Recovery Connections

John Schwary is CEO of Transitional Living Communities, an 850-bed recovery program he founded in Mesa, Arizona January 9, 1992, when he had a year sober. He's in his 28th year of recovery.

In these posts, he views life mostly through the lenses of recovery. While the blog is factual, he often disguises events and people to protect anonymity.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

No more Cravings

Since the advent of new drugs that block the effects of opiates and other addictive substances addicts are having to ask themselves a question. And the question is: how serious am I about quitting? About living clean?

This comes up for me today because I've seen a few clients in the last few months who are offered sort of a magic pill. And the magic pill is an injection of Vivitrol that takes away the cravings for alcohol and opiates for a month or longer. But some have declined the injection, for whatever reason.

And when I think of what the reasons could be I don't come up with much. Could it be that the idea of not having a craving for their drug of choice scares them? After all, who am I going to be if I don't have my cravings? And how am I going to deal with my challenges if I can't kill the pain with drugs or alcohol? Or will I even have emotional pain? Who will I be if I'm no longer driven by my addiction? Where will I hide?

It seems to me that with the advances in pharmacology that give us drugs to take away cravings we're entering a new era.

For those serious about change this removal of cravings could be a blessing. But what about an addict's personality and character defects? Just because we take an injection - that doesn't remove the flaws that led us to use in the first place.

Do we need to still go to 12 step meetings now that we don't have cravings? After all, 12 step meetings help us develop skills to get past cravings. But without the cravings, will we need to attend meetings? After all, our issue is now under control with chemicals.

Will drug companies replace 12-step meetings and recovery programs with a prescription that will heal us all?

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