If heroin is the devil, then Naltrexone is my angel.
By the time it was suggested to me by the physician at one of the many rehabs I had lived in, I had thought I had tried everything and was feeling pretty hopeless. I’d contemplated suicide many times, thinking I couldn’t keep living in this cycle of sobriety, relapse, rehab, sobriety, relapse, rehab.
I had tried medication but never stuck to anything long enough for it to really work. I also didn’t like the idea of taking one drug to keep me off another.
The Naltrexone implant changed everything.
I won’t say it cured my addiction, because that’s not how it works. Instead, it just really helps curb the physical craving for heroin, which allowed me to do the mental work I needed to do to get better. When your brain is no longer overshadowed by your body’s urgent need to use, you can actually participate in therapy, and use other tools to get better.
A doctor places the implant – mine was in my stomach, but I know it can also go in your arm and other places. The process only took a few minutes and was relatively painless. Compared to withdrawal or detoxing, almost anything is painless.
I could tell the difference very quickly. I didn’t have to remember or decide to take a pill every day, and my cravings were gone. The medicine is released slowly into your body over months. Physically, I was feeling much more like myself, instead of having those crazy strong cravings for heroin.
Finally, I was able to really focus on my recovery. I didn’t have the choice to wake up one day and decide not to take medicine to curb cravings because I wanted a hit instead. The decision was made for me, and my body was satisfied.
I still had to do the hard work, but it was so much easier without my body screaming at me for drugs. I had to address why I had fallen into heroin in the first place, my codependence in relationships, and my history of reckless drug and alcohol abuse, even before addiction. I learned a lot about myself, about addiction, and about how to stay in recovery on my own outside of rehab.
As I said, Naltrexone is not a cure for addiction. It’s not a replacement for heroin either. It just gives your body the help it needs, so your mind can get back on track. I am so thankful for this medicine and would recommend anyone who is prescribed it by a doctor give it a fair try.