing the entire person, body, mind and spirit.2
Opioid Support Groups
Opioid addiction may be one person’s issue, but recovery must happen in community.
You cannot resist the drug cravings and temptation to use again without the support of others who understand exactly what you are going through. Support groups not only help alleviate boredom (which often leads to using), but they give people in recovery a greater understanding of how to live sober from those who know best.
Opioid addiction is often based on an emotional element, and as the opioid user recovers from addiction there will be feelings that need to be addressed and confronted. These are not always emotions an individual may be comfortable sharing with friends and family. Support groups offer a safe place for those in recovery to share their struggles and successes on the road to recovery.
Why Support Groups?
Support groups also provide a place of non-judgment and accountability where addicts find strength to be truthful about their own struggles as others share their own.
The friends and mentors in these groups have been down the same road and can provide balance and understanding, as well as a sober community to replace old friends who are not pursuing sobriety. Walking the recovery road and dealing with relapse successfully is impossible without the proper accountability. With the right people surrounding and supporting you, recovery is possible.3
Not all support groups are the same, and the recovering opioid addict can choose the group that best meets his/her needs.Programs such as Narcotics Anonymous follow a 12-Step program, in which people in recovery are given spiritually based guidelines, along with a personal sponsor for ongoing guidance and help. Other secular or cognitive approach support groups like Smart Recovery are available to those who prefer a non-spiritual focus. And there are a number of online-support groups for every type of addiction.
Long-term recovery from opioid addiction requires a sober community in which to ‘do life’ without the drugs. Your therapist or treatment facility will help you or your loved one find a support group that best meets your needs.
Finding Support Groups for Opioid Addiction
If you or a loved one has an opioid abuse problem, please call our toll-free number, 760-548-4032. Our admissions coordinators are available 24 hours a day to answer your questions about support groups, addiction treatment and other steps towards recovery. Don’t let addiction control your life, call us today.
By Patti Richards
1“Understanding Drug Use and Addiction.” National Institute on Drug Abuse, NIDA, June 2018.
2“Treatment Approaches for Drug Addiction.” National Institute on Drug Abuse, NIDA, Jan. 2018.
3 Tracy, Kathlene, and Wallace, Samantha P. “Benefits of Peer Support Groups in the Treatment of Addiction.” The U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health, 29 Sept. 2016.