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Heroin Addiction Recovery 101

Traveling the Road to Recovery

The reality is, a heroin or opiate addict is always an addict. Similarly to how cancer can go into remission but you always have it, the disease of addiction is always present. Thus, those addicted to heroin or other opiates can be “Active Addicts” (those currently and actively using their drug of choice) or “Recovering Addicts” (those on the road to recovery who are not currently or actively using). There is no such thing as a “Recovered Addict”. While that may sound daunting, it’s not as bad as you think. Allow me to explain.

Recovery from heroin or opiate addiction should be looked at like a long road trip or a journey rather than a quick fix. But like any journey or road trip, there has to be a starting point.


Many people who begin the road to recovery forget this very important step. Preparation should be both physical and mental. When preparing for a long road trip, you may prepare a list of all the items you need to bring along with you. The list may be physical or mental. After you make the list, you begin packing. Similarly, those getting ready to begin their journey to recovering from addiction must prepare. Making a physical list may be helpful. Below is an example of a list one might prepare to begin the road to recovery. I would call this “Considerations for Recovery”.

  • Who will support me in my journey? Write a list of names.
  • Tell the people I trust about my intention to recovery and ask for help
  • What are the treatment options available?
  • Which treatment option(s) or options is right for me? Pros and cons of each treatment, etc.
  • Is counseling enough or will I require medical treatment?
  • Will I experience withdrawal? If so, what can I do to prepare myself?
  • Which resources are available to me and which are statistically most effective?
  • What additional changes must I make in my life?
  • Who will I need to cut out of my life and why?

The above list of sample considerations can help anyone prepare for the journey ahead. In some ways, it will serve as the GPS for your “Road to Recovery”. But preparation and a road map is only the beginning. Once you have an idea of the coordinates on the GPS, the roadmap you will use to help you embark on your journey, it’s now time to put it into practice.

make the right choice
Commitment to Recovery – What is Relapse vs Slipping?

Recovery or living the sober life takes daily commitment and dedication. Even if you’ve selected medical treatment such as Methadone, Suboxone or Vivitrol, without daily commitment, it’s easy to “relapse” or “slip”. Relapse is a term to define those who fall back into regular use of heroin or opiates while a slip is considered a one-time incident of use with a quick return to recovery without further incident. Those who slip are likely to continue down the road to recovery while those who relapse can quickly go off route and are back on the dreadful highway to heroin. But those who’ve relapsed are not without hope. People who relapse can re-dedicate themselves and begin again. To read real stories from genuine heroin addicts on the road to recovery, visit our Kill the Heroin Epidemic Discussion Forum.

In the next section, we will discuss various specific treatment options, their benefits and limitations and the various myths, fallacies and stigmas that go along with medical treatment. To continue, visit “Beating Heroin“.

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