Sitting Bull is quoted as saying this: “Inside of me there are two dogs. One is mean and evil and the other is good and they fight each other all the time. When asked which one wins I answer, the one I feed the most.”
Think of Addiction as one dog and Recovery as the other. Which will win this fight?
People who are active in their addiction engage in drug seeking behavior in order to keep the addiction alive. As it grows stronger, priorities in life shift: Eventually, the only activity that will matter is feeding the addiction. They’ll lie for it. Cheat for it. Sell body and soul to feed it. They’ll go to jail, manipulate others, make excuses, and ridiculous promises all to feed the addiction.
On the other hand, the person in recovery will engage in a variety of activities that help to repair relationships the disease has damaged, while the brain simultaneously heals from the effects of drug use. They’ll work at a steady job, engage in hobbies, and spend time with family and friends all in an effort to grow stronger, happier, and healthier. The more they feed recovery with healthy activities, the better life is overall.
The question is: Are people who use Methadone or Suboxone treatment feeding the addiction or are they feeding recovery?
From our experience, we’ve seen our own patients get their lives back through the use of medication.
- They keep their jobs
- They build businesses
- They pay their mortgages or rent on time
- They have custody of their children
- They repair broken relationships and build new healthy ones
- They own their own car
- They are physically and emotionally more stable
And so much more!
This is not to say that things are perfect. People in treatment face the struggles in life like anyone else, but with the help of medication and through counseling they learn new, healthier ways to cope and manage those stresses. Life can take on a new form, and it’s nothing like it was when they were feeding their addiction.
In a nutshell, people using Medication-Assisted Treatment (Methadone and Suboxone) are exhibiting the characteristics of recovery, not addiction. They’re feeding the right dog.
People who choose these medications do so because the medication significantly reduces the overwhelming symptoms and cravings of withdrawal so they can function normally as treatment progresses.
But we can’t ignore this fact: Abuse of these medications absolutely does occur and sometimes with tragic consequences. Methadone is a schedule II narcotic and can be dangerous. This is why we take our commitment to our patients’ health and safety very seriously.
Often those who engage in misuse do so because they’re new enough to treatment that the full benefits have not yet taken root. This is the reason we at Crossroads offer a 3-pronged approach to recovery.
1. Medication. With the cravings eliminated, a person can concentrate on getting life back on track. They can work, play, engage with others, and enjoy activities that once were out of the question when the cravings and symptoms were in charge.
2. Counseling. Once the symptoms are no longer in control, the person can concentrate on re-calibrating their thinking and habits. Because drug-seeking behavior is no longer the priority, they’re free to work on the issues that led to drug abuse in the first place.
3. Drug-screening. Staying on track with medications is an absolute MUST for a successful recovery. Abusing the medication is dangerous and can be life-threatening. However, until a person has new habits and healthy thought processes in place, the temptation to abuse the medication may linger for a time as the brain heals.
There are many methods of treatment available. At Crossroads, we offer an option that we know is effective for many people and is considered the “Gold Standard” of treatment for opioid addiction: Medication-Assisted Treatment.
The Surgeon General Vivek Murthy recently said this about drug addiction, “We know how to prevent and treat addiction. When we stop judging, we can start helping.”
Related article: Why Taking Drugs to Treat Addiction Doesn't Mean You're Still Addicted