Best Method of Heroin Addiction Recovery to Help You Stay Clean
June 6th, 2010 by Patrick

What is considered to be the best method of heroin addiction recovery to help people to stay clean?

There are a few different ways that a heroin addict can approach recovery.  Let’s assume for a moment that the addict has already gotten past the initial phase of detox, either through cold turkey methods, staying in a drug rehab, or possibly using Suboxone to taper themselves down.

After that initial week of hell is over with, how does the addict stay clean and sober for the rest of their life?

There are many approaches, though most people think there is only one.  Everybody who is living clean in recovery today will have a very strong bias towards the method that worked for them.  Do NOT be misled by this.  If you have to, go interview 100 recovering heroin addicts, and you will find that there is, in fact, more than one way to live a clean life in recovery.  No one recovery program dominates.

With that said, most people point to the 12 step programs such as AA and NA as being the best path in recovery.  People who are actually in these programs will also have a tendency to say that this is the ONLY way that any addict could ever remain clean in the long run.  There is a very strong fear-based response that seems to be almost cult-like….if you leave NA or AA, you are destined for relapse.

While these programs certainly can be helpful, this type of thinking is dangerous and should be avoided at all costs.

If you do your homework and seek out the data for success rates in various recovery programs, you will see that the 12 step programs do NOT have any sort of magic wand in their corner.  This is not to say that you should avoid NA necessarily….just don’t put blind faith in it as being the only possible solution for your recovery.

Now I know that sounds awfully negative toward 12 step programs and NA, but really I am just trying to be realistic and protect people from getting caught up in the groupthink that you tend to find there.  By all means, I still recommend that most people start with 12 step meetings, because the support network is so widespread.

But if you find that 12 step programs are not for you, then there are other methods.  My personal favorite is one of holistic growth.  This sounds like a whole lot of foo foo but actually it is a very sound strategy that is quite powerful.  Basically what you do is to look at your entire life in recovery and try to grow in every possible area.  Balance is emphasized and encouraged when you do this, so that you do not fall into traps (such as becoming obsessed ONLY with spiritual growth, and nothing else).

I have seen people in recovery who continued to smoke cigarettes, not exercise, gain weight, and die young.  What good, really, was there in avoiding holistic growth?  They could have made so many more changes and enjoyed a healthier life, and gone on to help more addicts to recover.  But instead they focused solely on spiritual growth and fell victim to their own poor choices (hardly a spiritual way to live, really).

Holistic growth is not just something you talk about at meetings, it is something you actually live.  You have to be open to growth opportunities that might come in many different directions.  So you might make leaps in education, emotional balance, physical health, and so on.  You do not limit yourself to just growing in any one specific area (like 12 step programs tend to do with spirituality).

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