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The Road to OUD Recovery—a Reality, Part 3

Updated: Oct 15, 2022

So far... the research carried out for the Blog series: The Road to Addiction (SUD) Recovery: Myth or Reality Parts 1 and 2 have yielded a good amount of quality information that can be absorbed in no time. Once curated, the best and most authoritative sites, not just for their official status but also their compassion and wholesome communication, were selected and their content paraphrased to answer several questions posited concerning drug addiction and rehabilitation, to clarify facts and myths, to learn about old and new treatments, both medication and psychological therapy programs, as well as the underlying causes of addiction and substance use disorder. That's a lot of information to take in. Embrace the journey with Faith.

Therapy has shown that the road to addiction may have its origins in childhood and before, in our genetic pool. But environmental factors play an important role as well as underlying mental and/or physical disorders. You see, mental disorders are also physical ailments in a broader sense because the chemical reactions and signals that the brain conducts have a lot to do with how are bodies work. Even nutrition has a role to play, and let's not forget society's force in shaping the 'getting high is cool' cultural mentality and the fact that our brain learns to manipulate the reward mechanisms with behaviors and substances early on in life.

On the road to addiction, it may take years to get to the breaking point when you come face to face with reality. Becoming an addict is not an overnighter. And neither is Recovery. The road along addiction may have been blurred by euphoria and cravings but the one to recovery is bound fogged up with depression and anxiety, fright and tears, truths and myths. This journey to freedom is not clear for the addicted individuals or their family and friends. What is the path to recovery?

Addiction Recovery is Possible

We know enough now to see the benefit in the meetings of the 12 step program started by Bill W. which has been successful since the 30s and HAS helped millions: To accept and surrender, to reach out for help from a greater power, to bare witness, to live with the commitment day to day and know the limits and boundaries of our new mind, and to overcome our cravings and calm our minds. To be happy with what is now. And to help others cross over—In a nutshell, that's what the 12 steps program teaches. Acceptance being the first step in the journey of a 1000 miles.

The 12 steps have been rewritten in a non faith based terms and there are meetings for many different addiction related interests such as NARCOTICS ANONYMOUS.

Anonymous Organizations Nicotine Anonymous A program offering support to people trying to quit smoking Cocaine Anonymous A program to help people recover from cocaine addiction. Crystal Meth Anonymous A program to help people recover from crystal meth addiction. Marijuana Anonymous A program to help people recover from marijuana addiction Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) The world’s leading 12-step fellowship, designed to help people overcome drinking problems. Co-Dependents Anonymous A program that helps people with codependency problems to learn to form healthier relationships. Narcotics Anonymous (NA) An international association of recovering drug addicts Shopaholics Anonymous A program helping people with compulsive shopping addictions. Dual Recovery Anonymous An organization for people with a dual diagnosis of chemical dependence and an emotional or psychiatric illness. Food Addicts in Recovery Anonymous A program for people who suffer from overeating, undereating, bulimia, or obsession with food or body size. Gamblers Anonymous A program to help people recover from addiction to gambling. Overeaters Anonymous A program helping people to overcome the problem of compulsive overeating. Sexaholics Anonymous A program helping people to achieve sexual sobriety. Sex and Love Addicts Anonymous A program helping people with sex and love addictions. Family/Parent Support Adult Children of Alcoholics Adult Children of Alcoholics is a recovery program for adults whose lives were affected as a result of being raised in an alcoholic or other dysfunctional family. Above the Influence (Teen prevention) Our goal is to help teens stand up to negative pressures, and or influences. Addicted to Addicts: Survival 101 Hear all the important questions related to living with and around addicts and loving them. Denise and her expert guests offer information, possibilities, relief, and hope Al-Anon/Alateen Friends and families of problem drinkers find understanding and support at Al-Anon and Alateen meetings. Nar-Anon Family Groups The Nar-Anon Family Groups is primarily for those who know or have known a feeling of desperation concerning the addiction problem of someone very near to you. We have traveled that unhappy road too and found the answer with serenity and peace of mind. Sober Nation Latest addiction recovery news GRASP (Parent Support Group) Provide sources of help, compassion, and most of all, understanding, for families or individuals who have had a loved one die as a result of substance abuse or addiction At, our mission is to equip patients and families with the best information, resources and tools to overcome addiction and lead a lifelong recovery. National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) For teens and parents to learn FACTS about drug abuse, what to do, and signs of abuse Addiction Center Addiction Center goal is to provide the most up-to-date information on addiction as well as reviews of top treatment centers across the country Partnership for a Drug-Free America Dedicated to reducing teen substance abuse and helping families impacted by addiction. Recovery/Prevention Support Association of Recovery Schools Recovery high schools are secondary schools designed specifically for students in recovery from substance use disorder or dependency. Although each school operates differently depending on available community resources and state standards, SMART Recovery Smart Recovery is the leading self-empowering addiction recovery support group. Our participants learn tools for addiction recovery based on the latest scientific research and participate in a worldwide community that includes free, self-empowering, science-based mutual help groups. National Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Information Center The NASAIC helps those suffering from addiction take their lives back by providing quality addiction help, such as access to some of the nation’s leading detox and rehabilitation facilities. Students Against Destructive Decisions SADD’s mission is to provide students with the best prevention tools possible to deal with the issues of underage drinking, other drug use, risky and impaired driving, and other destructive decisions. At, you can access our library of educational articles on recovering from alcohol and drug abuse and many treatments and support options. You can customize searches for rehab centers and treatment and contact one of our professional counselors who can answer all your questions and get you started on your new drug-free life. School/Community Support National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) The mission of the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) is to lead the Nation in bringing the power of science to bear on drug abuse and addiction NIDA for Teens Welcome to the NIDA for Teens website, a project of the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), National Institutes of Health (NIH). Created for middle and high school students and their teachers, this website provides accurate and timely information for use in and out of the classroom Pathway to Prevention We make it easy for parents to obtain accurate, evidence-based information about teen drug and alcohol use and abuse. Mothers Against Drunk Driving To end drunk driving, help fight drugged driving, support the victims of these violent crimes, and prevent underage drinking. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration SAMHSA’s mission is to reduce the impact of substance abuse and mental illness on America’s communities. KidsHealth: What You Need To Know About Drugs TeensHealth safe, private place for teens who need honest, accurate information and advice about health, emotions, and life. TeensHealth is accessible 24 hours a day so you can get the doctor-approved information you need to make educated decisions — or help a friend who needs advice. Drug Rehab Connections The Drug Rehab Connections community is made up of those who want to help and give back. We are here to share our stories of recovery and hope as we begin the steps together towards rehab and recovery. Mental Health at Colleges A Guide to Identifying Disorders and Promoting Wellness Mental health is a growing concern on today’s college campuses. Learn about the various mental health challenges facing college students, the support and counseling resources available to them, and practical measures and coping strategies to help students overcome behavioral, emotional, and psychological obstacles.


To bring home what the reality of addiction recovery is, let's empath with daily life scenarios of people young, old, or middle-age who want to be free of the addiction Opiate Use Disorder (OUD) in America today.

But even getting off drugs can be nefastos to our lives when drug overdoses happen by accident due to prescribed SUD treatment medications which may be abused or have severe side effects without delivering their intended purpose: recovery. To avoid that pitfall, hold tight, learn the facts and treat the whole person including the family.


A popular medication with rising successful rates which may be the best option for OUD Treatment formally is: SUBOXONE

Suboxone, for example, is one of the most common medications currently prescribed for OUD treatments in programs all over the US.This medication has been used in several forms.

How long should a person stay on suboxone and other similar treatments before side effects start taking effect. Is there such a thing as being addicted to the medication to get off the opiate? Where do we go from here?

Throughout a person's development from birth on, traumatic events, nutrition, peer pressure, physical and sexual abuse, early exposure to drugs, stress, and parental guidance, including parents' mental health, mold our experience both psychologically and emotionally as our brain's reward system can greatly increase a person's likelihood of trying drugs and thereon continue to use recreational drugs for a period of time in which the brain starts to change until the disorder called addiction develops.

"Genetic and environmental factors interact with critical developmental stages in a person's life to affect addiction risk," according to the National Institute on Drug Use.

According to this Harvard Health blog from 2018, "Your Genes and Addiction" "evidence suggests that environmental factors, such as stress, induce epigenetic changes that can trigger the development of psychiatric disorders and drug addiction." Basically, epigenetic changes are "information" that added onto the already existing gene and affects the way the gene acts.

With time, the signs of addiction become more evident in the individual's behavior until the disorder starts causing disruption to daily living. Consistent inconsistencies such as following a daily schedule, keeping a job, finishing school, financial problems, and health issues, begin to be more apparent. Meanwhile, mental anguish, emotional distress, cravings and feelings of despair increase. Life in the fight or flight arena makes our body out of wack, low or high blood pressure, seizures, headaches, liver or other problems related to the substance disorder start to take over the individual's personality and life.

How and when does the addictive personality form? It often starts to be evidenced during the teen years. If so, what can parents, do to help their children develop a healthy drug free life style? While there are many reasons why people start using drugs these are some of the most common ones:

However, if you are under the impression that personality disorder pre-exists addiction, think again, however, childhood trauma does have a lot to do with addiction?


People who have experienced trauma are:

  • 15 times more likely to attempt suicide

  • 4 times more likely to become an alcoholic

  • 4 times more likely to develop a sexually transmitted disease

  • 4 times more likely to inject drugs

  • 3 times more likely to use antidepressant medication

  • 3 times more likely to be absent from work

  • 3 times more likely to experience depression

  • 3 times more likely to have serious job problems

  • 2.5 times more likely to smoke

  • 2 times more likely to develop chronic obstructive pulmonary disease

  • 2 times more likely to have a serious financial problem

Furthermore the published the following FACTS ABOUT MENTAL HEALTH IN U.S. CHILDREN

ADHD, anxiety problems, behavior problems, and depression are the most commonly diagnosed mental disorders in children. Estimates for ever having a diagnosis among children aged 3-17 years, in 2016-19, are given below.

  • ADHD 9.8% (approximately 6.0 million)2

  • Anxiety 9.4% (approximately 5.8 million)2

  • Behavior problems 8.9% (approximately 5.5 million)2

  • Depression 4.4% (approximately 2.7 million)2

Some of these conditions commonly occur together. For example, among children aged 3-17 years in 2016:

  • Having another mental disorder was most common in children with depression: about 3 in 4 children with depression also had anxiety (73.8%) and almost 1 in 2 had behavior problems (47.2%).3

  • For children with anxiety, more than 1 in 3 also had behavior problems (37.9%) and about 1 in 3 also had depression (32.3%).3

  • For children with behavior problems, more than 1 in 3 also had anxiety (36.6%) and about 1 in 5 also had depression (20.3%).3

Depression and anxiety have increased over time

  • “Ever having been diagnosed with either anxiety or depression” among children aged 6–17 years increased from 5.4% in 2003 to 8% in 2007 and to 8.4% in 2011–2012.4

  • “Ever having been diagnosed with anxiety” increased from 5.5% in 2007 to 6.4% in 2011–2012.4

  • “Ever having been diagnosed with depression” did not change between 2007 (4.7%) and 2011-2012 (4.9%).4

For adolescents, depression, substance use and suicide are important concerns.Among adolescents aged 12-17 years in 2018-2019 reporting on the past year:

  • 15.1% had a major depressive episode.2

  • 36.7% had persistent feelings of sadness or hopelessness.2

  • 4.1% had a substance use disorder.2

  • 1.6% had an alcohol use disorder.2

  • 3.2% had an illicit drug use disorder.2

  • 18.8% seriously considered attempting suicide.2

  • 15.7% made a suicide plan.2

  • 8.9% attempted suicide.2

  • 2.5% made a suicide attempt requiring medical treatment.2

A dual diagnostic treatment center can address the underlying mental health disorders that may cause and reinforce the use of drugs as a coping mechanism which leads to addiction of recreational drugs, self medication, and self injury. The underlying mental health disorder is not being treated even when the substance use disorder may be under treatment.

The chances for relapse after detoxing and completing treatment will increase when there has been no psychotherapy that addresses the underlying causes of addiction in the individual. Every recovery treatment plan requires supervised medication, a lot of talk therapy both group and individual, a good family support group, good nutrition, exercise, and lots of love.

Although drug addiction is a complex disorder that involves complicated neural mechanisms and psychological processes, this mental disorder is treatable and may be curable by therapies such as gene modulation in the future.
mindfulness-based relapse prevention, PITDH, and points out that complete elimination of psychological addiction is hopefully to become the target and core of the psychotherapy of addiction disorder.

The number of ways people can become addicted may be endless, addiction occurs when the reward center of our brain is hijacked by a substance that keeps us in a cycle of using and abusing to get high until you can no longer get high but still need it to avoid the withdrawal effects it wreaks on the body, the minds, and the spirit.

Breaking the cycle of addiction and reducing the chances of relapse to establish peace and harmony in daily life require learning coping mechanism and a life-long sobriety plan. The most effective addiction recovery programs combine both medical drugs and "talk" therapy. In many cases, a dual diagnosis combines mental health with addiction disorder psychotherapy. These talk therapies include both group and individual weekly meeting s in person or remote sessions.

Breaking the cycle of addiction to establish peace and harmony is the key to addiction programs that combine both medical and talk therapy.

Addiction recovery is not an overnight fix. It takes years of counseling, group and individual talk therapy, medication, special supplements and nutrition, plus lots of love.

What is an addictive personality? Although there is no such thing as an addictive personality and there is no generic set of personality traits of characteristics that determine the type of personality as addictive, there are however, several common characteristics that may contribute to the development of an addiction whether it is due to drug abuse or behavioral addiction types such as sex, gambling, gaming, and a host of others.

Some traits that can be attributed to increase the risk of addiction to pacha active susances rather than behavior moderation include:

  • Related to others who have developed addiction

  • Experiencing other mental health disorders

  • Adventurous and risk-taking

  • Disconnected and cautious

  • Obsessive and compulsive

  • Apathetic

  • Unable to self-regulate

Studies show that people with mental health disorders are more likely to also develop a substance use disorder.

Addiction is an illness that does not only affect an individual's life, it is also the experience of family and friends close to the sick person. The hush hush secrecy among families can worsen the situation for the afflicted individual who can not come out on the open and accept his illness without the stigma and judgment of family and friends.

Often, persons with substance abuse disorder have a history of under achieving in comparison to their peers and this may be the one of the underlying issues that causes addiction which the family that cares can help to straighten out and face together.


  • Behavioral couples therapy (BCT). Intended for married or cohabitating couples where one person suffers from a SUD, BCT promotes and rewards abstinence through a daily “Recovery Contract.” This involves the person with the SUD expressing their intent not to drink or use drugs and the partner supporting their efforts to stay abstinent. This therapy can help improve communication, reduce stress, and maintain abstinence.

  • Family behavior therapy (FBT). This model has been successful with adults and adolescents with SUDs. It’s sort of a pick-and-choose your own therapy based on a menu of evidence-based treatment options that aim to teach everyone skills to help them all improve their home environment. FBT focuses on how the behaviors of the person with the SUD affect the family as a whole and works to change those behaviors with the involvement of the entire family.

  • Brief strategic family therapy (BSFT). Geared toward families dealing with adolescents who have SUDs, this therapy—stretched out over 12-16 sessions—is based on interventions that focus on family interactions. That’s because research suggests that adolescent substance abuse stems from unhealthy family dynamics.

  • Functional family therapy (FFT). A therapy used to help families with adolescents with SUDs, FFT focuses on improving family interactions since the underlying belief is that unhealthy family dynamics lead to problem behaviors. Thus, strategies include effective communication techniques, problem-solving, conflict resolution, parenting skills, behavioral contracts, and more.

  • Solution-focused brief therapy. This can help families struggling with co-occurring disorders, meaning your loved one suffers from addiction and another mental health disorder, too. It doesn’t involve pinpointing the exact reasons for family dysfunction. Instead, this therapy focuses on finding solutions for specific problems.

  • Community reinforcement and family training (CRAFT). CRAFT takes a structured approach to teaching families dealing with SUDs positive reinforcement strategies to encourage the loved one with the SUD to change their substance use behaviors.

  • Multisystemic therapy (MST). A model used to help adolescents with SUDs, violent behaviors, and/or criminal records, MST utilizes goal-oriented techniques and family-strengthening strategies to encourage the adolescent to change.

  • Multi-dimensional family therapy (MDFT). A treatment approach suitable for diverse populations and adolescents with severe SUDS and their families, MDFT is designed to improve the adolescent’s and family’s functioning through a comprehensive treatment program that also involves the school, legal system, and other relevant parties.

  • Family recovery support groups. These provide support to the members of families who have a loved one in recovery from SUDs.

  • Family peer recovery support services. Family members—with a loved one in recovery—get education, support, and resources from someone who has also had a family member in recovery from SUD

There are many benefits to family counseling for addiction recovery. It is a peace building and relationship healing opportunity that strengthens ties and gives us a sense of connectedness that helps us fulfill our hierarchy of needs.


Dual diagnosis is the condition of having a mental illness and a comorbid substance use disorder.

Diagnosing a primary mental disorder in individuals with addiction disorders is challenging as substance use disorder itself often induces psychiatric symptoms.

  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT).

  • Assertive community treatment (ACT).

  • Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT).

  • Therapeutic communities (TCs).

  • Contingency management (CM) or Motivational incentives (MI).

  • Exposure therapy.

It's when we are facing challenges in life that we grow, make i count for love and grow within and with friends and family along.

Author's Note:

In Part 3 of the Blog series The Road to OUD Recovery, the knowledge from the previous two summarizes the understanding about substance use disorder and addiction in general as a neurological, physical, psychological and social experience that can be overcome with multiple levels of treatment and support.

As mothers, aunts, teachers, friends, and all in society witness the opiate epidemic, the war on drugs, the many young and old whose lives have been truncated and consumed by SUD and lately OUD, one must ask,

  • WHY are we raising addicts and causing childhood trauma on the youth?

  • How can we remedy that?

  • How can we raise children who are well adapted and whose reward system doesn't fall prey to external stimuli to "feel good." It is OK to feel bad. We can face sadness and disappointment and still be happy and joyful because within us we know who we are. We are pure joy. And the outer is only a mask.

On this month of October, I wish you sobriety and joy and peace will come. Follow your bliss.




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