Recovery Tools

Aspects of Treatment: Abstinence

 

The Aspects of Recovery-Abstinence

 

The Aspects of Recovery are grouped into five areas:

  • Abstinence in recovery
    • Abstinence is more than just not using; it is about wanting not to drink or use, taking steps to protect yourself from others who actively drink or use, and asking for help when you are in danger of drinking or using.
  • Essentials of recovery
    • Willingness
      • Participating in your own recovery
    • Openness
      • Willing to talk to at least one person about what you are experiencing
    • Honesty
      • Avoid the three ‘E’s’:  don’t embellish, exaggerate or exonerate
  • Enriched recovery
    • Understanding individual reasons for use and making changes on a deeper level
  • Spirituality of recovery and
  • Uncommon elements of recovery
    • The culture, environment and beliefs of each individual not common, necessarily, to every person.

 

Abstinence in Recovery

 

ABSTINENCE

Abstinence is the first, and most important step in recovery.  Psychotropic drugs – any substance which affect a persons mental state -outside of a prescribed, monitored and strictly adhered to administration, must stop.  Definition:  The absence of substance use.

However, there are many different types of abstinence. Abstinence is typically interpreted as complete abstinence, but see  below:

  • Continuous abstinence: not consuming the drug of choice during a specified period of time
  • Essentially abstinent: not consuming more than a specified amount of the drug over a period of time
  • Minimal abstinence: achieving a minimal period of recovery during a period of time
  • Point-in-time abstinence: not consuming the drug of choice at a single point in time (e.g., the past 30 days)
  • Complete abstinence: continuous abstinence from all alcohol and other drugs
  • Involuntary abstinence: enforced abstinence due to hospitalization or incarceration

This is the first step, and only this first, step, is vital and concrete.  The decision to stop is a personal and individual choice, and many factors must be weighed and evaluated for your success.

The reasons behind your decision to enter into recovery may change and strengthen over time,  Many psychotropic drug have adverse side effects and withdrawal symptoms when the use has stopped.  Alcohol and benzodiazepines can have life threatening withdrawals and a medical consultation is strongly recommended.

One of the most devastating setbacks in starting recovery is returning to use and giving up, believing you are helpless in your addiction and trapped by your use.  This is not true!  The greatest deterrent to recovery are the symptoms of withdrawal, which can be unbearable.  Heroin withdrawals, while possibly not life threatening, can create such great discomfort that many people would benefit greatly from a medication assisted treatment program.  Please follow the link below for more information.

 

MAT programs, while restrictive, replace the need for heroin with methadone, which contains about a 30% opiate. Unlike Buprenorphine or Suboxone, which have ‘caps’ of efficacy, Methadone can be increased to meet the physical needs of powerful opioids.  This medication is highly effective for heroin withdrawal.  Once induction has been completed and a stable dose is achieved, a slow taper from the drug can begin.  At a stable dose, there is no ‘high’; and the recovering person functions normally in all areas.  Many nurses, doctors, drivers utilize this medication safely.  It is also safe during pregnancy.

Are You Ready To Think About Abstinence?

  1. Keep a log of when and how much you use. This will give you a better sense of the role using alcohol or drugs is playing in your life.
  2. List the pros and cons of quitting,(below), as well as the costs and benefits of continuing your drug use.
  3. Consider the things that are important to you, such as your partner, your kids, your pets, your career, or your health.
  4. How does your drug use affect those things?
  5. Ask someone you trust about their feelings on your drug use.
  6. Ask yourself if there’s anything preventing you from changing. What could help you make the change?

Drug of Use:

Why do you want to stop?

________________________________________________

Have you tried to stop before?

________________________________________________

What happens to you when you try?

________________________________________________

Is this prescribed?

________________________________________________

If yes, can you talk with your doctor first?

________________________________________________

Below, list the Pro’s and the Cons of use.  Include medical, financial, relationship issues

Pro’s

Cons

Pro’s

Cons

Pro’s

Cons

Pro’s

Cons

Pro’s

Cons

Pro’s

Cons

Pro’s

Cons

Things to Remember

  • Regardless of which stage of abstinence you begin, each step is a step forward.  Even if you use again, you have had a minute of peace.  Keep on quitting!
  • Choosing to stop using is not easy.  It is personal, emotional and involves great change.  It is also rewarding beyond your wildest dreams.
  • Consider engaging with a support group (follow the link below).  They are available on line or in person, and you will find support!