Thursday, November 1, 2012

Don't Believe Me, Believe Those Affected!

It's interesting that in response to my talking or writing about research on addiction treatment, I'll get anecdotes in return: "I don't care what the studies show, I got sober without medication!" So we've got to get the stories of people who have benefited from modern treatment methods out there too. I reader wrote an email to me recently, and gave me permission to publish it with identifying info deleted. If you don't believe in research, or believe me, perhaps you'll believe what the people directly affected have to say. Here's the email, and thanks again to the reader who allowed me to publish it. .

Hi Dr:

I have been reading some articles on you as my interest in Suboxone has come about because my 31 year old heroin addict son is trying it.  He has been in detox 4 times, holdings 3 times, 8 months of sobriety in the last year and currently got kicked out of a holding after waiting two months for a halfway house (for smoking).

He is now with his "clean" girlfriend and has gone on Suboxone.  He is going to NA meetings and the doctor is distributing the medication in small amounts, recommended my son see a therapist and of course, go to meetings.  I am hopeful but only "cautiously optimistic" but he feels good and looks good and has hope.

I don't understand all the negative publicity over addiction medications as if there is something out there that works, I don't care if he is on it the rest of his life.

I do believe in the 12 steps and the concept but I don't understand why addicts are punished for relapses and put back out on the street.  It is the worst thing for them.  I have gone the enabling route (didn't work) and now do not enable and have practiced tough love when needed.  I think it helps.  He no longer asks for anything and is truly hopeful.

I just wanted you to know that your information is good to read and necessary to educate all of us that there are alternatives out there.

Keep up the good work... You are saving lives.

Thank you for listening.

PS:  Have you ever heard of

It is a fabulous support group for family members of addicts.  it is a lifesaver for us parents and if you haven't heard of them, you might want to take a look. 


  1. Absolutely!!!
    I believe very much that there is a movement afoot. As slowly but surely, more and more of us are seeing our friends, family members, and loved ones (or ourselves!) go through addiction, only to fail over and over until we come across the right Dr and see for ourselves that there is another way. As you tell your story, the people around you will see that your son can live a full life, that your relationship can be repaired, and that there is hope.
    I often tell people, I feel blessed that my drug of choice was heroin. Sounds crazy, right? Well, luckily for me, there have been more pharmacological advances for my particular addiction. This is something to be celebrated.

  2. I don't understand why addicts are punished for relapsing either and I agree that it is the worst thing for them. Most individuals who suffer from addiction are already experiencing feelings of shame and guilt. When they relapse and feel more shame, instead of support, the cycle of using will only continue as well as their feelings of hopelessness. This feeling of hopelessness is not exclusive to the client. I think that some counselors who work with clients who have frequent relapses or have been to multiple treatments become hopeless that they can not help this type of client. It is important that counselors continue to provide hope and support because they may be the only person that can provide that for them.


Comments are welcome.