Every day my colleagues and I at The Coleman Institute for Addiction Medicine work with people who are holding their breath, desperate to keep their child, spouse, partner, or dear friend alive and free from the ravages brought on by addiction to various substances.

We are fortunate to have as an integral part of our team, compassionate and qualified case managers and social workers who amplify our program from a safe, efficient, out-patient drug detox rubric to a spectrum of bespoke services; individual treatment for people with varying levels of care needs.

The Starting Point

Once a client is engaged with the Coleman Institute, the journey toward recovery begins to reveal itself. But regardless of what substance a person desires to stop, physical detoxification has to be the starting point.

We specialize in helping people get off alcohol, benzodiazepines, and opioids in their many faces: heroin, fentanyl, methadone, buprenorphine, codeine, Dilaudid, hydrocodone, morphine, tramadol, kratom, oxycodone, oxymorphone, etc.

A Mother’s Real Experience

I asked the mother of a patient who detoxed off opioids and who is now well into her second year of sobriety to write a guest blog describing her experience:

I remember exactly where I was on a hot August day when I got a call from my ex-husband saying he had discovered that our daughter, 30, was using opiates. Stunned, I found a parking place and tried not to completely freak out. There would be time for that later. I remember thinking, “Our lives have changed forever.”


Not Knowing What to Expect

Call me naive, but I never thought this child would choose to use anything other than alcohol and marijuana, both of which I already knew were part of her recreational activities. So I was shocked and afraid for her. I told her dad that we needed to act immediately, that her next use could be her last. Neither of us had any idea of how to proceed. When to tell her we knew? How to tell her, what words to use for the best outcome? Was she in so deep she’d need rehab or could she just stop? Ah, how clueless I was.

Our Plan Forward

She was living out of town so we had to wait for her to come home for a visit. Her dad and I wanted to hammer out exactly what to say and we had no idea where to start. I had heard of a local residential treatment program, so I called and spoke to a woman there who gave me important advice: whatever we do or say, we must do it out of love for our girl, not anger. Tell her how much we love her. And have a plan in place. I sought help from a local Nar-Anon group a friend told me about. That group was immensely helpful in helping us form our plan and move forward. Meanwhile, every day I was worried out of my mind about her using, possibly fatally, and the confrontation we were getting ready to have.

On the next weekend she was home, she found out that we had discovered her secret so we agreed to meet the next morning. My stomach hurt and my heart ached and I was full of fright. We sat down in the family room and talked about our fear and our love for her and that we hoped she’d be willing to go to the local program and talk to them about her options. We set the rule that she could not stay in either of our houses as long as she was using. So she reluctantly agreed to go and she and I headed directly there. They were expecting us.

What To Do Next

When we arrived, she met with an intake staff member for 45 minutes. He impressed upon her the need to get help immediately, that if she kept using, she would ultimately die. Heroin is fatal. It was a heavy message, and she came out of his office shaking and tearful. He took us to see the women’s residential recovery house and pressed her to make a decision to sign on, but she wanted to think about it.

Back at her dad’s, I called another nearby rehab program; really because it was the only one I knew of. They said she could come, and her insurance agreed to cover it so her dad and I took her there the next day. We drove away feeling like we’d done the right thing, and she’d be safe there.

Two hours later she called and said we had to pick her up. What?? A girl who had been there for several days had told the director that, because her boyfriend was the brother of a friend of our daughter, she felt uncomfortable. We felt that that was an unreasonable decision but picked our daughter up, headed home and wondered what to do next.

A Pinnacle Moment

Because she had not been using that long and she was detoxed, we decided that she would put together her own program by going to meetings and not using. Her dad and I thought that maybe we’d caught it early enough that this might work. What did we know?! That was November and we lived on eggshells through the holidays. I told the few friends who knew about what was going on that I felt we’d dodged a bullet. It was a combination of denial and hope that we were done with the situation. At lunch with her one day, I asked her if she was using drugs because I suspected that she might be and she flat out denied it, even swore on her beloved dog that she was not using and I wanted to believe her. She was lying.

In January, she called me in tears. “I’ve relapsed and I’m so sorry, but I’ve already called the rehab program and they have room, and I’ve called my insurance company, and I’ve called the Coleman Institute about their detox program.” This time was different. She had tried to detox herself and it was a horrific experience. She described the violent chills and shaking and getting into the shower with a blanket around her as she desperately tried to get through it. She really wanted help this time. I was so grateful that she had not resumed use when things got bad but sought help instead… that was a pinnacle moment.

Getting the Help She Needed

She spent a week following Coleman’s medical detox protocol -- prescribed meds to help her get through the withdrawal mostly by sleeping and a visit to the clinic every morning to check in. Then she packed her suitcase again and we headed back to the treatment program where she remained for the next month.

At this facility, the residents are up every morning at 5 to go work out at the Y. Days are filled with one-on-one sessions with three therapists as well as group meetings. She had been needing intensive therapy like that for years, and she immersed herself in the opportunity to learn and heal. By the time her dad and I attended family day, she had made giant strides and was embracing her recovery without hesitation. The intensive therapy was giving her the space to dig into issues that had been needing attention.

She came home after a month and decided to live with me for a while. I was honored to watch her recovery unfold through meetings, a sponsor and determination. She was enthusiastic and positive and remains so 17 months later. She has moved out into her own apartment and recently got a promotion at her job. I know there are no guarantees, but every day that she is clean and sober I am grateful for.

Sharing the Journey

Our daughter has been very public about her recovery, a position I felt uncomfortable with at first. My father was an alcoholic and back in the day we didn’t speak of it to anyone… it was a family secret that made us all unhealthy. When I mentioned to her that maybe she shouldn’t be quite so open about her story, she admonished me, “Mom, there is no shame in recovery!” She was right and I have chosen to be open as well, hoping that our story may help someone else.

I so appreciate the people who helped us when our heads were spinning and set us on a healthy path. They helped us understand the urgency of the situation. The staff at the Coleman Institute were professional, friendly and non-judgmental. Her 30-day treatment program matched her needs. And I’m especially thankful for support from members of the Nar-Anon group at a local church. We could not have done it alone and are grateful for the guidance and kindness of everyone.