(512) 605-2955 Drug and Alcohol Detox Rehab Centers in Austin and Houston, TX

Sick and Tired of Heroin

stories addiction recovery

Juliana grew up living a simple quiet life in rural Austin. Although she was surrounded by wealthy kids at school and she knew she was different, her parents worked hard to ensure that she always had everything she needed. As a child, Juliana was exposed to some partying, alcohol use, and some drug use, but her home was always a place of safety and stability.

Juliana describes herself as a “straight edge kid” throughout middle school and into early high school. Although she didn’t experiment with drugs or alcohol at this age, she did suffer from behavioral problems. She never wanted to go to school, her grades weren’t great, and she saw several different therapists, who prescribed her antidepressants.

As Juliana got a little older, she found herself trapped in a string of toxic relationships which led to her first experience with drugs and alcohol.

“I met a guy and started drinking and smoking weed at parties and things like that,” she says. “I felt like I had found a group of people who were really my friends. I didn’t know where I fit in, but suddenly, I had these ride or die type people I could hang out with. They didn’t care or judge me as long as we could get messed up together.”

A Hard and Fast Fall

JulianaJuliana’s descent into addiction was hard and fast. She was 18, living on her own, had a good job, and although she was drinking and smoking, she was getting by. Then, she started dating a guy who abused opiate pain pills and sold heroin. Getting a taste of that changed everything and the next seven years of Juliana’s life were spent struggling with heroin addiction.

“I remember the first time I tried it, it gave me so much energy. It made things so easy and all the stuff in my head just stopped,” she says. “After I tried heroin, I wanted more the next day, and then the next day, and so on. I just never really stopped.”

Within a month, Juliana couldn’t pay her rent, lost her job, and she was forced to move back in with her parents. She smoked heroin every day for two years before it progressed to IV use. At one point during that time, she recalls overdosing and waking up in the hospital to see the pained looks on her parents’ faces.

“I put my parents through so much, but they were always really forgiving and put up with a lot for a long time,” she says. “They saw the worst of everything but never gave up on me. They were the only people who were there through all of it.”

A New Year’s Eve Wake-Up Call

At the age of 20, Juliana was arrested on New Year’s Eve. She spent a few days detoxing in jail but agreed to go to treatment when she got out. She was starting to realize that heroin just wasn’t fun anymore, and although she wasn’t fully dedicated to getting sober, she was willing to try.

Juliana’s first experience in treatment lasted 30 days, but it wasn’t the type of addiction treatment she needed to be able to make a lasting change. Although she did benefit from the counseling and some time away from everything, she didn’t work the 12 steps or delve into any of the recovery work.

“I relapsed that night after I got out. I didn’t think about it and I didn’t know it was going to be so hard. As soon as I left, I got such bad cravings and it just kind of hit me,” she says.

For five years, Juliana bounced in and out of detox centers, rehabs, and sober living homes, but was never able to maintain her sobriety for longer than a month. She didn’t want to be around other people, always stopped going to meetings, and never wanted to work with a sponsor on a long-term basis.

Juliana’s last treatment experience at Nova Recovery Center started the same way they always did: being sick and tired of heroin. Although she had attended rehab at Nova several times before, Juliana had always relapsed and was unsure if treatment would ever work for her. She was starting to think that maybe she was just destined to be
miserable and addicted.

After relapsing for the final time, Juliana asked to come back to Nova, and the staff welcomed her back. Unlike all the other times before, she chose to do things differently this time around.

Even though she was only in treatment for 30 days this time around, Juliana completed all assignments she was given (even the uncomfortable ones), worked through all the 12 steps, committed to working with a sponsor, and even made amends with her parents, which she had never done before. After completing rehab, she moved into a Eudaimonia sober living home, where she established some very strong connections with other girls in recovery.

“This time around, I put myself in the center of the program, while in the past, I had sat back and watched but was too afraid to get vulnerable. I wasn’t open-minded enough to do all the work,” she says.

Today, Juliana has been sober for 14 months, she just started a new job that she loves, and she has healthy relationships. She even goes back to Nova every month to share her experience and mentor other girls who are currently in treatment.

“Now, I want to be sober more than I want to use,” she says. “I know a lot of people who have died and that totally could have happened to me. It took me years and I’m just now getting it, so just don’t give up. It’s possible to have a good life but it takes getting connected to people and a program that will hold you accountable.”

“We don’t want to regret the past or shut the door on it, but we need to take that and use it to help people,” she says, quoting the Big Book. “Something good can come from all this.”

If you or a loved one is ready to take the next step and start your journey to recovery, call Nova Recovery Center today. We’re here to help you through each stage of the treatment process.

Opiate Addiction and Withdrawal: Why Treatment is Essential

Opiates are a class of drugs that include heroin and prescription painkillers like OxyContin and Vicodin. Widely abused and highly addictive, opiates can produce a marked sense of euphoria and wellbeing. The brain immediately learns to associate these feelings of pleasure with the drug, and cravings can begin to set in after the initial use.

Opiate Addiction and Dependence

An opiate addiction has developed when you are unable to stop using heroin or a prescription painkiller despite the negative consequences it causes. Addiction is not the same thing as dependence, although addiction and dependence typically occur together.

Opiates produce a high level of tolerance very quickly, which means that the brain changes its way of functioning to compensate for the presence of the drug. With chronic abuse, tolerance continues to build, and the brain may soon require opiates in order to function “normally.” When opiates are subsequently withheld, withdrawal symptoms set in as the brain’s way of telling you it has developed a physical dependence on the drug.

Signs and Symptoms of Opiate Addiction

According to the National Institutes of Health, some of the signs and symptoms of opiate addiction include:

  • Continuing to use opiates despite negative consequences to your health, relationships and finances as well as legal problems associated with the abuse.
  • Neglecting duties at home, work or school.
  • Increasingly neglecting personal hygiene.
  • Needle marks on the arms, legs, hands or feet.
  • Stealing or borrowing money to buy drugs.
  • Engaging in risky behaviors while under the influence.
  • Finding that you’re unable to stop using the drug even though you want to or have tried to.

Treatment for Opiate Addiction and Withdrawal

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, willpower alone is very rarely enough to conquer an addiction. Additionally, the withdrawal symptoms associated with opiate detox can be excruciating, and the vast majority of those who try to detox without professional intervention will quickly turn back to drugs to make the pain stop.

Medical detox will be the first step in treatment if you have developed a physical dependence on opiates. During medical detox, various medications are administered as needed to alleviate the intensity of withdrawal symptoms, which include hot and cold sweats, abdominal cramping and diarrhea, nausea and vomiting, intense cravings and muscle aches. These symptoms may be severe, but they aren’t life-threatening.

In many cases, medications like methadone and Suboxone, which stave off withdrawal symptoms and cravings without producing the euphoric effects of opiates, will be used to help wean addicted individuals off of the drug of abuse. Managing an opiate addiction in this way enables you to work on restoring your life and addressing the various underlying issues without distraction.

Once the physical dependence has been broken or your addiction is under control with the help of medications, various treatment therapies will be used to address the complex issues underlying the opiate abuse. Common therapies used to treat opiate addiction include cognitive behavioral therapy, which will help you identify and replace harmful thoughts, attitudes and behaviors, and motivational interviewing, which will help you identify your own intrinsic motivation for wanting to recover from chronic opiate abuse or addiction.

There Is Hope

Beating an addiction to opiates may seem like an insurmountable task, but treatment is designed to make withdrawal and treatment as pain-free as possible. A high-quality treatment center will offer a holistic approach to treatment that includes both traditional and alternative therapeutic approaches that address issues of the mind, body and spirit for overall wellness and successful healing from an addiction. In most cases, taking the first step toward treatment is the hardest part of recovery.

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