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Most of us have felt the effects of our nation’s opioid crisis. We have a family member, friend or co-worker who has become addicted to pain killers. We might know someone who is in legal trouble because of drug use. Or worse, we know someone who has overdosed or lost a member of his or her family to a drug overdose.

Opioid overdoses killed more than 42,000 people in the U.S. in 2016. That’s more than any previous year on record. An estimated 40% of opioid overdose deaths involved a prescription opioid. And a whopping 2.1 million people in the U.S. have an opioid use disorder.

Now more than ever addiction recovery is critical. Many times those suffering with a drug addiction need inpatient treatment. But, if a drug rehab program isn’t practical, they may try outpatient treatment.

At New Leaf Center, we know what works for recovery. We follow the 30-task treatment model created by Dr. Patrick Carnes, an internationally recognized addiction expert. This research-based approach details eight things people need to do to maintain a successful recovery program.

  • They have a primary therapist. This allows recovering people to examine their lives with someone who knows them well. The therapist helps guide them through challenges.
  • They are in a therapy group. This permits them to see themselves through the eyes of others in recovery. They then can decide what they’re willing to change to make their life better.
  • They regularly attend 12-step meetings. They get involved in the program, choose a sponsor, work the 12 steps, and do service work. By helping others, they help themselves.
  • If they have other addictions, they also address those. They explore and understand how their drug addiction is connected to other addictive behaviors. Other common addictive behaviors are overworking, overspending, overeating or undereating, gambling, and sex addiction. And they see how those addictions are related to deeper problems in their lives.
  • They work to identify and resolve family-of-origin and childhood issues. Nearly all addictive behaviors are connected to family relationship issues. Addressing those problems is an important part of recovery.
  • Their families are involved early in therapy. Family involvement is another important part of recovery. Support plays a significant role in recovering people’s lives. Family members help when they learn how to change their relationship with the addicted person.
  • They develop some form of a spiritual life. Spirituality is about connection – to oneself, family members, the community and a Higher Power of one’s own understanding. It may or may not involve some type of religion. Those who develop a strong spiritual life tend to do better in recovery.
  • They regularly exercise, eat healthy, and get a good night’s sleep. Taking care of their physical needs greatly increases their ability to handle stress. Anxiety is a key driver of addiction. Lowering one’s anxiety levels reduces the desire to act out. Healthy self-care also helps overcome the common feeling of shame – or not feeling good enough. Shame is another major driver of addiction.

New Leaf Center offers a weekly therapy group for chemical dependency recovery. Those interested in joining the group can call our office to schedule a screening session with the group’s facilitator Yale Kushner.