WE HELP OURSELVES: JIN HI'S STORY
Jin Hi has been at WHOS for 4 months now in the Residential Opioid Treatment Stabilisation Program (RTOD) - a program designed to help people stabilise on their methadone or buprenorphine and stop other drug use.
UN: So, why rehab?
JH: I heard about it through my dosing clinic. I wanted to get off methadone at first, but I realised I needed stabilisation. I have been using for about 18 years and on methadone on and off for 10 years, but I was still using. I came to the realisation that I couldn’t change that behaviour on my own. I have two children, a 12 year old and a 7 month old and I wanted to do it for them. It’s more than just physically stopping using. I have never dealt with why I used in the first place and I felt I needed to do that.
UN: How does RTOD help with that?
JH: We learn relapse prevention and do behavioural change with Cognitive Behavioural Therapy. We do these groups over and over so it really gets in. We learn how to deal with triggers. It’s all about replacing negative behaviour with positive behaviour.
UN: What’ s your best tip for someone wanting to change their behaviour?
JH: Just take one day at a time. It’s no good beating yourself up with what you’ve done in the past. That’s done. It’s no good worrying about what might happen in the future. It might never happen. Just stay in the now. Take it slowly, a step at a time. I’m learning not to react out of impulse. I get frustrated with the little things sometimes, but I think that is true of a lot of people here. I think we all get more worried about the small stuff rather than the big stuff in here! I’m learning to just stay in today.
UN: What else has been useful?
JH: I really like the routine. I like it’s quite rigid. It feels like getting control back, learning to live on life’s terms again and take responsibility for myself. I can’t change the past.
UN: Do you think there is any discrimination from the people in the abstinence based programs?
JH: There is a little bit. I have always been sensitive around the stigma around Opiate Substitution Therapy (OST), I have always worried about how people in the wider community view me because it’s not regarded as a real treatment. There definitely is judgement from other users too. For instance, we go to Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) meetings instead of Narcotics Anonymous (NA) meetings because we are on maintenance and NA is abstinence based and don’t accept it’s a legitimate medication.
UN: Do you get to see your children?
JH: Yes, they have a good family focus here. My partner is not a user. He brings the kids in. We’ve been together 15 years. Children can come in twice a week and I also get day leave now. We also get child calls every afternoon - video calls. It was so hard to leave them. My eldest started high school and I wasn’t there, that was difficult. And I worried the baby wouldn’t remember me. But really it’s a short amount of time to take out of life to make big changes. The skills I am learning are worth it. I want to do more of the program - the commitment and transition phases - so I feel ready when I leave.
UN: Would you recommend the program?
JH: Definitely. It’s made me more focused and I am learning how to get rid of the chaos from my life. I really like that it’s based on behaviours. I’m learning a lot of useful life skills.