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Heroin Series: Desire To Quit First Step In Drug Addiction Recovery

Heroin abuser must continue process after treatment to avoid relapse.

Lake Geauga Recovery Center on mentor Avenue. Photo by Alex Alusheff.
Lake Geauga Recovery Center on mentor Avenue. Photo by Alex Alusheff.

Briana Hoppert had been to every rehab clinic in northern Ohio during her 12 years as a heroin addict and nothing had worked. It wasn’t because they were ineffective; she didn’t have the right mindset.

“I was realizing I was powerless, but I wasn’t accepting it,” said Hoppert, 31, of Mentor, who has been sober since June 2012. “I knew everything about [recovering] with my brain … but my heart wasn’t in it.”

When she finally realized her only two options were death or treatment, she reached out to her aunt to help pay for treatment. But after years of broken promises, the aunt didn’t believe Hoppert and said no.

“That was when I realized that there was no human power that could cure our addiction,” Hoppert said, referring to an ideology of the 12 steps. “That’s when I realized I was done.”

Situations similar to Hoppert’s are the only ways treatment works, said Melanie Blasko, president of Lake Geauga Recovery Centers on Mentor Avenue in Mentor.

“The family can’t intervene,” Blasko said. “The addict needs to ask for help and recognize that treatment works.”

The treatment process starts with a phone call to the center, Blasko said.

Next is an assessment and an in depth interview about their drug use, family and work history before they are diagnosed and recommended for a certain treatment, she said.

From there, the addict can be treated from home or at a sober living house, which can be hard to get into.

Roughly 60 women are treated at the recovery center's Oak House each year and there are 20 on the waiting list at any given time, Blasko said.

Hoppert, had been on the waiting list for a few weeks before she could get in. It would be her third time, the maximum limit, at the Oak House in Painesville.

While in the sober-living houses, residents work the 12 steps, receive 30 hours of therapy and attend group therapy sessions and lectures for 90 days, Blasko said.

Though some treatment can be expensive, the recovery center’s program caters to people who have no means to pay, she said.

People can pay through a sliding scale based on income from $10 to $100 per hour, Blasko said.

The recovery center can afford this thanks to funding from the Alcohol, Drug Addiction and Mental Health Services Board, she said.

Even though the center may provide the means for recovery, staying sober is up to the addict.

Treatment doesn’t end at the Oak House, recovering addicts should continue attending meetings if they want to stay sober, Blasko said.

Hoppert, who was released form the Oak House in November regularly attends meetings, keeps to the 12 steps, and prays.

Hoppert said, “You get out what you put in.” 

More in the series:

Heroin Arrests On The Rise In Mentor, Lake County

Prescription Drugs Gateway To Heroin Abuse In Lake County

‘The Point Of Desperation:’ From Rock Bottom To Recovery

5 Hints Your Loved One May Be A Heroin Addict

Addiction Myth August 09, 2013 at 05:42 AM
If people want to do drugs then all the rehabs in the world can't stop it. And when they decide to stop, they can stop in a few days. Withdrawals are painful but highly exaggerated in the media. The trick is not going back to using again, but again this is personal choice. If someone wants to choose a god and pray to it when the cravings come, that's fine, but most young people have little interest in religion or spirituality, so the 12 Step strategy has little effectiveness until middle age.

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