Rebuilding Your Life Through Medicine Assisted Treatment
As program director for both Vance Recovery and Morse Clinic of North Raleigh, John Mattocks ensures that the clinics are operating at their best daily. This includes everything from keeping the books to vacuuming floors, all to ensure that guests feel comfortable during their stay. He also helps resolve individual client problems and to meet their specific treatment needs. “We try very hard to make this a welcoming and comfortable environment for our guests,” Mattocks says. “Treatment is a long process that can’t happen unless they feel safe with us.”
Morse Clinics provide maintenance therapy for opioid addiction recovery. Opioid addiction is generally different from other substance abuse because of the intensity of cravings and severe withdrawal symptoms, Mattocks explains. Addiction is the common result after being prescribed painkillers for an accident or sports injury. A person may respond pleasurably to the prescription medication, creating a need to maintain that state of euphoria. Medication-assisted treatment helps block the “high” caused by opioid use and lessens withdrawal pains. For many, this is the last hope for recovery. “No one comes to our clinic who isn’t fighting for their life,” Mattocks says. “They’re unable to meet basic survival needs. I’ve had clients who can’t function with drugs in their system. They’re not using to get high anymore. If they don’t have the drugs, they can’t get out of bed.”
Medications such as methadone and buprenorphine suppress drug cravings to stabilize clients and enable them to make informed decisions on starting their recovery. Given a clear and steady mindset, they can begin to work on other aspects of recovery such as lifestyle changes, primary care treatment and mental health counseling.
A majority of Vance Recovery patients have experienced some sort of trauma or mental illness in their life. Mattocks believes it’s essential to combine medication with counseling and behavioral therapy in order to face these issues and form a holistic approach for treatment.
The center encourages every individual to participate in the variety of counseling programs available. Their art therapy group provides a unique way of handling the complex emotions that arise during treatment. The group meets once a week to work on different projects that usually reflect their internal struggles. One such project was building two masks—one for how the world sees the patient and another for how they perceive themselves. Mattocks thought this might help them deal with the stereotypes and generalizations about their disease made by the general public. He believes these projects give powerful and healing insight into their personal journey with addiction, an essential step towards healing.
After working through these inner issues, clients begin restoring their external world. They grow stronger by learning life skills, emotion regulation skills and other methods for maintaining their sobriety when facing triggers. It’s a challenging process and something they will have to work hard to manage after leaving the center. According to Mattocks, those who recover successfully don’t receive enough merit for their recovery.
“There’s a stigma for people who take medication to stop drug use,” Mattocks says. “My patients aren’t given enough credit. They work hard to rebuild their life. It’s all them. The medicine just helps.”