Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Defined by the Struggle

We are working with five people at the Richmond office of The Coleman Institute this week that are getting off methadone.

I’ve never gone through withdrawal before so I can only imagine what it’s like to go cold turkey from a drug that can take 30 to 50 days to completely leave your body. Participating in an Accelerated Opiate Detox is generally an eight day processThere is a lot of fear associated with stopping opiates. Fears not only about the physical withdrawal but also: what happens next? The answer is: everything you want and some of what you don’t want. . Dr. Coleman likens the period after stopping opiates to being a burn victim; even after you are pulled out of the fire, your skin hurts until it heals.

Starting the Recovery process is the beginning of an Epic Journey. It will be rich with struggles, set-backs, monsters, villains, close escapes, magical help along the way when least expected, moving forward, slipping back, triumph, tears and laughter. As I tell our patients, no one reads a book or goes to a movie whose plot is: He was born, lived a calm and rewarding life, then died peacefully. It is in the struggle that your story defines and refines you, turning the Hero’s Saga into The Promised Land.

I read recently that if a butterfly is ‘helped’ out of its cocoon by a well-meaning soul witnessing the struggle, the butterfly’s life expectancy is drastically reduced.

So it is with a life free from addiction. There really aren’t any short cuts. The rewards come with walking through the fire.

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