How to Overcome the Craving for Opiates

When Mareesa was 13, she tried alcohol for the first time. Coping and struggling with a death in her family, Mareesa asked a family friend to bring over some vodka. Her first experience drinking escalated as quickly as it began. “The first time I drank I wound up getting alcohol poisoning and vomiting multiple times in my sleep,” she says, along with a near sexual-assault and a blackout.

That same year, Mareesa tried marijuana for the first time with her friends and at 16, tried cocaine for the first time. “That was really the first time that I started to experience cravings the most.” A year later, at 17, Mareesa started using Prescription Opiates. “I just liked being able to tune stuff out,” she says. She began dating someone who was medically prescribed these pills and together, they would use them.

Mareesa was also 17 when she tried Heroin for the first time, with the same boyfriend. “I hadn’t really planned on using Heroin, but I just said, ‘What could happen?’”

Mareesa knew she was reaching a point where her addiction was going to become all-consuming. “I always told myself I wasn’t going to go down that path, because of my parents, both of them were drug addicts.”

But once she began really using the Heroin, Mareesa’s life began to go down, and go down fast. Enrolled in college at 17, she was using Heroin in addition to other substances, such as opiates and methamphetamine. During her first year in college, she failed every single class. Her relationships with friends and family also began to suffer. “I put myself before any of them, always.”

Mareesa would get violent, hitting and throwing things at people she loved, but she couldn’t stop. “I really didn’t like who I saw when I looked in the mirror.” Since she was on probation, it was recommended that Mareesa go to 12-Step meetings. Feeling “chained” to meth, Mareesa was interested in going to the meetings to see what they could offer her. She knew deep down that she wanted to get clean, but her boyfriend that she was using with wanted no part of a sober life.

Prior to being put on probation, Mareesa was arrested via a warrant out for her arrest. She and her boyfriend were put in to different jails. She finally decided to stop fighting the hold that her addiction had over her and bravely told the correctional officer that was questioning her that she was an addict that she needed help. She was allowed to use the phone at the precinct to call her family and arrange plans to seek treatment when she was released in the morning. “I would not take that back,” says Mareesa.

At 19, she went through detox and entered a 90 day sober living program where she stayed for 3 months. Mareesa was able to stay sober for 2/2.5 years until she relapsed by starting to drink again. The consequences were bad and eventually, finding herself with someone who was using meth, she used it again. “I wound up feeling the same remorse, really, from using that, and I finally got honest with my family and everybody.”

She hit her lowest low two days after using meth again, in which she took an entire bottle of Valium in hopes of not waking up. “I was just thinking I’m done, you know, I’m over this.”

Mareesa woke up in a dual-diagnosis psychiatric hospital in which she detoxed and went back in to 12-step meetings. She moved out to Tucson, AZ and went to a 90 day sober living program, as she had family and a strong support system already out there.

Today, Mareesa is 2 years sober.

The best change? “I get to be present in everyday life.”

Today, Mareesa is happily working and staying strong in the everyday journey of recovery. “I’m employable today, I’m able to keep a job, I developed a work ethic, I show up to work, and that’s a beautiful thing, that I’m dependable today.”

Mareesa knows that getting clean and admitting that you need help (as she was able to do through speaking to her correctional officer) isn’t easy. “I understand it’s so scary to ask for help but, really, people just want to see you live and enjoy living, and being alive.”

One of the more difficult things for Mareesa throughout her recovery was trying to navigate through all of the intense, and at times, conflicting, emotions that come with addiction and getting clean. But she firmly believes that “there are ways to cope with life, and cope with your emotions.”

12-Step programs work best for Mareesa. “Anyone can get sober. And [people that can help you] will all be waiting there for you when you make that choice.”

Mareesa’s advice to anyone who’s ready to get sober? “Don’t give up, because that’s what [addiction] wants you to do. The person you become when you’re on dope or when you’re drinking is not you, you know, there’s another person down underneath all that that’s missing and that your loved ones would want to see. And I’m able to be that person today and you can too, and if I did it, so can you.”

  1. What an inspiring story. I really liked her advice that you shouldn’t give up. It’s all too easy just to give up to the drugs because they help forget our problems instead of making us face them. Mareesa is a strong person because she fought addiction twice. It shows that she really fought for her freedom of a drug-free life.

  2. Dealing with cravings isn’t easy, because I have been there but one needs to determined to forgo whatever cravings. cravings is another addiction that needs constant fight to wade it off

  3. This is why knowing how to cope with withdrawal is vital. in any addiction . As I said previously quitting or withdrawal becomes a mental battle. this is where a good support system cones in combined with the willingness to change.

  4. Its important we know how to deal with opiate cravings very well. And how to cope with withdrawal shouldn’t be left out. The result of this is an achievement of both the addict and the experts who wanna correct the addiction.

  5. People dealing with cravings needs all the help from the society. We need to understand their situation, their problems and we need to help them too.

  6. How to stop opiate cravings starts with determination to forgo such cravings. It wouldn’t be easy but try to let it go and be whole again

  7. It must have been very hard for Mareesa to try to find out how to stop opiate cravings, I think she is doing a great job and I hope she can succeed in keeping clean her system.

  8. When you are an addict of opiate, it is hard to fight with opiate cravings. You can’t do it yourself. It is better to have assist from others.

  9. To start dealing with cravings for things like this starts from personal convictions. Then all working methods and plans works since you yourself is ready to change.

  10. The road ahead for a recovering drug addict isn’t an easy one, I can gather. Among the first few steps towards figuring out how to deal with opiate cravings is to acknowledge the problem (that you’re addicted to them), and finding someone who can hold you accountable, during your journey to wean yourself off the cravings.

    It could be a loved one, or people who really care a lot for you, but it also boils down to wanting to be clean of the effects of opiate abuse. If you’re currently on this journey, find some support, medical or otherwise; you’re not alone on this journey, despite what you may think, sometimes.

  11. Yes it definitely can be a long journey. It can take everything a person has left in them (and then some) just to overcome addiction, but it can be done. I have a friend who was an addict and now they’re living a healthy and productive life. Took them a while, but they made it!

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