My Experience in a Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT) Program: Steven Samra

My Experience in a Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT) Program: Steven Samra


I’m Steven Samra and I’m an Associate
with C4 Innovations. Over my lifetime, I’ve experienced homelessness, mental
health challenges, severe and chronic addiction, criminal justice involvement
that included incarceration in a state prison, and serious trauma that was
exacerbated by poverty into adulthood. I had a very serious and chronic opioid
addiction, and I would fall down, and I would I would stumble over and over, and
I relapsed over and over, and I struggled over and over. I white-knuckled
that for about eight months. Today I know there’s some research that
points to the fact that people with chronic opiate addictions who try to
white-knuckle it, who just try abstinence, ninety three percent
return to active use within a year. So the challenge of
trying to white-knuckle yourself through what’s called post acute withdrawal
syndrome after you’ve used opiates for a very long time was unbelievable.
Dorothy is actually the person who recommended that I investigate methadone – a medication assisted treatment program. I decided to give it a shot. It was worth
trying it. So I I went to a clinic. She came with me. I started
in the program, and probably with it, well I can tell you right now, I mean I dosed
that day, that morning, and in the next hour, I felt completely normal. I
wasn’t high, but I wasn’t sick, and I wasn’t really uncomfortable. So I
continued in the program. I did all the things that you’re supposed to do in a
methadone program and a medication assisted treatment program. And
really really quickly realized that what it was giving me was the stability to
not think about the drugs and to focus on other things in my life. I realized
that I could actually function and
really perform well at work on a lower dose of methadone. So I took a couple years, but I reached a point where I realized that
this was therapeutic, not something to party on, and that is a major shift
for people that are used to looking at all medication as drugs. I cannot explain
to you why I am no longer absolutely compelled to use, but it wasn’t a light
switch moment, it was a gradual plummet of this compulsion to alter my head. I found more and more that the periods of sobriety I had, I really liked who I
was, and I believe that other people really liked who I was. That was a major
shift. I stayed in the methadone program, and in 2012, I began to seriously work
towards doing a medically supervised detoxed out of the program. I did it very
carefully. I did it over a period of about two and a half years under the
supervision of my counselor, and of course the clinic doctor, and
then my own personal physician. On February 13th of 2014, I took my last
dose and I have been out of the medication assisted treatment program
since that time. One of the greatest pieces of my
recovery happened this year. My two youngest, and when I say youngest, one is
25 and when one is 22. So they’re certainly not youngsters, but they’re my. They have both returned to my life. That coming together
of my family that was in tatters, stable employment through the
amazing work that C4 is done with me and for me, that gave me this sense that I
have achieved full recovery. With those threats hanging out there, you can be in recovery, but there’s a lot of stuff that still
needs to be tended. I think I’ve addressed most of those things, it has
not been an easy journey, but I would absolutely do it.

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