It started out innocently enough.
A car accident in the mid-2000’s injured Karen’s back. She had several surgeries over the next few years and was prescribed endless medications from multiple doctors.
After she finished her third bottle of prescription painkillers, she stopped taking them. But the withdrawal symptoms started immediately, bringing with it brutal flu-like symptoms. Popping a pill, though, made it all magically go away. So she fell into an opioid addiction.
Hook. Line. And sinker.
Can you relate to Karen’s story? If so, you’re not the only one. Research shows that 1 in 4 people who are prescribed opiates for long-term use get addicted. As you can see, the opioid addiction in the U.S. has reached epidemic proportions as more and more Americans are turning to prescription drugs to cope. Even worse, deaths from opioid overdoses have reached staggering levels.
If you struggle with an opioid addiction, here’s the last prescription you’ll ever need—three simple steps you’ll need to take to overcome your addiction.
Step 1: Acknowledgement
You started using opioids to manage your pain. But you soon discovered that it helped to relieve more than physical pain; it also numbed your emotional pain. So you hide your feelings and isolate from others.
If you want to overcome your addiction to opioids, you’ll need to be honest with yourself and others by acknowledging you have a problem. The Living Bible puts it this way: “You can’t heal a wound by saying it’s not there…” (Jeremiah 6:14).
The First Step in the 12 Steps of Life Recovery explains the importance of acknowledging your addiction when it states: “We admitted that we were powerless over our problems and that our lives had become unmanageable.”
Step 2: Treatment
Get into a treatment program that’s long-term. Short-term treatment for opioids has a high drop-out rate. Some treatment programs are abstinence only. While others use opioid medications to slowly wean off the dangerous habit. But there are pros and cons to both. So do your own research and meet with an addiction counselor to help you know which treatment program might be best for you.
Counseling should address the root cause of your addiction and help you find healthy ways to cope. Instead of turning to opioids because of stress, do something that will actually help to alleviate stress such as meditating on God’s Word, exercising, and connecting with supportive people.
Once in treatment, be willing to work! You’ll feel a lot of pain and discomfort—both physically and emotionally—in treatment. If treatment is easy and you don’t feel any pain, you’ll be back to your old ways in no time. To succeed, you must be willing to do the difficult work it will take to put to death your addiction and choose to obey God.
Paul explains the struggle to put to death sin and choose to obey God when he writes: “Don’t you realize that you become the slave of whatever you choose to obey? You can be a slave to sin, which leads to death, or you can choose to obey God, which leads to righteous living.” (Romans 6:16, NLT)
Step 3: Commitment
Let’s face it: Recovering from an opioid addiction doesn’t happen overnight. And the time frame is different for everyone. Recovery takes a few months for some, while it takes years for others. Be committed for the long haul to never give up.
In addition to being committed to a long-term treatment program, get involved in a Life Recovery Group. It helps to know you have friends who’ve got your back. Your support group members will help you know you’re loved. And they’ll be a source of strength to turn to when you feel like giving up.
Life after rehab isn’t the end but rather the beginning of life-long recovery. If you want to stay clean for life, you must commit to persevering.
Hebrews 12:1-2 teaches us to persevere:
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us.
And keeping your eyes on Christ. “…Because of the joy waiting him, he endured the cross, disregarding its shame. Now he is seated in the place of honor beside God’s throne,” (Hebrews 12:2).
Christ, the only perfect model of faith, persevered until He died. He is able to strengthen you as you commit to working your recovery and continuing to connect with others.
Whether you’ve struggled with opioid addiction for 20 years or 2 months, take the first step by acknowledging you have a problem and get help today. You have so much to live for!