Life After Opioids

Life After Opioids

On a beach in South Florida, hundreds of miles from home, Lori Dilley Anthony reached a turning point in her life.

She’d traveled from Delaware to get help for a nearly 35-year addiction to opioids and other drugs. She’d checked into the same treatment center as her husband, who’d made the trip the month before.

On a hot, muggy day in September, the couple and other residents of the center went to the beach, one of Anthony’s favorite places. As the sun began to set, she and her husband sat in the sand to talk. He told her he loved her but wanted a divorce. Anthony was devastated.

She was alone in an unfamiliar place, still fragile in her recovery. She stayed in bed for 3 days, fighting the urge to get high and refusing to rejoin the treatment program. Finally, there was a shift. “It’s like God put His hands on me and said, ‘You’re worth something. Get up, now. You need to move forward.’”

Anthony says although the experience was a low point, it was the best thing that could have happened to her. It was time for a new chapter.

Staying Sober

Addiction experts say one of the most important first steps in rebuilding your life after opioids is to get and stay sober from all drugs and alcohol.

“Some people with an opioid dependence may believe that opioids are the sole problem and revert back to drinking alcohol socially or smoking marijuana,” says Aaron Sternlicht. He has been sober from opioids since 2012 and is the co-founder of Family Addiction Specialist, based in New York City. “Although it may be possible for some to do so in moderation, oftentimes it can lead individuals back to their drug of choice.”

He suggests avoiding all substances early in addiction recovery. Later on, when you’re consistent and stable in your sobriety, you may be able to indulge in moderation.

Anthony went through detox for 28 days and then a recovery program. She took part in group therapy with others dealing with drug and alcohol addiction. She’s been sober since 2016.

Building Structure

Structure and a daily routine keep you on track when you’re recovering from opioid addiction. Try to plan your day, from the time you wake up to when you go to bed. Find a hobby you enjoy. Spend time with sober friends with the same interests.

When you’re busy, your mind is less likely to wander to using drugs or other negative thoughts. Sternlicht cautions, though, that too much on your plate can also be harmful. “Stay busy, but not to the point where it becomes a distraction from dealing with underlying issues like trauma or mental health,” he says.

Remember to take care of your physical health, too. Opioid addiction often triggers disordered eating. This results in missed meals and poor food choices. As many as 35% of people who misuse drugs or alcohol also have an eating disorder, which is 11 times higher than those who don’t.

Regular exercise also helps with addiction recovery. It can curb drug cravings, ease stress, and fill your time. It also releases chemicals called endorphins from the pituitary gland for pain relief and a natural high. “When

Read More

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *