We answer “what good can come from a bad fentanyl habit?” and how the Coleman Institute can help you live a life in full fentanyl recovery.

Fred’s Story

While meeting with my patient Fred yesterday, who sees me for the Coleman Institute’s Accelerated Opioid Detox, I was reminded of the illuminating work of one of my favorite social psychologists, Dr. Martha Beck.

Fred is 35 and has been off the streets for about 8 months now. He told me that he is daring to have hope again. While this is scary, Fred adds another 24 hours of sobriety and continued growth each day, spiritually, emotionally, mentally, and physically. He builds evidence that he can have the kind of life he wants.

More like this: Is Recovery Possible For Fentanyl Addiction?

“Steering by Starlight” Exercise for Recovery

I thought about Dr. Martha Beck because of an exercise from her book Steering by Starlight. Her intention with this exercise is to help people look at an adverse or tragic event in their life. Then map out how it may have contributed to something in their life they currently cherish.

It goes something like this:

  • Think of a Very Good Thing (VGT) in your life-a relationship, a pet, a job, your recovery, a treasured object, “without which your world would feel significantly bleaker.”
  • Next, recall a positive turn of events in your life that enabled you to have this VGT. This is a ‘proximate cause’-something that is directly linked to your Very Good Thing.
  • Now read over the event you just described and describe something else that happened to make that event possible. This is an ‘antecedent to the proximate cause’ in fancy terms.
  • Her next step is to continue this ‘future to past’ chain until you can think of one piece of “bad luck” that helped your VGT come into your life.

Her exercise helps shift one’s perspective from seeing “bad things” as separate events from positive things. But instead to be able to say: “My destiny was to have this Very Good Thing. So, therefore, this bad thing happened to make my Very Good Thing possible.

And this is how I heard Fred connecting his dots when we spoke yesterday.

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Fred’s Very Favorite Thing

Fred’s Very Favorite Thing is being back in school and pursuing his education. He is in his first semester toward completing a psychology degree he started some years ago. He was generically interested in psychology some years ago but now has a passion for working with people who have Substance Use Disorders (SUD). He has simultaneously taken the first steps to become a Certified Peer Recovery Specialist.

Proximate Cause

The proximate cause of this event was being asked to be the recovery house manager in which he lives. Being in this position opened doors for him. It gave him the confidence to see the leadership qualities in himself that other people recognized.

Antecedent to the Proximate Cause

An antecedent to the proximate cause (if we’re all fancy here) would be the court-ordered mandate that he spend a year in a recovery house. Fred was fortunate enough to have a judge, a lawyer, and a parole officer who recognized treating Substance Use Disorder (SUD) as a health problem. Rather than simply a crime, it may produce far better outcomes for people’s lives.

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

Bad Event

Continuing to move backward in the narrative, it wasn’t hard for Fred to find the “bad event” that eventually supported his Very Good Thing. About 14 months earlier, Fred had a terrible incident with a horrible drug dealer. It led to many legal consequences, including being put in the position of testifying against this terrifying guy. But unfortunately, it also led to medical issues because this scary guy shot Fred in the abdomen, which required weeks of being hospitalized.

Beyond physical healing, Fred continues to work with therapists because of the horrendous Post Traumatic Stress Disorder of this experience. In addition, he was previously self-described as a strong extrovert. Fred challenges himself to interact with people in his house but still struggles with being in public places. However, he has found great comfort in a nearby library and can participate in his university classes online.




Accelerated Opioid Detox

At the Coleman Institute, we treat people with Substance Use Disorders, meeting them where they are.

Our Accelerated Opioid Detox helps people achieve their recovery goals by providing Medically-Assisted Treatment (MAT) as an alternative to using heroin, fentanyl, or other short-acting opioids.

Other patients seek our services in getting on naltrexone, another form of Medication-Assisted Treatment for Substance Use Disorder (SUD). Naltrexone is considered an opioid antagonist, for it completely sits on and blocks the opioid receptors from other opioids. As a result, it does not produce physical dependence; therefore, there will be no withdrawal when one stops taking it.

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

How Does an Accelerated Opioid Detox Work?

A person must be free from short-acting opioids before they can have naltrexone to avoid experiencing precipitated fentanyl withdrawal symptoms. The Coleman Institute has long specialized in removing heroin, fentanyl, kratom, oxycodone, buprenorphine, hydrocodone, and other opioids through our Accelerated Opioid Detox (AOD) program.

Depending on what drug is being taken, our outpatient fentanyl withdrawal management program using The Coleman Method lasts anywhere from 3 to 10 days. The fentanyl detox program includes a generous regimen of comfort medications, substantial involvement with the patient’s support person of choice, 6 months of case management and follow-up, and 6 months of naltrexone therapy in most cases.

Many insurance companies now recognize that not everyone with a Substance Use Disorder desires treatment with a long-acting opioid such as Suboxone®. So, several are covering the cost of the detox on an in-network basis at specific locations.

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


The opioid crisis in our country has shaken us into abrupt awareness of the need for good treatment. Resources are abundant, and more people who have once been the victims of fentanyl addiction have turned their lives around to serve people in similar circumstances. In addition, professional and medical programs have expanded curriculums to include training in Substance Use Disorder.

If you are struggling with addiction issues or have a loved one doing so, please call us to discuss our various fentanyl programs. I am inspired every day by the people I work with who have gone ‘through the fire’ to get to the other side and found the freedom to be in full fentanyl recovery. It would be a privilege to work with you.

In the meantime, stay safe.

Joan R. Shepherd, FNP