Patients who come to The Coleman Institute for a rapid opioid detox return every two months for their follow up naltrexone implants. I must admit it sometimes takes me a few minutes before I completely remember them.

There are a couple reasons for this. One: I’m getting older. Two: people look so different when they have been off these drugs for two months. They are happier and healthier. Those who had lost weight because of drug use have regained weight, and those who were bloated tend to lose weight. Eyes, hair and skin reflect the absence of the toxins.

However, there are those patients that are very easy to remember, from the first visit to the most current. Troy* is one of those.

On the first day of Troy’s detox, he was ebullient. He bounced off the walls with enthusiasm for his new chance at sobriety. He talked and talked and talked. Very funny, very charming, flashing his great smile at everyone who came in--kind of like a big kid, a little over the top, really.

There was some concern that he didn’t get that this part of the process was the first step, not the fix. Recovery is a journey, and getting through withdrawal and ridding the body of opiates are just the beginning. The real work and opportunity come as life continues to provide daily fodder for dealing with ups and downs on a drug-free basis.

But Troy came back 2 months later, then 2 months after that. I didn’t see him on those visits, but yesterday I saw him for his 4th naltrexone implant—he was closing in on six months of being clean. I saw a very different man from the guy I met during the actual rapid opiate detox process.

When I opened the door to the exam room, I felt like I was in the presence of the Buddha. Troy radiated a quiet peace and joy. I was speechless for a moment when I recalled my memories of first meeting Troy. As we began to talk I asked him to give me a ‘snapshot’ of life. Here is some of what he quietly and humbly shared with me. I actually wrote these down while he spoke:

  • Since I stopped (using), my physical, mental, and spiritual health is better.
  • I am making more sound decisions instead of jeopardizing my future.
  • I’m regaining the characteristics that make me a better person.
  • It takes a lot to reboot yourself when you’ve been doing wrong for 25 years.
  • I’m learning to replace the negative with positive; that’s hard for an addict who wants what he wants when he wants it.
  • Its an uphill battle, but worth it.

Troy is working two full-time jobs; he and his wife are closer than they’ve ever been.

He plans to continue to get naltrexone implants for at least a year.

So, please don’t be offended if you return for a naltrexone implant after a detox with us. I may not remember you immediately, but I--and all the staff—will rejoice with you for the courage and commitment you show by coming back.

*I usually change a person’s name when I write about them, but Troy is very happy for me to use his real name; in fact, I think he’s going to do a video testimonial pretty soon.