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I came down for treatment but I have to get back to my hometown because my daughter needs me. I’m gonna do detox and then inpatient. My question is when’s the soonest I can go back?


I’ve heard it said many times and even seen it happen to a lot of people: whatever you put before your recovery is the first thing that you will lose. Sounds harsh, I know. But I’ve seen it happen over and over. Recovery isn’t a one-time deal; you don’t just get some treatment and boom! You’re cured. It takes time to get all the junk out of your system and then to make the fundamental changes necessary in order to begin to recover from your active addiction and begin to re-build your life. I get it: you have a kid who needs her parent. But, you truly can’t “be there” for her – even if you’re there physically – until you take some time for yourself and give yourself a chance to get better. Anything less than that will be you being only a part-time parent; there’s just no way you can be your 100%. The bottom line is this: take as much time as you possibly can to put towards your recovery. If you’re on leave from a job and have the option to take more time off (as was the case for me), then take it. Someone is obviously taking care of your daughter while you are away. Make plans to extend your original arrangement. Anything and everything is possible if you are committed.

I just turned 21 and I can’t imagine not going out with friends to the bar from time to time. I was never a big drinker and, before I started using harder stuff, I used to smoke weed regularly but it never caused any problems. If my DOC (drug of choice) was heroin, can I still smoke weed or drink beer?

– James

First of all, this may sound strange but, being an addict has nothing to do with drugs. Drugs were just our way of dealing with ourselves and with life until that stopped working and got out of control – whether we ended up in jail, a hospital, a psych ward, whatever. So, my advice is to stay away from everything, even if you don’t think you had a problem with it.

Also, I want to assure you that people your age and even younger have been able to get and stay clean. I can understand where you’re coming from – it’s hard to imagine living the rest of your life and not be able to drink or smoke. And it’s hard to imagine that you will have a different set of close friends that don’t need alcohol, marijuana, or any other drugs. But these things are possible. You may have heard it said: a drug, is a drug, is a drug, is a drug. What that means for people like us, people who have experienced addiction is that we can’t use any substances that are mood- or mind-altering. To do so will lead us down the same treacherous path that brought us to where we were before we decided to get clean: broken and desperate.

I’ll share a quick story with you: it was the last birthday I “celebrated” before I decided to get clean (and this was one of the leading factors in me getting help). It fell on a Saturday which was perfect; that meant I could get really messed up and have some time to recover before work on Monday. Anyway, I decided I would get some Molly (MDMA) in order to enjoy my birthday. Well, it wasn’t very strong and only gave me a slight buzz. From that moment on, I was on a warpath for my DOC (heroin) even though, at the time, I was trying not to do any – because I thought heroin was my problem. Eventually, I got my hands on some really strong black tar (which I had never had before) plus several other substances and, long story short, I woke up in the hospital Monday morning. The point of my story is this: anything I introduce into my system that will give me any kind of buzz is going to set off a chain reaction in my brain that will have me go to whatever lengths in order to get more and more high. So, no. No weed. No beer.

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