Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Relapse

It is difficult to keep truly accurate statistics with the kind of work we do. A satisfied customer who has eaten a great meal at a restaurant will gladly share the information with family and friends. Having a successful detox situation is not always something one wants to share. Upon completion of a detox at The Coleman Institute, we encourage our patients to return for naltrexone implants for a year while immersing themselves in an intensive counseling program. This combination helps to ensure successful recovery. Unlike many other businesses, a true success story for The Coleman Institute means after a few naltrexone pellets, we may never hear from a patient again.

We do however, see patients who have relapsed. I was very impressed with a particular mother and son team who came in last week, and their perspective on the relapse.

Jason, age 23, had gone through a detox from heroin with us in the early fall of last year. He had been working his program and had returned to school and a part-time job. He came for a 2nd three month pellet and continued to feel strong. He started gradually going to fewer and fewer meetings as his life became busier with school and work, and his confidence in his recovery grew with each day clean.

When the second pellet wore off, he felt he was doing very well—and he was. He opted to forgo a 3rd implant. Whatever his particular ‘perfect storm’, when this opportunity to use came along, Jason succumbed. He didn’t use for long; he had had enough of feeling good to know he didn’t want to slide into that life-style again.

Jason’s mother-like many of the mothers who accompany their children through the maze of drug treatment and detox, has done lots of research. She could easily give a lecture to a group of new medical school grads. She knows that addiction is a life-long condition that needs daily treatment. She also knows-because of her research and because of living through the agonies and triumphs of her son’s story—that it is all a process…and for Jason, getting a naltrexone pellet would ensure his return along the right path. Jason may have backslid a couple steps, but in the big picture he is so far ahead of where he was three years ago when he was going through 20 bags a day.

While working on the light bulb, Thomas Edison is charged with commenting that he never failed. It (the light bulb) just didn’t work the first 10,000 times.

There was not one iota of discouragement or self pity as Jason’s mom stationed herself next to his bed on the final day of his 2nd detox, armed with coffee, laptop and the daily rag.

“I know Jason is on his way to being one of your success stories. This relapse made him smarter; helped him fine tune his recovery,” she told me.

What that means is we may not ever hear from or see him again after he gets a few more naltrexone pellets under his belt. With all due respect, good riddance and God speed, Jason!

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