Reading time: 3 min

Those who are actively working a program of recovery are aware of how easily relapse can crop up. After all, we do what we do each day in order to mitigate the risk of returning to drugs and alcohol. It’s no easy task, but we trudge forward, with resolve to do what we can to avoid it. Hopefully, at all costs. If you are working a program, you learned early on that your recovery must be protected. And that fortification against the snare and pitfalls of addiction comes via continued spiritual maintenance.

Individuals who have been going to meetings for some time, have seen other members fall off the path. The reasons this occurs are many, sometimes it can seem like a relapse came out of nowhere. But, upon closer investigation the roots of relapse begin to show themselves clearly. A failure to put one’s program above all else. Slacking on meetings and service work. Becoming complacent about the strength of your sobriety, just to name a few. However, there are a number of other ways relapse can rise to the surface from below. Reasons why one might put themselves at risk of sliding backwards.

Recovery requires both sound mind and body. Taking care of yourself physically is as important as spiritual wellness. When we don’t prioritize healthy living, we are at risk of suffering ailment and injury. Precipitating pain, pangs which require relief. And, in many cases, Tylenol will not have the desired effect. So, one seeks the assistance of a doctor. A person who may help one’s pain, but derail one’s recovery.


Doctors: A Blessing and Curse

Anyone whose journey of recovery began with detox and treatment understands the important role physicians play. Without medical supervision and access to certain drugs, one’s early recovery would be not only painful — it could be deadly. The part doctors play in early recovery should not be minimized. Yet, later on down the road of recovery, physicians can prove to be a hindrance to one’s program, especially if an injury occurs.

Whether you are in the program or not, you know how willy-nilly prescription opioids have been, and continue to be, prescribed in the U.S. You know they are both addictive and potentially deadly to anyone prescribed them. But, people who are in pain need relief and opioids work quite well. Even when alternative methods of pain management are available (perhaps even more effective) doctors will resort to opioids.

In recovery, it’s no secret that taking any mind-altering substance, even those prescribed is a great risk. Even when they are taken as prescribed, such drugs can chip away at the foundation of your program. In turn, making it unstable and at risk of total collapse. Many a relapse has begun with taking a narcotic, as prescribed, in recovery. Which is why it is absolutely crucial that people in recovery explain to their treating physician what’s at stake. One needs to express the importance of exhausting every option for pain relief before resorting to opioids.

Such an approach, should be considered the only approach. Remember, your recovery must always come first even at the expense of comfort. Being comfortable in recovery won’t matter much if you lose your recovery to achieve such relief. It is also worth noting that many forms of pain can be addressed better by avoiding opioids, such as nerve pain (neuropathy). Consider physical therapy and massage techniques.


Maintaining Recovery

It is important to remember that whatever decision you come to with your doctor, it is possible to keep your program intact after being prescribed an opioid. As long as you communicate with your sponsor and have a way to ensure that you do not take more than is required, longer than needed. One must double their efforts in recovery to keep one’s addiction from retaking control of your life. Taking a prescription narcotic merely opens the door, your program will prevent the disease from inviting itself back in.

If you are one of the many people who relapsed on prescription painkillers, it is possible to take back your life. Please contact Hope by The Sea to begin the process of recommitting yourself to the program.