Most likely, at some point, most of us, if not all of us, are going to need a narcotic painkiller. And I don’t mean need a narcotic, like, we need to get high, I mean ACTUALLY need it. Whether we have surgery, are in an accident, or break a bone, it may be necessary at times to take painkillers while in recovery. But this is where it gets tricky, how can an addict with their thinking determine when they really NEED painkillers or if they just merely want them? How does anyone else know whether or not they NEED painkillers or just want them? And how are they supposed to keep their mind from quite possibly telling them they do need them even if they probably don’t. At what point, does taking painkillers become a problem in recovery?
The opinions on this, of course, are widespread, broad, and varying to a mass amount of degrees. Really it all depends on you and your program and your sober support.
Really what it comes down to, is the WHY you are taking them. If you are honest with yourself you know why you are taking the painkillers. But you have to make sure that you are being honest with yourself. Not only that but you have to stay transparent with the people around you. If you think there is even the slightest chance that you might not be taking the painkillers because you need them or that you might be getting pretty good at lying to yourself, you need to have people there for you that can call you out. The only way that anyone can do that though is if you are open and honest with them even when you are unsure about whether or not you are being honest with yourself.
Taking painkillers turns into a problem when you start taking the pills just because you have them. Or even when you start counting down the hours to your next one. Because then the painkillers aren’t about pain anymore, it is about taking the pills. And when it becomes about taking the pills and not about getting rid of the pain, there is an issue. Keep in check with your motives. Keep in check with your higher power. Keep in check with sober support.
If you are nearing the ending of your prescription, are you just finishing the prescription because its there or are you actually in “said” amount of pain to need it? Will Motrin get rid of your pain but because you have something stronger you are just taking the stronger stuff? These are the kinds of questions you need to be asking yourself and these are the kinds of things to remain diligent with. That is of course, after your spiritual program of action is taken care of. Prayer, meditation, talking to your sponsor, and practicing principles, as well as sponsorship if you have sponsees will be absolutely detrimental to you making it through this time. Even if you make it through without really relapsing you have opened yourself up to a higher possibility of it. So don’t get complacent.
You may want to give your pills to your sponsor so they can give them to you daily. Or maybe, have someone who counts your pills every day. It may seem like if you are working a spiritual program of action that you shouldn’t need to do this or that it isn’t that big of a deal. But it is. And more addicts and alcoholics have been through it then you probably know. More addicts and alcoholics have relapsed from this exact situation as well. So open up about it. Most of all, talk about it. Share about it. Don’t let your disease grow in your mind because it will, were addicts! And that will take you out. Sharing even the sickest thoughts and the deepest feelings about it are key.
Total honesty and willingness. Stick with your program. Do what is right. It is as easy and as hard as that. So when do painkillers become a problem in recovery? They become a problem when you allow them to. So don’t let them. Recognize the power of your disease and know that a higher power is stronger. Call your sponsor. The end.