Recovering from heroin addiction is one of the most difficult things anyone could ever go through. Only someone who has gone down that path knows the agony of being a slave to King Heroin. It corrupts and poisons your body, mind and spirit.
It crushes any dreams you once had and prevents you from living a healthy and beautiful existence. Heroin destroys families and even kills people.
To recover from heroin addiction you need to reach deep down within yourself and find inner resources that lie dormant within you.
Deep within all of us is a power so great that we can defeat any challenge if we simply tap into this power and learn how to use it. I’ve designed a step-by-step guide to quitting heroin and staying clean using a very effective, natural method that treats the body, mind and soul. I call this method Holistic Heroin Recovery.
Table of Contents
- 1 Phase I: Detoxing off Heroin
- 2 Phase II: Rebalancing Brain Chemistry
- 3 Phase III: Integrating Body, Mind, and Spirit
- 4 Phase IV: Connect to a Higher Purpose
Holistic Heroin Recovery
The term holistic refers to treating the whole person rather than individual parts. For example, lets say someone is getting counseling and addiction education as a form of treatment. This would take care of the mental aspect of addiction. Suppose they also start going to 12-Step meetings and begin treating the spiritual aspect of heroin addiction. This person would still be leaving the physical component untreated. In my opinion this is the most important and often most under looked aspect of addiction recovery.
There are many reasons for this. Ignorance is at the top of the list. Most addiction professionals weren’t trained in nutrition, so they don’t realize how important it is to heroin recovery. Luckily there are some who have made it there life’s work to bring this awareness to the general public. Unfortunately there are very few of them.
I’ve combined some of the most powerful teachings that I’ve learned from these holistic professionals and created a simple and inexpensive method for quitting heroin and staying clean. Holistic Heroin Recovery is a system based on the power of nutrition, supplementation, qigong and personal development.
It’s a natural method of treating the body, mind and spirit. At the end of each section there are exercises to complete which will help you organize your thoughts and create an action-plan for quitting heroin. After reading through this guide and completing the exercises you will have taken the first step on your path to recovery.
Phase I: Detoxing off Heroin
The main purpose of this article is to teach you what to do to stay clean after you’ve gone through the initial heroin withdrawal.
To learn how to detox from heroin at home, please refer to the following articles:
- How To Mega-Dose Vitamin C To Stop Opiate Withdrawal
- How To Use Kratom For Opiate Withdrawal
- How To Use Loperamide For Opiate Withdrawal
- The Thomas Recipe Eases Opiate Withdrawal Symptoms
- The Finch Formula Is a Super Potent Opiate Withdrawal Remedy
- Suboxone Withdrawal Remedies That Work
- How To Stop Restless Legs From Opiate Withdrawal
- How To Use Gabapentin For Opiate Withdrawal
- How To Sleep During Opiate Withdrawal
- Opiate Withdrawal Remedies Review
Note: After you get past the first 4-5 days of the acute heroin detox, you’ll be ready to move on to Phase II.
Phase II: Rebalancing Brain Chemistry
The foundation for heroin addiction recovery is rebalancing brain chemistry. Once this physical aspect is addressed, the mind and spirit can more readily recover. I believe the main reason so many individuals don’t make it to the 30 days clean milestone, fewer reach it to 90 days, and fewer still get to a year is often due to poor functioning brain chemistry. All the counseling, addiction education and 12-Step meetings in the world won’t be enough to keep someone clean and happy long-term if they don’t feel good due to this physical component not being addressed.
I learned all of the following information from reading End Your Addiction Now, written by Charles Gant, MD, and The Mood Cure, by Julia Ross, M.A. Both of them have generated impressive results ending patients addictions’ using nutritional therapy. In fact, Dr. Gant had an 83% success rate using these methods while he was the medical director of a rehabilitation facility in Syracuse, New York. These statistics are unheard of in the field of addiction treatment and medicine.
According to these two professionals, brain chemistry of substance abusers may have become disrupted in the following ways:
- Through the prolonged use of substances like drugs, alcohol and cigarettes.
- By toxins in the environment.
- By physical or emotional stress.
- By nutritional deficiencies.
- Because of a genetic predisposition.
Dr. Gant says “Imbalances are especially important in the biochemistry of neurons. These brain cells produce neurotransmitters, which are chemical messengers that control almost every aspect of our lives. Many of these neurotransmitters significantly affect behavior and moods.”
- Endorphins/enkephalins – Our natural painkillers; they promote feelings of physical relaxation, joy, and produce a natural high.
- Serotonin – Responsible for feelings of being emotionally relaxed and happy.
- Gamma-amino butyric acid (GABA) – Mentally relaxing, your brains natural Valium.
- Catecholamines – Dopamine is in this class of neurotransmitters; responsible for concentration and euphoria.
Note: If you are deficient in these neurotransmitters can lead to you experiencing the opposite affect. For example, if you aren’t producing enough catecholamines you will tend to be tired and have a hard time concentrating. If you are deficient in GABA this can easily lead to anxiety. A lack of serotonin is associated with depression. Become deficient in endorphins and you risk becoming overly sensitive to both physical and emotional pain.
The Importance of Endorphins
OK so what does all of this have to do with heroin addiction recovery? Well here’s the thing…different drugs mimic these neurotransmitters. Heroin specifically mimics endorphins, our natural painkillers. Heroin is just a chemical substitute for the natural chemical your brain already makes. Heroin is a phony!
This is the interesting part…after taking heroin for awhile your brain stops producing it’s own endorphins. It does this because you are supplying it with artificial endorphins! This sends a signal to the brain that it can go take care of other necessary functions since it is no longer needed in that department. Basically your brain short-circuits, and therein lies the problem.
This is the main reason most heroin abusers have such a hard time quitting. Once you stop taking the artificial endorphins your brain doesn’t start producing the natural ones right away. It takes a long time. In fact, sometimes it can take several months or years before it returns to normal functioning. Worse still, if nothing is done to correct these biochemical imbalances there is a possibility your brain will never operate like it did before heroin abuse.
In the meantime it doesn’t feel good to be running low on this important neurotransmitter. In fact, it feels absolutely horrible. After weeks or months of feeling bad most people give up and use, starting the whole process over again. This is why I stated earlier that all the counseling and meetings in the world can only have moderate success at best if someone is biochemically imbalanced.
The first phase in the Holistic Heroin Recovery Program is raising level of endorphins quickly, naturally and safely. Julia Ross says “people who have adequate amounts of endorphins take great pleasure in life and have don’t let many things get them down. They are resistant to both physical and emotional pain.”
More on endorphins according to the author of The Mood Cure:
- They promote joy, contentment and euphoria.
- They are strong, natural painkillers.
- Things like running, chocolate and meditation can produce them.
- Bungee jumpers get more than a 200% endorphin increase.
OK, so we’ve established just how important these chemical messengers are to heroin recovery. Now what? Well it’s easier than you might think. All it takes is a few inexpensive supplements combined with eating enough protein throughout the day.
DLPA – This twin formula is a combination of the D- and the L- forms of the amino acid phenylalanine. These two forms work well together because each offers a different by synergistic affect. Taking this supplement can significantly increase endorphins and can work within minutes. In one study reported in the book DLPA, endorphin levels tripled 90 minutes after a single dose of DLPA was taken. What’s even more amazing is that endorphin levels stayed that high for almost a week.
Freeform Amino Acid Blend – A supplement containing a blend of amino acids and including plenty of the nine “essential” amino acids: isoleucine, leucine, histadine, lysine, phenylalanine, methionine, threonine, tryptophan and valine. Taking these aminos in combinaton with DLPA and protein rich meals and snacks can help you produce endorphins.
Other supplements that can help increase endorphins:
Along with the above supplements you should consume endorphin building foods that are rich in protein such as:
- Cottage Cheese
Note: A person lacking in endorphins that’s trying to make a healthy recovery from heroin addiction should consider taking in at least 20-30 grams of protein three times a day. Fresh vegetables, good fats and oils are also recommended to help build endorphins. If you are vegetarian use foods like eggs, quinoa and beans as high protein alternatives.
Sample Endorphin-Building Meals
- Breakfast: Egg and veggie omelette with turkey bacon and home fries; or a fruit smoothie with protein powder.
- Lunch: Large Greek chicken salad with Italian dressing, pita bread and hummus.
- Dinner: A good size piece of salmon, steamed veggies and a baked potato with melted butter and cheese.
Exercise 1: Read more about DLPA and start taking it as soon as possible. Take one or two 500 mg capsules upon rising, at mid-morning and again at mid-afternoon. Start taking an amino blend as well. Take one or two 700-800 mg capsules upon rising and again at mid-morning. These need to be taken on an empty stomach to be absorbed. Go shopping and get some good quality sources of protein along with healthy vegetables, oils and fats.
Phase III: Integrating Body, Mind, and Spirit
Now that you’ve learned how to treat the physical aspect of heroin addiction recovery let’s move on to total integration of body, mind and spirit. I think you’ll find that correcting your diet and taking supplements will do more than just fix biochemical imbalances.
Since you will be feeling better due to your brain chemistry being balanced, you will automatically have a healthier mind and spirit. This is what the term holistic refers to. When any part of you (physical, mental, spiritual, emotional) is either weakened or strengthened, it directly affects everything else.
I used to work as a counselor at an opiate treatment program where 80% of the patients were on methadone, 15% were on Suboxone, and the remainder used Subutex. Along with their medication they received counseling support.
The counseling helped with the mental aspect of addiction, though the medication didn’t correct the physical imbalances.
It continued to mask them, and in the long run ended up exacerbating the problem. So as a method of treatment it’s definitely not as strong as one which treats the whole person. I have nothing against this form of treatment. I saw it work very well for some people and am glad these options are available. I’ll tell you one thing though…those pharmaceutical companies are making a lot of money!
This is an ancient Chinese form of healing that has been around for thousands of years, and it’s a major component in Holistic Heroin Recovery. It’s practiced by over 100 million people in China, and has started to gain some popularity in the West. So exactly what is qigong? I’ll break it down for you.
Qi is the Chinese word for “life force energy”. It’s the animating power that the Chinese believe flows through all living things. Gong means “work” or “cultivated benefits through practice”. Therefore, qigong means working with life force energy to circulate qi throughout the body to improve mental, physical, spiritual and emotional health. Qigong is a holistic system of self-healing exercise and meditation that involves breathing, meditation, movement, self-massage and healing postures.
I’m a qigong Instructor and prescribe it for heroin addiction recovery for the following reasons:
- Practicing qigong produces endorphins along with many other neuropeptides.
- Qigong, like Western biofeedback therapy, is a systematic training in psychophysiological self-regulation.
- It is one of the most effective modalites for decreasing stress and improving overall health.
- It was shown in a large study in the People’s Republic of China to be more effective than medication for heroin withdrawal.
Read that last bullet-point again. Qigong was shown to be more effective than withdrawal medication! In the study the qigong group had less withdrawal symptoms and less and anxiety than the medication group. What’s even more amazing is that everyone in the qigong group had negative urine tests by day 5 compared to day 9 for the medication group.
In fact, 50% of the qigong group had negative urine tests by day 3! This tells us that qigong can be very effective for heroin withdrawal. It’s also beneficial for heroin recovery due to it’s ability to calm the mind and promote overall health and well-being.
There are literally thousands of qigong styles. The style shown above is called Falun Dafa. Qigong is usually practiced in the morning or evening on an empty stomach. Most people do qigong from 10-60 minutes per session. It’s most beneficial if you can commit to practicing every day or at least every other day.
Exercise 2: Follow along with the instructor above to learn this method or you can order a qigong dvd. I highly recommend Qigong Healing Form Level-1 and Lee Holden: Qi Workout Am/Pm. If you want to deepen your qigong experience and knowledge the following books can help: The Way of Qigong and The Healing Promise of Qi.
This is the final stage of Holistic Heroin Recovery. After you quit abusing heroin and correct biochemical imbalances it’s time to start doing some serious work on yourself. Heroin recovery doesn’t have to be a long process. You have the ability to take control of your life right now. I know it may seem impossible at times, but things can get better fast using these methods. Personal development refers to enhancing your talents and potential to create a better quality of life and realize your dreams.
It includes, but is not limited to the following:
- Developing strengths
- Learning new skills and improving existing ones
- Improving wealth
- Spiritual development
- Building and strengthening identity and self-esteem
- Improving self-knowledge and self-awareness
- Improving physical, mental and emotional health
- Becoming a self-leader
I can’t emphasize the importance of personal growth for heroin recovery enough. Going through this process can completely transform your life. By learning to overcome fears and build confidence you will find yourself becoming a person who would never use heroin. This is your ticket to freedom. You literally have to change your identity. A major reason so many people don’t recover is because they view themselves as addicts trying to stay clean. This is a dangerous way to think, and it often leads to struggling.
A key component to Holistic Heroin Recovery is viewing yourself as someone who would never use drugs. Our identity is more responsible for behaviors, thoughts, actions and feelings than any other force. You can harness the power of identity and make it work for you not against you.
Exercise 3: Get a notebook or journal and write down your new identity. Describe in detail who you would have to become as an individual to view heroin as something you would never ever do. What would that person look like? What beliefs would they have? Values? Morals? What kind of personality characteristics? Where would they work? Who would their friends be? How would they view life? The more detailed you can get the better. Now take this summary of the new you and read it everyday first thing in the morning and review it again before going to sleep. If you really want to enhance the power of this exercise read it aloud in a strong voice. This will condition it into your nervous system so it becomes a part of you.
Exercise 4: Start working on your personal development plan. Feed your mind with self-improvement books and cds. Start journaling on a regular basis. I highly recommend hiring a therapist, counselor or coach. There are many experienced professionals that can help guide you on you path of personal development. I’m a coach that specializes in opiate addiction recovery, personal development and life balance. Having someone to work with you and hold you accountable can only help your recovery.
Phase IV: Connect to a Higher Purpose
What were you put on this planet for? Was it to wake up every day and put drugs in your body? What did you enjoy doing before you started using heroin? The final phase of the Holistic Heroin Recovery plan is connecting to a higher purpose. It’s finding out what you want most out of life and going for it! I’ve seen many people fail trying to stay clean because they didn’t have a purpose.
Purpose = Power.
If you dedicate your life to something incredible that you are passionate about it can provide you with a level of life fulfillment that few achieve. I’ll give you an example from my own life. I was in a very dark place for a long time. Drugs and fear ruled my life. Something changed within me years ago. I didn’t want to live like that anymore and finally made a decision to quit no matter what.
Now that I’ve recovered I decided to make it my life’s mission and purpose to become an expert in the field of opiate addiction recovery. I provide people with holistic, natural methods for recovering from heroin and other opiates. This connection with a higher purpose gives me a sense of fulfillment and contribution that helps guide my life.
Exercise 5: What’s your higher purpose? It’s OK if you don’t know. My guess is the majority of people don’t know! Get out your notebook or journal and start writing ideas down as they come. Just write anything that pops into your head. There’s no wrong answer. Close your eyes and ask aloud “what’s my higher purpose?” Keep your eyes shut and try to clear you mind. Start taking deep breathes and relax into it. The answer will come to you.
I’ve provided you with some of the most effective natural strategies for heroin recovery that I know of. If you implement them into your life you have the opportunity to feel a new sense of physical, mental, spiritual and emotional heath. After detoxing from heroin you’ll be one step closer to recovery. Correct imbalances in brain chemistry to restore your mind and body to optimal functioning. Practice qigong and start your journey of personal development.
Connect to your higher purpose to fuel your passion and life fulfillment. Go through these phases with courage and determination and in the end, heroin recovery is not just possible….it’s probable.
If you have any questions on heroin recovery, please don’t hesitate to leave it in the comment box below.