Finding Help Detoxing Off Of Heroin

Finding help detoxing off of heroin

Every day my colleagues and I at Coleman Addiction Medicine work with people who are desperate to keep their loved one alive and free from addiction. We are fortunate to have compassionate and qualified case managers and social workers who help us in our fight.

The Starting Point

We specialize in helping people get off alcohol, benzodiazepines, and opioids in its many faces: heroin, fentanyl, methadone, buprenorphine, codeine, Dilaudid, hydrocodone, morphine, tramadol, kratom, oxycodone, oxymorphone, etc.

Once a client is enrolled with Coleman Addiction Medicine, the path towards recovery begins to reveal itself. But regardless of what substance a person desires to stop, physical detoxification has to be the starting point.

A Mother’s Real Experience

We invited the mother of a patient who detoxed off opioids and is into her second year of sobriety to write a blog describing her experience with her daughter:

I remember thinking, “Our lives have changed forever” after a call from my ex-husband saying he had discovered that our daughter, 30, was using opiates. I found a parking spot and tried not to completely freak out. There would be time for that later. 

Not Knowing What to Expect

I was shocked and afraid for her. I told her dad that we needed to act immediately, that her next use could be her last. I never thought my child would use anything other than alcohol and marijuana, both of which I already knew were part of her recreational activities. Neither of us had any idea of how to proceed. Ah, how clueless I was.

Our Plan Forward

Every day I was worried out of my mind about her using, possibly fatally, and the confrontation we were getting ready to have. She was living out of town so we had to wait for her to come home. We

wanted to hammer out exactly what to say and we had no idea where to start. A local residential treatment program gave me important advice: whatever we do or say, we must do it out of love, not anger, and have a plan in place. A local Nar-Anon group a friend told me about was immensely helpful in helping us form our plan forward.

When she was home next, she heard we had discovered her secret so we agreed to meet the next morning. My stomach hurt and my heart ached and I was full of fright. We sat down and talked about our fear and our love for her and that we hoped she’d be willing to go to the treatment program and talk to them. We told her that she could not stay in either of our houses as long as she was using. So she reluctantly agreed to go and she and I headed directly there. They were expecting us.

What To Do Next

When she arrived, she talked with an intake staff member for 45 minutes. He impresses upon her how serious her addiction is. He tells her that if she doesn’t stop using, she’ll die. Heroin is fatal. She comes out of his office in tears. We go to see the residential recovery house and he presses her to make a decision.

Back home, I called another rehab program. They said she could come, and her insurance agreed to cover it so we took her there the next day. We drove away feeling like we’d done the right thing.

Only two hours later she called and said we had to pick her up because a girl recognized our daughter and she felt uncomfortable. We felt that that was an unreasonable decision but picked our daughter up and wondered what to do next. 

A Pinnacle Moment

Her dad and I thought that maybe we’d caught it early enough that this might work. What did we know?! Because she was detoxed, we decided that she would put together her own program. That was November and we were nervous through the holidays. I told the few friends who knew about what was going on that I felt she had gotten better. It was a combination of denial and hope that we were done with the situation. At lunch with her one day, I asked her if she was using drugs because I suspected that she might be and she flat out denied it. I wanted to believe her, but she was lying.

She called me in tears at the start of the year. “I’ve relapsed and I’m so sorry, but I’ve already called Coleman Addiction Medicine about their detox program.” She had tried to detox herself and it was a horrific experience. She described the horrible chills and shaking as she desperately tried to get through it. She really wanted help this time. This time was different. I was so grateful that she had sought help… that was a pinnacle moment.

Getting the Help She Needed

With Coleman’s medical detox protocol — she was prescribed meds to help her get through the withdrawal and a visit to the clinic every morning. Then we went back to the treatment program where she stayed for the next month.

She had been needing intensive therapy like that for years, and she immersed herself in the opportunity to learn and heal. At this facility, residents are up by 5 to go work out at the Y. Days are filled with one-on-one sessions and group meetings. By the time her dad and I visited during family day, she had made giant strides and was living her recovery without hesitation. The therapy was giving her the space to dig into issues that had been needing attention.

She has moved out into her own apartment and recently got a promotion at her job. I know there are no guarantees, but every day that she is clean and sober I am grateful for it. She came home after a month and decided to live with me. I was honored to watch her recovery unfold through determination, meetings, and a sponsor. She was enthusiastic and positive and remains so more than a year later.

Sharing the Journey

My father was an alcoholic and back in the day, we didn’t speak of it to anyone… It was a family secret that made us all unhealthy. Our daughter has been very public about her recovery, a position I felt uncomfortable with at first. When I mentioned to her that maybe she shouldn’t be quite so open about her story, she admonished me, “Mom, there is no shame in recovery!” She was right and I have chosen to be open as well, hoping that our story may help someone else.

We could not have done it alone and are grateful for the guidance and kindness of everyone.

The staff at Coleman Addiction Medicine were professional, friendly, and non-judgmental. I so appreciate the people who helped us when our heads were spinning and set us on a healthy path. They helped us understand the urgency of the situation. Her 30-day treatment program matched her needs. And I’m especially thankful for the support from members of the Nar-Anon group. 

Every situation is different, but if you would like to discuss your addiction problem, please give us a call.

Joan R. Shepherd, FNP

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