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I Take My Prescribed Meds…And I’m SOBER


Sobriety is often a matter of grey area rather than black and white, and such is the case when it comes to taking prescribed medications while working a program. From psychiatric medication to narcotics used to alleviate pain after a surgical procedure, the bottom line is that if these are not being misused and the person who’s prescribed them is practicing rigorous honesty, then it isn’t a relapse. Although some of these medications can ignite the cravings or other features of addiction, there are measures that people can take to alleviate their fears and help prevent a return to active addiction.

Taking a pill simply to take one is not the same as having a psychiatric diagnoses or physical ailment that necessitates taking medication. Some illnesses, such as depression, anxiety, or schizophrenia require users to be on a regimen of medication that helps to manage their symptoms on a daily basis. This medication often alleviates suicidal ideation, clears thinking, and lessens the severity of symptoms. If medication is discontinued, the effects can be harmful, resulting in a return to active addiction as well as attempted or completed suicide. Other situations that can require taking medication are circumstances such as car accidents or other physical illnesses that require surgery. These operations often require the use of anesthetics and of postoperative painkillers. The difference between these actions and a relapse is that the individual takes them as prescribed, has a plan set for their sobriety, is working in honesty, and isn’t attempting to get a “free” high. When these circumstances are coupled with a relapse prevention plan and an honest relationship with trusted friends, the likelihood of actual relapse decreases.

Some of these ways to plan seem simple, but are an essential part of maintaining a healthy, sober lifestyle; such as being honest with a doctor about addiction and recognizing cravings. It’s important to be firm and honest with your doctor about your addiction, and maybe even consult an addictionologist to check out other, less addictive options. It’s also imperative that people are honest with their sponsor, support group, or other trusted people in order to be held accountable, and so that people know what’s going on with them. Along with this comes a surrender of types; allowing a trusted person to monitor your medication as it is prescribed. Another very important thing to remember is that even though a lot of the advice received in 12-step support groups is intended with the best of purposes, few people are speaking from a professionally psychiatric or medical background. When all of these measures are followed, and a person feels comfortable in their honesty, thoroughness, and actions, then they have set down a plan to protect their sobriety.

Life comes on an individual basis, and sobriety isn’t any different. Many of us wind up in the rooms with dual diagnoses, or suffer an external event that leads us to question the stability of our sobriety. If we observe the cornerstones of a lifestyle based in truthfulness—honesty, willingness, and open-mindedness—we are sure to be safer in our sobriety and sanity than if we all tried to fit in one description. Some circumstances are unavoidable; some are life-long and some are temporary. We chose to be sober to live a happy, healthy life, and if part of that health requires taking medication, then we can both be sober and observe what’s best for physical and mental health.

Works Cited

Admin. Prescription Medication in Sobriety. 23 September 2011. 21 March 2013 <http://www.thehillscenter.com/blog/addiction/>.

DRA. Medications and Recovery. n.d. 21 March 2013 <http://www.draonline.org/medications.html>.

Gorski, Terence T. Prescription Drugs And Relapse. 30 May 2001. 21 March 2013 <http://www.tgorski.com_articles/>.


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Filed under: Latest News · Tags: 12-step recovery, Addiction, anesthetics, Cravings, dual diagnosis, honesty, medications, mental health, mental illness, narcotics, painkillers, prescription medication, psychiatric medication, sobriety, sponsor, suicidal ideation, suicide, support group, surgery

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