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Addicted: Successful addiction treatment requires commitment to sobriety

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WARREN, Ohio -

It's his fourth shot, another chance at breaking the cycle and escaping the one thing that has had a hold on him, most of his adult life.

"It's crazy that you had to take everything from me for me to even attempt this again," said Cole of Warren.

For the past 11 years, the man we will only identify as Cole has been battling addiction. He was just 17 when he first experimented with opiates, a hobby that eventually led him to heroin. And it's that drug he let gain physical and mental over him a fourth time.

"There is no off switch in our minds and that's the part of it that's scary because I still have that mind today. The drugs aren't in my system necessarily, but I still have that mindset which sponsorship and the 12 steps are to help me slow that mind down a little bit," Cole said.

As Cole works toward sobriety, he banks on the support of his sponsor, Chad Wiltrout, who knows what it takes to stay sober. He spent nearly 30 years battling addiction after getting hooked on opiates after a knee surgery.

"Until I finally came to an emotional internal bottom within myself and didn't want to, didn't want to continue living the way I was living, didn't want to live period that's when I was truly at the point where I would have did anything I had to do to change my life," Wiltrout said.

He chose to enter detox and go on to formal treatment at the Neil Kennedy Recovery Clinic, which is where he works today.

With more than 40 months of sobriety under his belt, Chad knows the importance of staying engaged in recovery, even after formal treatment ends. However, it's something most people don't understand or choose not to care about. More than 90% of opiate users, who complete formal treatment, end up relapsing.

"We've run so long on just self and doing our own thing we still think we can do that. Even though running on our own ideas got us in a big mess, we do need many people and many different outlets that are available," Wiltrout said.

A reality Cole now understands as he enters his third month of sobriety. With formal treatment under his belt, and Chad by his side as he works the 12 step program recovery program, Cole is cautiously optimistic about what the future holds.

"I know that it's a struggle because that's the way it has to be today and that's ok and I am ok with that, you know, I have to work a little bit harder. I've got to put a little bit more effort into putting my life back together and it gives me more motivation not to go back to that," Cole said.

Once a person is committed to changing their lives, there are several paths they can take. Detox is usually the first step in the recovery process. Residential treatment programs are available. Length of stays can vary at those facilities between 21 days and 90 days. Individuals often then complete intensive outpatient programs and Aftercare. There are also 12 step programs for people to engage in.

The Neil Kennedy Recovery Clinic recently began offering recovery coaching services. Recovery coaches are peer mediators who help individuals overcome barriers to long-term sobriety. You can call Neil Kennedy at 330-744-1181 to learn more. Recovery coaching services are being made available at The Sahara Club II in Warren on Fridays from 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.

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