The Holistic Approach to a Successful Recovery 

Man returning home
Photo by Halfpoint/

It seems that that behind every drug, there is another drug to help with that drug. This drug helps deal with cravings for that drug, this drug blocks the effects of that drug, this drug makes you sick if you take that drug. I used to take Suboxone to help with my pain killer addiction, until eventually, I got so sick from trying to quit the Suboxone that I turned to heroin in a last resort to ease the pain of withdrawals. This started me on a long road of heroin addiction. I turned to the Vivitrol shot to help me get off heroin, which started me on a long road of crack and cocaine addiction. The underlying theme for me was not that these other drugs created another addiction, it is that they did nothing to help me overcome my dependency on substances. Nothing was fully handled, and I continued to suffer on, hopping from one drug to another, until I finally gave the holistic approach a shot and sought to handle my addiction once and for all. I have not touched another drug since, and I have never felt healthier or happier or freer from a once inescapable prison.

That prison was my addiction and the feeling that it would continue to control my life, my relationships, and my choices until the day I died. The reason I felt like there was no escape was that my life was a revolving door and for every solution that I thought would lead me out, something else pulled me right back into the same situation, an addict full of failure and drug dependency. With Suboxone, there was no relief from the fear of withdrawal and the side effects that came from being dependent on a drug. I still felt like an addict, I still needed a substance to hold off a hellish sickness, and I still only needed to stop taking it for 24 hours to become sick and seek relief from whatever I could find. The Vivitrol shot blocked the effects of my drug of choice, but I quickly learned there were plenty more substances that could numb my pain and let me crawl back into my comfortable hole of misery. As these effects accumulated, the ending result of taking drugs to fix my addiction ended with me as a full-blown ‘garbage can’, a phrase associated with someone addicted to multiple different substances simultaneously. There was a pattern to this approach in which my condition continued to worsen with every passing year. I was not getting better, I felt more trapped and hopeless than ever.

What changed, why did the holistic approach work for me? 

  • First, it gave me the necessary time to heal my body from its dependency on drugs. The replacement drugs I spoke of did little to help my body regain its vitality, so focusing on getting my body fully healed was something that felt new and fresh, and once I had that vitality back and started feeling better physically, my whole outlook on what was possible for my recovery changed. 
  • At this point, I began to feel hopeful again, and with that, I began to work on myself and make changes I knew were real instead of superficial, the kind of changes that would last, and stick with me as I moved forward. 
  • Perhaps most importantly, I felt free from addiction for the first time since my addiction started. 
  • As time went on the addict mindset no longer lingered with me, I began to live in a way that created peace instead of fear, that promoted my drive and ambition rather than my failures. 
  “None of this occurred when I was taking drugs to get off drugs”

None of this occurred when I was taking drugs to get off drugs, and the life I have now simply would not be possible had I not found a solution that removed all drugs from my life in order to find the freedom I had frequently dreamed of finding.

Addicts often get a bad rap for not getting better, especially those that have been in and out of rehabs and continued to make choices that led them back to addiction. But what kind of opportunities are truly being given to people who have suffered from addiction to succeed and live drug-free lives? What, honestly, should be expected when somebody spends an average of 4 weeks at a treatment center, spends up to half that time on a medical detox, and leaves with very little actual clean time while being thrown back into the same environment that was riddled with addiction? What can be expected when they are encouraged to take maintenance drugs to avoid a relapse? It is not hard, in my opinion, to see why the percentages of addicts who remain clean and sober in that system is so low. This is the main reason I am such an advocate of the holistic approach and longer termed treatment. If addicts have gotten to the point of seeking treatment, that means they are looking for any way out of the life that has been tormented by addiction. Would it not be in their best interests to give them the best possible chance to succeed, to find that freedom and peace?

If you or anyone you know is seeking help, please reach out. 



Justin has been working in the field of addiction and recovery for over 1 year. Justin earned his Bachelors's Degree in Finance from Florida State University. Having been an addict himself, he brings real-world experience to the table when helping addicts and their families, while also offering a first-person perspective to the current drug crisis. Justin is passionate about educating the public about what’s currently going on in our society, and thankfully, offers practical solutions.