I was planning to write my mid-week post about the synchronicity of my first writer’s conference coming the week before my leap of faith into semi-retirement and how that reinforces my goal to spend more time in creative work.
But then I read this NPR article about the hope and controversy of medication assisted treatment for opiate addiction, and I decided to share my experience on this topic. After working as a substance abuse counselor for roughly 30 years, about 20 of those years working with clients on Methadone or Suboxone, I’ve learned a few things.
The most important thing I want to pass on about Methadone and medication assisted treatment, is that the medication is only one piece of the recovery pie. I’ve seen clients who did not change their lifestyles and thinking, did not learn new coping skills, and were not successful on the program.
I’ve also seen clients who followed recommendations and worked hard on their recovery, mentally, emotionally, physically, socially and spiritually. For those people, the medication combined with counseling and lifestyle changes, has worked amazingly well, and often better than other treatment modalities they had tried. These are the clients who have kept me working in the field for thirty years, along with the ones who I didn’t think were going to make it, but they surprised me and turned things around. God gets a lot of the credit, too. I couldn’t have hung in there this long without my H.P.
Now, it’s time for me to step back. Because I’m tired. Not so much tired of working with people who suffer from addiction. I can understand and accept that some people are not going to do the work, and that hurting people hurt people, including themselves. That’s part of the misery of addiction. It’s the @#*!… paperwork that I can’t keep up with anymore if I want to have a healthy life. I’ve watched the amount of paperwork (now it’s computer work, but we still have to print a lot of it out and put it in a chart) grow and grow year after year. There have been times when I’ve felt emotionally buried by the paperwork.
I believe I’ve done my share. But I still don’t want to let go completely. Next week, I go to the writer’s conference, and the week after that, I’m cutting back to just one day a week at the job that paid my bills for 30 years. The other days will be for me – for writing, art, my home and my relationships. I think I’ve earned this time. I’m so grateful to have this chance, thanks to my partner who you can read about on my about page.
Perfect Timing strikes again!
(Thanks to Pixabay for the photo.)