Monday, January 10, 2011

Great fun in recovery

Yesterday a friend who came to the rooms when he was a teenager celebrated 25 years clean. I hosted his birthday party at my house and we had a blast. I cooked a main dish and a few side dishes and others brought things. For hours, we reminisced, roasted my friend, Chris, and talked program. It made me very grateful for the rooms of NA in Phoenix, where I got clean and live today.

I have had some health issues the past month, a tooth problem with subsequent infection that kicked my butt, and now a cold. It is critical that I remember when I am sick, any medication I take can impact how I feel not just physicially, but mentally.

When my tooth became badly infected (can you spell "procrastination?), the doctor prescribed pain pills. If I have to take pain medication in recovery, I make sure a trusted friend in the Fellowship is aware of what I'm taking and I'm accountable to that person. In this case, after a few days while I waited for my appointment, I became very depressed, feeling almost suicidal. One night I was lying in bed feeeling overwhelmed and it suddenly hit me: "Oh, pain medication. Depressant! Duh!"

I have been through major illness in my recovery, including a liver transplant five years ago. I understand how much pain we can withstand without pain medication, because once they stopped my morphine a few days post ICU, they never prescribed anything stronger for pain than a huge aspirin thingie, which gave me a huge resentment. The pain was intense. But guess what? I did not get loaded.

Over the years, I have seen many of my fellow Program members relapse, and some die, on pain medication. We must be ever vigilant if we must take pain meds. However, we do not have to suffer because we are addicts.

Additionally, just because you tell your doc or dentist you are an "addict," YOU must take responsibility for the pain meds you accept from prescribers and those you take once you fill the script. The initials "MD" or "DDS" after a name imply little training on addiction. So buddies, it is up to us to remain vigilant against relapse.

I shall exit my soapbox and tell you I am glad to be back openly blogging. The professional issues I had earlier forced me to close my blog, and it is now back and steaming along. I may not post too frequently since I am very busy living a full and rewarding life.

If no one told you today they love you, I do.

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