From Bad Habit to Full Fentanyl Recovery

From Bad Habit to Full Fentanyl Recovery

This blog answers “what good can come from a bad fentanyl habit?” and how the Coleman Network for Addiction Medicine can help you live a life in recovery from fentanyl.

Mark’s Story

While meeting with my patient Mark yesterday, who sees me for the Coleman Network for Addiction Medicine’s Accelerated Opioid Detox (AOD), I was reminded of the informational work of Dr. Martha Beck, one of my favorite social psychologists.

Mark is 25 and has been off fentanyl for about 10 months. He told me that he is starting to have hope for his life again. While being in recovery from fentanyl use is uncharted territory, Mark continues to grow emotionally, physically, spiritually, and mentally each day. And as he gets through each day sober, he gains more confidence that this is the kind of life he wants.

More like this: Is Recovery Possible For Fentanyl Addiction?

“Steering by Starlight” Exercise for Recovery

What reminded me of Dr. Martha Beck was an exercise outlined in her book Steering by Starlight. Dr. Martha Beck’s intention with this is to help people search for a tragic or adverse occasion in their life. Then, after they choose an event, map out how that event may have guided them to something they currently appreciate in their life.

The Steering by Starlight Exercise is outlined:

  • Think of a Very Good Thing (VGT) in your life. It could be your recovery, pet, job, relationship, or a family heirloom, “without which your world would feel significantly bleaker.”
  • Next, think about a positive life event that allowed you to have this VGT. This “object or experience” is a ‘proximate cause‘ directly linked to your Very Good Thing.
  • Now re-think the event you just defined and express something else that occurred to make that event happen. This is an ‘antecedent to the proximate cause‘ in fancy terms.
  • Dr. Martha Beck’s next step is to repeat this ‘future to past’ pattern until you can develop one part of “bad luck” that aided your VGT to come into your life.

The Steering by Starlight Exercise enables someone to shift their perspective from viewing “bad things or events” as independent events to positive things or events. So instead, a person can say: “My destiny was to have this Very Good Thing. So, therefore, this bad thing happened to make my Very Good Thing possible.”

And yesterday, this is how I heard Mark talking about his experience with fentanyl.

More like this: Addiction FAQs

Mark’s Very Favorite Thing

Mark’s Very Favorite Thing is being enrolled in college and following his dream of being a special needs teacher. Mark is in the middle of his first semester toward achieving a bachelor’s degree. However, he was generically interested in helping those with special needs a long time ago.

Proximate Cause

The proximate cause of this event was being asked to be a volunteer teacher’s assistant at his old high school’s special needs program. Being at his old school has led to many new opportunities. This experience gives Mark the confidence to see himself as others have seen him in recovery.

Antecedent to the Proximate Cause

If we’re all fancy here, the antecedent to the proximate cause would be the court-ordered mandate he spent a year volunteering. Mark was fortunate enough to have a lawyer, parole officer, and judge who understood treating Substance Use Disorder (SUD) as a disease. Instead of simply a criminal offense, it may produce far more promising outcomes for people’s recovery.

More like this: 5 Scary Things People With Substance Use Disorder Believe

Bad Event

It wasn’t hard to find the “bad event” in Mark’s life that eventually supported his Very Good Thing. About 2 years prior, Mark had a terrible experience with a horrid dealer. This encounter caused Mark to face many legal matters, including being put on the stands to testify that the dealer tried to shoot him.

Beyond Mark’s physical recovery, because of his Post Traumatic Stress Disorder from this shooting, he continues to work with therapists. In addition, Mark challenges himself to help the students in the class thrive and learn new things.

Accelerated Opioid Detox

We treat people with Substance Use Disorders at the Coleman Network for Addiction Medicine by meeting them where they are.

By providing Medically-Assisted Treatment (MAT) as a substitute for using fentanyl, heroin, or other short-acting opioids, our Accelerated Opioid Detox program helps individuals achieve their recovery goals.

Others search for our detox services to get on naltrexone, another form of Medication-Assisted Treatment for Substance Use Disorder (SUD). Naltrexone is an opioid antagonist that blocks other opioids from sitting on the brain’s opioid receptors. Because it blocks the receptors without causing physical dependence, users will not experience withdrawal from using it.

More like this: Live a Life Free From Fentanyl Addiction with Naltrexone

How Does an Accelerated Opioid Detox Work?

Before a patient can be on naltrexone to avoid experiencing fentanyl withdrawal symptoms, they will need to be completely free from being on short-acting opioids. The Coleman Network for Addiction Medicine specializes in removing hydrocodone, kratom, buprenorphine, fentanyl, oxycodone, heroin, and other opioids through our Accelerated Opioid Detox (AOD) program.

Our outpatient fentanyl withdrawal management program using The Coleman Method can be anywhere from 3 to 10 days, depending on what narcotic is taking and how long. In addition, our fentanyl detox program includes a generous treatment of comfort medications, recovery support, follow-up, and naltrexone therapy for 6 months.

Today, most insurance companies acknowledge that not everyone with a Substance Use Disorder wants detox treatment with Suboxone®, a long-acting opioid. Therefore, companies are covering the detox cost on an in-network basis at specific locations.

More like this: The Truth About Suboxone® & How to Detox


Our country’s opioid crisis has awoken medical professionals into the harsh realization of the need for adequate detox treatment. Resources are now plentiful, and more fentanyl addiction victims turn their lives around. Additionally, medical and professional programs have expanded their curriculums to include Substance Use Disorder training.

If you or a loved one is struggling with fentanyl addiction, please call us to discuss our detox programs. Every day I am inspired by those I’ve worked with who have found freedom in their fentanyl recovery journey. It would be a privilege to work with them.

In the meantime, stay safe.

Joan R. Shepherd, FNP


Recovery Starts With Finding The Right Detox Option For You.

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