Many of our addictions consisted of, or began with, prescription medication abuse. Many people in recovery fear that taking doctor-prescribed medications may be putting their sobriety at risk. There is no simple answer as to whether a person in recovery should or should not take medications prescribed by a doctor. The decision depends on the medication being prescribed, the motivation behind taking the medication, and the possibility of alternative treatments that do not require any mind or mood-altering substance. If we find that there is no non-medication based alternative treatment and are completely honest with our physician about our status as individuals recovering from drugs and alcohol, we can take certain steps to discourage the potential for abuse of these medications. We may find it helpful to speak with our sponsor or friends in recovery to get an unbiased look at where we are in our path toward recovery. If we feel that we may not be strong enough in our sobriety to responsibly take the medication we are being prescribed, we may ask our sponsor or a trusted friend to accompany us to our physician appointment and develop a plan to limit our access to the medication. Narcotics Anonymous, a 12-Step Fellowship dedicated to helping men and women addicted to drugs achieve sobriety, urges us to consider asking for a limited supply of medication, talk to our sponsor before filling the prescription, and openly discuss the situation with friends in the program so they may help us make decisions based in the principles of recovery. They stress that taking a medication as prescribed to treat an illness is not the same as using. Alcoholics Anonymous recognizes the danger of potential prescription medication abuse. In their pamphlet, “The A.A. Member—Medications and Other Drugs”, we are told that “experience suggests that while some prescribed medications may be safe for most non-alcoholics when taken according to a doctor’s instructions, it is possible that they may affect the alcoholic in a different way. It is often true that these substances create dependence as devastating as dependence on alcohol. It is well known that many sedatives have an action in the body similar to the action of alcohol. When these drugs are used without medical supervision, dependence can readily develop.” We must remember that taking medication responsible and as prescribed does not mean we have relapsed. However, these medications may affect us in ways that cause cravings for drugs and alcohol. We need open and honest about our situation with our doctor and our recovery support network, and may find it helpful to take this time to focus more on our recovery program to diminish the possibility of relapse.
You can make the choice to change the story of your life. Oceanfront Recovery is a treatment center with a professional and compassionate staff of detoxification specialists dedicated to making the process as comfortable as possible. For more information about Drug and Alcohol Detox Programs or other treatment options, please call: (877) 279-1777