How to support SO through Oxycontin rehab?
August 8, 2007 6:23 PM   Subscribe

Oxycontin out-patient rehab. How to best support my S.O?

My boyfriend, who has struggled with Oxycontin abuse on-and-off for years, has (on his own) contacted a local outpatient rehab clinic and I will be accompanying him on his first, and probably on subsequent, visits. I'm proud of him for taking this step, after a couple of unsuccessful attempts at "DIY" quitting (cold turkey, tapering down, self-medicating with Suboxone, Lexapro, or other prescription meds to manage the withdrawal symptoms). I hear a commitment in his voice when he talks about getting clean that I haven't heard before, and that gives me (cautious!) encouragement.

Some background: we're both in our late 20's, have been together for about 3 years, and have known each other well for about 5. The BF has no medical need to be taking Oxycontin - it's never been prescribed to him, so this isn't about whether or not it's an appropriate drug to manage chronic pain. We're in Western Massachusetts if that is relevant.

My question: what can I expect from this rehab clinic? What questions should I be asking, as an advocate for the BF? What can I expect him to go through over the next days, weeks, months? I've looked over some other threads but they seem to be specific to heroin, meth, or in-patient rehab. If any of you have gone through outpatient rehab or have supported a significant other through this process, please let me know. I'd be happy to follow up with any additional info, throwaway email address:

PS: DTMFA not a helpful response. I want to avoid relationshipfilter but, I want to make sure people understand that I am aware of the serious problems that my boyfriend will have to face on his own and that he may never recover from this, and that the relationship may be irrevocably altered. At this point I'm hoping to get responses that are specific to the experience of outpatient drug rehab programs (good, bad, what to look for or look out for), hopefully specific to Oxycontin rehab, and how to best support someone in one.
posted by anonymous to Health & Fitness (4 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
He's probably going to struggle a little bit from a health perspective. I was detoxed off a substantial Oxy habit with suboxone and was still physically destroyed for a good three weeks afterwards; no sleep, racing thoughts, agitation. I was living pretty hard at the end there and abusing a bunch of other drugs very heavily as well, though. The post-withrawal wasn't life threatening or anything, just really uncomfortable and exacerbated by the conditions at the somewhat shitty, mostly welfare funded rehab I went to.

I went through in patient first because I needed a medical detox but did follow up with the full 6 months of out patient because I didn't want there to be an AMA (withrawl from program against medical advice) on my record that might prevent future funding by city agencies.

Outpatient where I went wasn't exactly the high quality of care. The group counselor was a young girl who didn't have much to say that I was thrilled by. I had a decent one on one counselor but was really more interested at the time in getting involved in the recovery process outside of rehab. Outpatient programs often have a lot of court stipulated or employer mandated participants that have no interest at all in staying clean, which made the groups feel pretty unproductive. There were people nodding out, sloppy drunk at 9 am, etc. The turn over was also very heavy, different faces almost every session which also isn't good for group cohesion.

I would say just be generally supportive and give him the space to do what he needs to do. If you feel yourself getting codependent, totally wrapped up in where he's at or if he's doing enough to fix himself fast enough I would recommend you try Al-Anon or some other support for friends and family for yourself.

Feel free to email, it's in my profile.
posted by The Straightener at 6:48 PM on August 8, 2007

Do everything you can to encorage him to at least finish. About 50% of people do not finish outpatient programs, and about 60% have a relapse of drug use within 6 months.

Manging expectations is a huge issue. Be as supportive as possible, while reminding him this will be a massive, almost Herculean, undertaking, and he will have to be ever vigilent in fighting his addiction.

He will have to strive to do better than average, because average crashes the program and relapses. He must excel.

Be supportive, but also establish boundaries. I hope that, at least silently, you are tying some of your future with this person to his success in this program.
posted by Ynoxas at 10:44 PM on August 8, 2007

Keep an eye out for any depressive behavior. Not saying your BF is going to go off the deep end, but if he's hiding his depression, a relapse could push him down a flight of steps... emotionally speaking. A friend of mine's stepson was an oxy abuser for a couple of years, in and out of treatments, but hid it under a facade of successfulness (athlete, lots of friends). He hanged himself a couple of weeks ago.

Anyway, you don't have to be paranoid about it, but stay aware.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 4:33 AM on August 9, 2007

It will take about a year for his brain to regain anything approaching a normal ability to cope with stress and to feel much pleasure and joy and - you will have to support him through this. A year is a long time to be patient.

Have you explored Buprenorphine programs?

Encourage him to pursue aerobic exercise- cycling, running, or swimming- this helps immensely with restoring endorphin production. Bonus if you can do this together...
posted by ohdeanna at 7:07 AM on August 9, 2007

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