Safe Drug Use During Recovery

Someone who is recovering from a drug or alcohol addiction must learn to be very diligent in order to stay sober. There will always be the temptation to go back to their substance, especially when triggered by people, things, or events that initially led them to substance abuse. Even things as simple as taking over-the-country medications could end a person’s hard earned sobriety.

Complete Abstinence

Alcoholics Anonymous and other organizations are strong advocates for complete sobriety. They clearly state that a recovering alcoholic must abstain from all alcohol for the rest of their life in order to really remain sober. For many people this is true – whether it was drugs or alcohol that they were addicted to, going back even for one drink or one hit can send the person into a complete relapse. These substances that are so addicting to the body can take hold so quickly to the person that once depended on them.

In order to avoid a sudden relapse, most recovering addicts are encouraged to completely abstain from their substance and others that may be similar to it. For some substances, particularly alcohol, this can be a bit of a challenge. Many people who have worked so hard at recovery are willing to say no to alcohol in a social setting, and they can successfully work through the urges to drink, even when under stress. But sometimes a person won’t be aware of alcohol in a product, like over-the-counter meds, and it is important for a person in recovery to find these things out.

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Be Aware of Ingredients

It is recommended that anyone recovering from a drug or alcohol addiction do their research or consult a doctor or treatment provider before taking anything. OTC topical creams are generally safe, as well as vitamins and OTC pain relievers. Other drugs, even those sold over the counter pose more of a threat. Mouth washes contain alcohol and are often abused. Cold and allergy medications, Benadryl, and sleep aids should be avoided or used with caution under the direction of a doctor. Whenever possible, a patient should find a product that is alcohol-free.

Be Honest with Doctors

Sometimes, however, someone in recovery will need more medical attention for an illness or injury, and may require narcotic pain meds or other prescriptions that may cause a problem. In these cases, the health and comfort of the patient are important, and caution should be used in these situations. A recovering drug addict or alcoholic should be open and up front with all their doctors, so that they can prescribe the medication that is appropriate for the situation.

Many people who have recovered from drug or alcohol addiction just want to put the past behind them, and they may tire of always having to tell people about their addiction. In the case of someone’s health, however, it is important for a person to be honest about their addiction, in order to avoid simple mistakes that could cause a relapse.

Sources

Safe Drug Use for the Recovering Addict or Alcoholic

NIDA InfoFacts: Prescription and Over-the-Counter Medications

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