The other day I wrote about my experiences with prescription pain meds following surgery and I have been inundated with comments and emails since. You can read the post here and please be sure to read the comments because there’s some important information added by readers.
So many readers indicated they planned to save the list of recommendations that I’ve put them into this graphic that can be saved or printed:
After absorbing all the feedback, it hits home that we really can’t expect anyone else to care about our recovery more than we do. Even the most well-meaning health as professional can be wrong, misinformed, or blasé about the risks of prescription pain medications.
Many of us who have struggled with alcohol have codependent tendencies, meaning we are inclined to care a little too much what other people think of us. We tend to be people pleasers and we want to be liked, especially by those in positions of authority. It can, therefore, be very uncomfortable for us to challenge or question a doctor who might be more concerned with solving the immediate problem of pain relief rather than the unseen (and often self-diagnosed) matter of ongoing sobriety.
We don’t have to treat these encounters as confrontation, but we do need to stand firm. “I am really enjoying sober life and I want to do everything I can to protect it” is a powerful yet positive stance. If you’re worried you won’t have the courage to speak up when required, practice saying that sentence in the mirror a few times a day. This will increase the likelihood that the words will come more easily in an unexpected situation (I’ve also practiced ordering soda and juice, or saying no thank you to offers of alcohol, which came in handy on many occasions!)
Finally, one more suggestion. Bringing a “wing man” to the doctor can be helpful, someone who might assume the role of “chief question asker” and who will reiterate your position if necessary. It’s important to keep a respectful tone and to value a doctor’s experience and expertise, but us “pleaser” types occasionally need some extra help to be heard.
My most sincere hope is that each of you enjoys such good health that you never find yourself in a position of pain management, but since life is unpredictable we must be prepared for anything. Take care, friends.