It’s not uncommon for opioid addicts to go through programs multiple times.

Brian Taylor had been through many rehab programs – beginning at age 12 for marijuana and alcohol use – but it was heroin, the constant craving for the drug and the physical sickness that came when he didn’t have it – that ultimately drove him to seek help.

But even the desire to rid himself of the pain and nausea of withdrawal and the daily need for that next fix wasn’t enough to keep him on the path to recovery at first. He wanted to be free of the addiction, but wasn’t ready to make the changes in his life necessary to succeed.

“I always thought I could do it on my own,” the now 32-year-old said. “I didn’t want to change friends, or leave the neighborhood or change how I lived.”

It’s not uncommon for opioid addicts to go through programs multiple times. Adam Taylor, public information officer at Connections, said the average person comes back for withdrawal management treatment six times. Adam and Brian share a last name, but the two are not related.

Six was the magic number for Brian Taylor. He began his first stint at Connections Community Support Programs in January 2016. He entered the program for the sixth time on December 14 and marked his first day clean December 15. But coming back after stumbling wasn’t easy.

“Every time I had a feeling of helplessness, not knowing what to do,” he said. “On my end, [coming back] took a little bit of pride swallowing, but it was also a relief because they knew me and were supportive. I just had to be open and willing to do the things that were going to help me, not necessarily what I wanted.”

Now working as a peer specialist at the Harrington Withdrawal Management Center, Taylor advocates for others in the program, but he also shares his experience and provides encouragement to those entering treatment.

“I was that person,” he said. “I just try to be as honest as possible with my story.”

That support, from counselors and staff to others in recovery, is essential to success, along with a determination to do whatever it takes to stay clean.

“It’s a willingness thing,” he said. “There are always options. You just have to be willing to do it. I’ve done a lot of time in rehabilitation. I just never applied it to my life before. Now, I walk what I talk.”

NEXT - Overcoming the stigma.