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5 Reasons I Changed My Mind about Medication-assisted Treatment
5 Reasons I Changed My Mind about Medication-assisted Treatment

Before I got sober, I had been in and out of rehab six times. Each time I would accumulate a few months of clean time before relapsing again. It seemed as though every time I went to treatment, I was being encouraged to try medication-assisted treatment (MAT), but I was terrified of it. I had tried taking Suboxone in the past, and it never worked for me. However, when I tried this, I really had no desire to get sober - I simply wanted to avoid going into withdrawals until I could get my next fix. 

 

Multiple studies have shown the efficiency of MAT among those who suffer from opioid use disorders. Regardless of the evidence, I’m a stubborn, hard-headed drug addict, who has to learn everything the hard way. I needed to learn from experience that I needed a little extra help in dealing with my cravings. After all, I had been abusing opioids for more than 10 years. That part of my life was embedded in my brain. 

 

As I reached the point where I was completely hopeless, finding myself in my seventh drug rehab center, I finally put my old conceptions to the side and gave MAT a shot. These are the 5 reasons why I changed my mind about medication-assisted treatment. 

 

1. The key to medication-assisted treatment lies within the word “assisted”.

I had been involved in recovery communities long enough to know that there was no absolute cure for addiction but had misconstrued ideas that Suboxone was claiming to be a cure. However, it’s called medication-assisted treatment for a reason - not medication treatment.

 

This meant that Suboxone treatment was only one part of my treatment plan. In fact, it was the smallest part. Sure, I took one sublingual film each morning, but the rest of my day was spent participating in a variety of behavioral and holistic therapies to get to the root causes of my addiction and teach me how to live without a substance in my body. 

 

2. I couldn’t cope with my cravings and focus on treatment at the same time.

When I was in prior rehabs, I was always far too focused on my cravings and obsessive thoughts to fully focus on and engage in therapy. It's easy to focus on my own thoughts when every ounce of my being is telling me to go get high. Through the use of MAT, my cravings were eliminated and I was actually able to receive therapy, build relationships with others, and begin to heal from my addiction. 

 

3. Suboxone wouldn’t be permanent: it was merely a tool on early recovery. 

I had always heard horror stories of people staying on drugs like Suboxone and Methadone for years, only to go through withdrawals when they stop taking them. I didn’t want this to be me. For me, the goal was total abstinence. 

 

Thankfully, I was able to voice these concerns upon my intake, and I was reassured that Suboxone would be temporary. When my clinician and I both felt comfortable in my ability to cope with my emotions and deal with my cravings, my dose was lowered and I eventually got off of Suboxone all together. The best part is - I stayed sober. 

 

4. Other methods had failed for me and I didn’t want to die. 

I had tried holistic treatment. I had tried psychotherapy. I had tried twelve-step fellowships. None of these things kept me sober. I was also starting to overdose more and more, but I really didn’t want to die. I felt hopeless like nothing was going to work. When I had exhausted all other options, I became open-minded enough to try whatever was suggested of me. It turns out, that being open to doing the things that others suggest is exactly what I needed to achieve long-term sobriety. 

 

5. The treatment center I was at made me feel safe. 

One of the main reasons that I was open to trying Suboxone this time is because I felt safe at the treatment center I was at. I felt like my voice was actually heard, and, for some reason, I felt like I could trust these strangers who were trying to help me. Perhaps it was a shift in my own perception because I can’t pinpoint exactly what made this facility stand out from the rest. Or, maybe they really were different. Maybe they really did care. Being able to feel safe and cared for gave me the comfort I needed to try something new.

 

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