A while back, I got a call from a mentor with a GED program about a client of hers who needed help. The client was a seventeen (17) – year-old girl who’s addicted to Oxycodone. Anytime I get these types of calls, I can’t help but need a deep breath; opiates are a common enemy of mine and when the person they’re impacting is still a minor, I can’t help but lose a bit of neutrality. It’s sad to me that someone so young needs help to overcome an addiction to an opiate. Recovery is hard work and when the person who enters recovery is still trying to herself out, it makes the work all that much harder.
The good news, though, is that she recognizes, for whatever reason, that she needs help to kick. To me, it’s a strong indication that the person wants to get clean; if she wasn’t seeking help, the self-deception could still be at play and she could be saying what someone else wants to hear. But, since she’s wants external support, perhaps she realizes that she, alone, is not strong enough to kick Oxys.
What should she do? While I don’t have enough information to really know what a comprehensive treatment plan would look like for her, I can say that she should write herself a list of reasons why she wants to kick and list the positive outcomes she wants to derive from her reasons. The point of this list is to strengthen her motivating factors and understand the positive changes getting clean will yield. Also, she can refer to her lists when her recovery becomes more difficult as a reminder about why she chose to kick. You see, Addiction is an insidious disease that, through its compulsivity component, robs the afflicted of any conscious choice.
Recovery, however, is purely a matter of conscious choice. Writing and reflecting on her reasons for getting clean will edify them and, maybe, provide fuel and positive energy that can drive her recovery.
While she’s working on her list, I would recommend two other (2) things: 1) She should find a Suboxone program in her area (click here to find a doctor); and 2) find an NA meeting in her area. While there are those who do not agree with replacement drug therapies, I have had success working with clients using Suboxone appropriately. Yes, there are those who enter Suboxone programs who then sell their prescriptions and sure, there are those who don’t adhere to the program correctly, but Suboxone can work if monitored and planned for a short-term and tapered timeframe. As for NA, the support that a twelve (12) step program can provide would help her, as belonging is critical to all adolescents. The worst feeling for adolescent addicts is that they are alone and isolated because of their addictions. The NA group can be a place of connection and a vehicle through which she can diffuse some of her shame.
I can’t guarantee that the three (3) suggestions I’ve shared will help, but I do know that they would be a great place to start. Doing nothing, for certain, won’t yield anything more than a longer lasting addiction.