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Our bodies are far from perfect. Everyone gets sick on occasion and this is going to occur during recovery as well. The worst part is if we get sick in recovery the stakes can be much higher. Consider the following scenario. A former pill addict who has three months clean is out walking on an icy day and slips, breaking an ankle. This type of break is very painful. The emergency room doctor prescribes a limited amount of pain pills and casts the ankle. The addict has not used in a few months but having a bottle of pills that are prescribed is a true temptation. What should happen?
Being in recovery means a continuous journey of learning to live a sober life. One big challenge in recovery is dealing with pain and illness. When hurting or not feeling well it is tempting to do whatever is present to relieve the pain. But you cannot fall back on old habits. This means you have to be careful when treating even small ailments as many OTC medications contain alcohol or other ingredients that can set off cravings. Look for non-chemical forms of relief such as heating pads or hot baths. It is much easier to pop a cold pill, take some medication that has a small amount of alcohol, or take a pill that will allow you to sleep through a stuffy nose. But these small decisions can lead you down a very dangerous path that can lead to relapse.
This is not to say you should never again take a prescribed antibiotic to fight an infection. But it may mean you need to have someone hold you accountable or hold onto any medication until the prescribed time to take it. However, the use of anything addictive such as pain pills should be avoided if at all possible or in the least, closely monitored. If pain is chronic and you are prescribed narcotics either find alternatives or stay close to support system people so you use only what is prescribed and needed.
If you do get sick try these at home, safe remedies to help yourself feel better. Remember, cold medicine or pills or any kind are not always necessary. Especially if they tempt the user into a setback in recovery. Drink healthy liquids like water, juice, and herbal teas. Also rest as much as your schedule allows. When ill keep in touch with supportive friends or a sponsor if you have one. Remember illness is temporary and will end at some point. Alternative treatments such as yoga, meditation, and healthy eating will also go a long way both toward treatment of pain and illness and staying healthy overall.
The first step is making a plan before you get sick or hurt. Know what you will do if you get a simple cold or if you are in serious accident and need to take pain medication. Even if your addiction was not to drugs or pills. Have a plan because addictive personalities can quickly bring about a new addiction if the opportunity arises. Especially when stressed out. Most of all remember life happens and you can make it if you stay strong.
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