Voices of Opioid Dependence: Giving Family and Friends the Power to Hear


 Pretty girl with long hair talking on phone

(DGIwire) — “I wish my family understood how hard recovery is. They didn’t understand what a difficult time period it was for me. I felt they were questioning me, ‘Why don’t you just stop? Can’t you just put the drugs down?’ People don’t understand, it doesn’t just work like that. It’s not something you have control over.”

These words represent the inner thoughts of an anonymous individual battling opioid dependence. They can be found on an important website (inreachassist.com) and app resource called InReach™ (initially available for the iPhone here). InReach, which went online in December 2014, offers a comprehensive array of information and resources to support patients and their families.*

Amid the furious debate on how to help those experiencing opioid dependence, one set of voices can easily get lost in the din: those of the addicted themselves. Yet the key to optimal treatment must take into account how these individuals envision their own problem—and that means having family and friends, as well as doctors, listen closely to what they have to say.

One of InReach’s key features is a page of information for family and friends of those experiencing dependence. It enumerates a number of ways they might be able to help their loved ones with their recovery, including learning to recognize their triggers, setting a good example and supporting their positive changes in lifestyle. Also included is a reminder that many treatment programs offer counseling for the family and friends of people with opioid dependence.

For those battling addiction, InReach offers tools to use at all stages during the recovery process, including a series of downloadable charts to record personal goals, moods and emotions, triggers, and treatment history. Users of the app can also keep a record of the appointments they have attended, commemorate each small success on the road to recovery, and create personal pinboards with motivational messages and photos.

Serious Man Talking On PhoneNumerous other resources and information can also be found on the InReach website. This includes detailed definitions and facts about opioids, opioid dependence, and treatment options, and insights on the causes of relapse and resources for setting and achieving goals. There are also tips for getting and staying motivated throughout the recovery process, a resource section with links to the websites of several recovery organizations, and more.

The last word belongs to another voice of an opioid abuser shared on InReach: “There isn’t one way to get clean or overcome an addiction. It’s your recovery. You should have a say in it. Talk to your doctor and set realistic goals but also goals that you know will help you stay away from your addiction.” Family and friends, take note.

*InReach is not intended to substitute professional medical advice or to be used as a diagnostic or treatment tool.