ALTON - Whether a Centerstone client is recovering from a mental health struggle or substance use disorder, hope is a powerful tool. But it’s not the only tool you have at your disposal.

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Melissa Aaron, LCSW, explained that Centerstone offers several medication-assisted treatment (MAT) options to people who are struggling with substance use disorders. She has seen countless clients completely change their lives with the help of counseling and MAT.

“I think anybody who is really motivated in recovery, whether it’s mental health or substance use, we see a lot of changes in them, and most of it is hope,” Aaron said. “For the first time in some folks’ lives, they’re realizing that they can have dreams and goals. We really want to work with them on coming up with goals and dreaming, and for the first time, nothing seems impossible to them.”

Centerstone offers methadone, Suboxone and Vivitrol, all of which are medications that can treat opioid addiction. Aaron explained that these medications help clients avoid withdrawal symptoms, which makes it easier for them to stop using illicit substances.

She noted that clients often say the withdrawal symptoms are what made them return to substance use in the past. Without these symptoms, many clients are able to work, go to school and engage with their loved ones, which builds the hope they need to keep working toward recovery.

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“[MAT] is a tool that they can use to help give them hope that recovery is an option while not having all the withdrawals,” she said. “It allows them an opportunity to start down a road to recovery with the support of our team. Some individuals may never have had anybody who was supportive. So being able to come in and have all of us at one time that is there for support, I think makes a big difference. And then they are able to really work and have that hope toward recovery.”

This support is an important part of Centerstone’s model. Clients come to Centerstone to receive doses of the medication in addition to counseling, case management services and peer support. Aaron said all of the counselors work together, so clients have a whole team of people behind them.

A lot of clients have mental health issues or trauma histories, so counseling can be especially helpful to address the reasons why they turned to substance use. But Aaron pointed out that others have no such backgrounds. She wants people to understand that addiction can happen to anyone, and so can recovery.

“Anybody can end up in a world of addiction, and we’ve seen that too where maybe somebody was prescribed medication from a doctor and it went too far and then they’re where it’s at. Anybody is an accident away from ending up addicted to medication, and they never planned on it,” she said. “I think folks would be surprised if they really knew in their communities who was battling addiction…They come from all walks of life and it’s not just a background that led to it.”

No matter what led to a substance use disorder, Centerstone and MAT can help clients get on a path toward recovery. The organization works with the client to help them stay on track and get the support and resources they need.

“As a team, we celebrate the wins and we also ride the waves of the downs,” Aaron added. “Every step of the way, we’re going to be there, we’re going to advocate, we’re going to be the cheerleaders of our clients because for some, they don’t have that. And so we’re going to be there for them.”

For more information about Centerstone, visit RecoverWithUs.org or call 1-877-HOPE123 (877-467-3123).

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