Scripts and Sobriety

Thanks for listening to my medical gripes a few weeks ago. I know they were not fun and barely related to recovery either, so I apologize for going off course.

One of my biggest obstacles with medical issues, whether it be my knee or my mysterious untreatable headaches, is that I can’t do much to soothe pain. I am an addict and that means that I should not ingest any narcotics. Ibuprofen is fine – but most things you need a prescription for are no good. Any 12 step program will tell you that as long as you are under a doctor’s care and you discuss it with your sponsor, you can make your own choice about taking prescription medication as prescribed. Let’s get serious though, I bet if you went to any doctor and told them a story they would prescribe you anything what you wanted. This is not a suggestion, friends. I’m just saying that a lot of doctors push medication on their patients when there are most likely alternatives. So be careful even if a doctor prescribes you narcotics.

It’s definitely a personal choice. I don’t knock people for doing what they need to do to take care of themselves, but I know that personally I could not handle taking narcotics as presribed if I was given the option. I’ve never followed a doctors orders with narcotics before, so what makes today any different? Even though I’ve been clean for a few years I am not cured and I have to be very careful. I could end up in pretty bad shape with one wrong decision. With my knee last year I told to tell every new doctor I saw that I was a recovering addict and not to prescribe me narcotics. If you tell the doc that up front they won’t offer it to you later and if they do, you should get a new doctor.

If I can manage the pain on my own then I will, but if I was put in a situation where I could get nerve damage from tremendous pain, I would do what the doctor suggests and take the narcotics. There’s no need to be a martyr in recovery. Yet, I would take precautions such as having someone close to me hold the pills and dispense them to me when necessary.

I am writing about this today to say that although I rarely have cravings anymore for anything other than sugar and nicotine, during my recent extended headache episodes I really wished I could have used something to numb the pain. I try everything I could think of to safely make the pain go away and I just can’t. Luckily I did not give in to any desires and I do get some headache-free days.

Sometimes I feel like the pain I am experiencing today is like life’s retaliation for my abuse of narcotics when I wasn’t in physical pain. I know that’s not the way it works, but I took the easy way out when I was an active addict and it didn’t get me very far in the long run. Today I have to take the rockier road and I know it will be more rewarding this way even if it doesn’t feel like it in the moment.

What’s your view?

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2 Comments

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2 responses to “Scripts and Sobriety

  1. This is a hard one for me as well. Because I used to seek out ways to numb when the pain I had was psychological, I am adverse to taking painkillers for physical pain now. It’s funny, I have never liked taking medication, but now I know I definitely could not trust myself to follow dosage instructions. And I would be afraid of craving it later…daydreaming about it during the next difficult time.

    That said, chronic pain is a tricky one. So far I haven’t had to deal with it.

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