Continue Reading From Our Patient
Thank you, Dr. Baird:
Dr. Lisa Baird is going to pressure you to dig deep in yourself because you are not able to do it for yourself yet. It feels invasive and bitchy of her at 1st because we, as addicts, have become more familiar with lies than with honesty, denial rather than acceptance and running rather than standing still and facing whatever mess we are in.
It was almost 4 years ago when Dr. Lisa Baird agreed to take me on as a patient. The fact that I have been sober for 3 years and 305 days has not dulled my memories of nor the emotional or physical pain my addiction to opiates caused me. I was a single mother, a daughter, a teacher, a student…And an addict. I didn’t know how to reconcile all these things because I was so wrapped up in shame, anger and denial. Dr. Lisa Baird was my lifeline. At the time she was just a name, a doctor who I read somewhere could help me ease my pain. I had no way of knowing that she would become my rock, my greatest cheerleader but also my harshest, most demanding critic.
Suboxone is an interesting treatment. I have heard people for it and against it and whether it is effective for you is going to be dependent on YOU. It is not something to take that will cure your addiction on its own. It is really more of a bandaid to buy you some time for your mental and emotional self to heal and so that you can relearn those behaviors I mentioned before. It is hard enough to deal with life while no longer being able to escape but it is impossible to do it with the physical withdrawals and it is impossible to do it alone. Suboxone treatment the way Dr. Baird does it is comprehensive. It is meant to treat your physical symptoms but also your social-emotional and your behavioral symptoms, as well. Human beings are complicated and are a sum of our feelings, experiences, choices and brain chemistry and you cannot treat one alone and expect success.
You have no way of knowing at the beginning of your recovery journey that no matter how strong you think you are, no matter how much schooling you have or how tight knit your family structure, you need to relearn some things- mainly how to be accountable to YOURSELF. While your brain chemistry changes, it’s your behaviors that are hardest to change. In order to hide our addictions we have to lie, steal, cheat, hide, etc and in the repetition of doing this we begin to lie, steal, cheat and hide from ourselves.
We need an objective voice, a steadfast person who can look from the outside in and call you out for the lies you are telling yourself. A voice who can say, “sure, you can feel guilty for as long as you want but there is nothing you can do about what you have done except acknowledge it, learn from it and make better decisions because of it.” You need a person who is going to come down hard but fair on you month, after month, requiring that you meet certain expectations because you are unable to hold yourself to those expectations on your own yet…And you need to realize that no one is expecting you to be able to do it on your own yet. When Dr. Baird asks you to see your counselor 2 times a month and bring PROOF that you went, it isn’t to make your life more difficult. It is actually to make your life easier in the long run.
Once you get some distance from your addiction “ground zero” it becomes easier for you to own going to your therapy and becomes important to YOU to go and then proof that you went is just like handing in payment, just something else you do at your appointment. When you go through your monthly questionnaire about relapses, cravings or side effects, give honest answers because she IS trying to see if you are lying… not just to her but to YOURSELF. When she asks you what triggers you are working on genuinely think about what triggers YOU, not some generic thing like stress.
I can safely say that over 3 years out, Dr. Baird has helped me save my own life. She has helped me appreciate the mistakes I have made and thus make better choices today. She has pissed me off and hurt my feelings and in doing so has helped me be a stronger, more accountable human being with a greater chance of being sober and happy, a better mother, daughter, teacher and self going forward in my life.
Much love and many thanks,