Addiction is a chronic relapsing condition;  opiate addiction in particular is characterized by cycles of dependence, withdrawal, and relapse.  Treatments to date can be separated into the ‘detox’ stage, the ‘treatment’ stage, and the ‘maintenance’ or ‘relapse prevention’ stage (not to be confused with the term ‘maintenance therapy’ as applied to medications such as methadone).
Twelve step programs have been around for about 75 years;  they are by far the most commonly used programs for early treatment and for long-term relapse prevention.  Over the years a number of other approaches to addiction and alcoholism have come and gone;  Moderation Management, for example, was ‘all the rage’ ten years ago… before founder and proponent Audrey Kishline was incarcerated for vehicular homicide for driving while intoxicated.  So much for Moderation Management!
More recently there have been a number of new approaches to recovery;  some are ‘anti-AA’;  others borrow from AA but attempt to take a more ‘secular’ position.  Some examples:  The Pennsylvania Model; Assisted Recovery or ARCA; Rational Recovery; LifeRing; Smart Recovery…
If anyone has personal experience with any of these programs or other programs, has used the program for recovery from opiate dependence, and has more than three clean years on the program, please share your story with me here, or write to me about your experiences at  These other programs are so new– I am trying to determine if they are here to stay, or if they are ‘flashes in the pan of recovery’ like so many before them.  Are there people out there who are actually using them?
If you write, please consider including:
– the duration and severity of your use
– number and nature of prior treatment experiences
– basic philosophy of program;  your personal thoughts on why it is a good program
– number of others that you know in the program, and the general success rate in your opinion
– difference from step-based recovery
– philosophy regarding medication
– anything else you think is relevant
I hope to gather and summarize the information, and will be gathering information from other sources as well;  I hope to eventually share the material here and perhaps elsewhere.  Please specify if you want your name to be associated with the information;  I will quote you if you like;  If you do not specify, I will assume that you wish to remain anonymous.
My hope with this is to help all of us get a better understanding of the real options used to treat opiate dependence.
Thank you,
Jeffrey T Junig MD PhD

1 Comment

Debrinconcita · March 3, 2010 at 7:17 pm

I have been in recovery from opiate’s for the past 3 yrs. I have been using methadone and have not used in the sucessfully in the past 2 1/2 almost 3 yrs now. I am so happy and I am not using the 12 step program. I am using the Methadone Maintenance program and counseling and therapy. I have sucessfully gotten takeout’s and I know other friend’s who have over 3 yrs. Some have numerous years. I don’t feel like I will need to be on methadone much longer. But, I do have severe leg pain in my knee’s from arthritis. So the methadone helps me with that pain management also. I have not had to take any vicodin’s and other pain med’s since I have been on a stable dose of methadone. If you have anymore questions please let me know? I have a blogpost here on WordPress also. I have been sharing some of my life in blogpost’s.

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