Everyone runs up against health issues in their lifetime. People that are in recovery from drugs and alcohol run major risks and it is recommended that some steps are taken before, during, and after a medical procedure. As the writer of this article, and personally in recovery, I did not heed these warnings and I paid an extreme price for it. In brief detail, I needed a cervical spine surgery and opiate pain medications were used to treat the pain. At seven years sober my mind, or now knowing in hindsight, my disease, told me this was OK and I could manage this by myself. I was addicted and didn’t know it. Then when I realized it…I couldn’t stop!
“What didn’t I do that I should have??”
People’s past experiences whether positive or negative can point the next person in the right direction when faced with a challenge in recovery. Sober people for many years have gotten through these times and managed to stay on the road to recovery by following the suggestions below.
Upon First Contact With A Doctor | It is imperative that as people in recovery we tell our doctors and surgeons that we are recovering addicts/alcoholics. A good doctor will treat this information just as serious as he takes the medical issue you are seeing them for. When a physician is armed with this information from the beginning, they can devise a different plan for managing your post-surgical pain appropriately.
If You’re Prescribed Narcotics | Sometimes taking pain medications can’t be avoided. This can be viewed as a “litmus” test. The work that we’ve done for ourselves and our recovery will be put to the test. We should have a sponsor to begin with. This is an issue that you should tackle together. Leaning on each other in difficult situations is how we get through them. If you’re given a prescription let someone hold the drug for you and dispense it to you exactly how it is directed to be administered.
Be Honest | The biggest mistake I made during the whole process. Not being honest with doctors, sponsors, and treatment professionals opens the door for justification to abuse the medications. We have to be honest about our pain levels and whether non-narcotic medications will be enough. The moment we decide to lie to ourselves and everyone else, the disease regains a foothold in our lives.