Monthly Archives: September 2015

Medication Assisted Treatment is the Gold Standard for Opiate Addicts

A bias exists in which medication used as a recovery tool is cheating. Many people in the 12 step community have been led to believe that people who use medication are simply switching one addiction for another. However, the abstinence model is being replaced. In fact, SAMHSA is encouraging states to require that treatment facilities either have the capacity to use medication assisted treatment (MAT) or have collaborative relationships with other providers who do.

Discussion Guide:

Are rapid detox programs effective for long term recovery for people who are dependent on opiates?

Is inpatient treatment effective for an opiate addict, if they don’t offer medication assisted treatment?

Are you being set up for failure if you are in a controlled environment, such as incarceration or inpatient program, and not given medication assisted treatment upon your release?

Can you say that you have successfully completed a court ordered treatment if you choose to continue your medication indefinitely?

Supplementary Reading:

Feds Now Pushing States Toward Medical Treatment for Opiate Addicts

Who’s In Your Circle of 5?


It is said, ‘You can often tell how far your life and career will go based on the five people  you spend most of your time with.’ This is especially true in the drug environment. People in recovery need to examine the people, places and things in their lives as an indicator of their future direction.

Discussion Guide:

Do the people in your life support recovery?

Do they challenge you to achieve your fullest potential?

Your income, weight, habits and even marital satisfaction are tied to some degree to the significant people in your life. How are you being effected by these people?

What traits are you lacking that you want to develop, and can you find those traits in others?

Supplementary Reading: Who’s In Your Circle of 5?

Tapering from Methadone

People who have experienced withdrawal symptoms from their addiction are fearful they will experience it again as they lower their dose of medication. What is the therapeutically advised means of tapering one’s dose?

Discussion Guide:

You may have been told that stopping Methadone or Buphrenorphine is worse than heroin. Why would someone believe that?

How do you know if you are ready to cease your medication?

What constitutes “readiness”?

We utilize a Tapering Readiness Tool to assess conditions that indicate readiness. Can you answer yes to all the items on the inventory?

What is the 10% rule of thumb?

What is blind dosing?


Tapering_Inventory  The purpose of this inventory is to help you decide if you are ready to discontinue Methadone or Buprenorphine at this time. Please note that Buprenorphine is interchangeable with Methadone.


What Can We Expect From Someone in Recovery?

Recovery is defined not only by drug abstinence, but by changes in behavior, relationships and life functioning.

Discussion Guide:

Recovery requires changes in almost every area of life. What changes do we expect from someone in recovery?

What does it mean when someone in recovery is still exhibiting bad behaviors and poor choices? Is that “partial recovery”?

Would you want your daughter to date someone who has a history of drug addiction?

When is it safe for you to date someone in recovery?

Supplementary Reading: How Long Does Addiction Recovery Take?

Drug Dreams

Many people experience dreams related to drug abuse. These can be vivid and upsetting. What is the meaning of these dreams and what do you do about them?

Discussion Guide:

What is a drug dream?

What is the meaning of a drug dream?

Does it represent a fear of abusing substances, a desire to abuse drugs, or is it a physiological response to your medication dose as too high or too low?

What do you do about your drug dreams?

Supplementary Reading:  The Function of Drug-Using Dreams in Addiction Recovery

Do People Ever Get Off Methadone or Buprenorphine?

Many people come to treatment wanting a rapid detox and miracle cure. But they find that recovery is a not a quick fix. Listen in on why these members stayed in the program beyond the initial stabilization stage.

Discussion Guide:

How long did you expect to stay in treatment?

What are the gains you have made in your overall life functioning with maintenance treatment?

It takes time to make sustainable changes. What changes have been the most difficult for you to make?

What needs to be in place to indicate that you are ready to work toward discharge?

What are your fears of leaving treatment?

Supplemental Chart:  Extended abstinence is predictive of sustained recovery: After 5 years, If You Are Sober, You Will Probably Stay That Way