Stories of What Works In Recovery

eckoOver my time in recovery, most of what I learned in support groups has worked but some advice turned out not to hold much water:

  • Story 1 – If I don’t go to AA meetings/have a sponsor/read the Big Book, I will get drunk.  Fact is I have gone for years without attending an AA meeting, haven’t had a formal sponsor in at least 20 years, and don’t read the Big Book that much. But . . . I do acknowledge every day that I am a recovering addict, I do relate and engage with other addicts on a regular basis, and I regularly read  about and study living into the solution.
  • Story 2 – If I do go into a bar, keep alcohol in the house, go to slippery places, I will get drunk.  Fact is, I go to a bar if I have reason to, we keep alcohol in the house for company, and what has been a slippery place in the past (Mardis Gras for example) in sobriety is a sober party.  But . . . I don’t go to bars to hang out, I have poured alcohol down the sink when it sat in the house for too long and started talking to me, and slippery places today are boring, obnoxious and loud.
  • Story 3 – As a recovering addict I should not take any mood altering drug under any circumstance as it would trigger the old addictive cravings.  I had some out-patient surgery about five years ago and was given some narcotics for pain after, just in case.  After laying in bed that night and not being able to get in any position where the pain was not excruciating, I took one of the pills, got through the night, in the morning went back to Motrin, and dumped the rest of the narcotics down the toilet.
  • Story 4 – just happened yesterday.  In January I had some oral surgery and opted not to given a general anesthesia because I did not want the drunken stupor effect.  I went with a local while the doctor hammered and drilled on my jaw.  It was not fun.  Though the after effects were not that bad, I got by with Motrin alone.  I had a repeat surgery yesterday.  The surgeon said it was going to be worse this time and he strongly advised me to go with the general anesthesia.  He noted too that with a general, the pain after would not be as bad – for reasons I am not certain.  He asked “So what are your concerns about this?”  I replied that I just did not want to have that feeling of euphoria while going under or waking up.  He noted that could be taken care of by the type of drugs administered.  It worked.  The last thing I remember was the anesthesiologist saying, now you might feel some burning on the iv . . . and me waking up 4 hours later and asking where am I.  A bit shaky, but after a two-hour drive we arrived home, and now 24 hours later, I am taking the prescribed antibiotic and Motrin, but have not touched the oxycodone prescription that got filled “just in case.”

Here is my takeaway on all of this – if I am living in recovery, that which would have led to a binge in the past is not a problem today.  I have posted before on my active addiction and recovery life in New Orleans, my favorite city on earth.  Forty years ago I experienced the worst of my worst blackout drinking and suicidal behaviors in the City That Care Forgot.  Today, I walk the same streets alive and with meaning, living into the solution.

But I know, too, that I am one drink and one drug from being back in the active addiction.  When my wife came home yesterday with the prescriptions for the antibiotic, motrin, and narcotic, she said “I only got half the prescription on the narcotic filled.  Even if you are in pain, that is some strong stuff and you are just going to flush it down the toilet anyway.”  And so here I am 24-hours later without any pain, and I thought about the time some 40 years ago when I had strep throat and was prescribed a narcotic for that pain.  I didn’t take the narcotic while I was sick then because I did not want to waste it while I felt bad.  I was going to save it for when I felt good.  That thought crossed my mind last night with my just prescribed narcotic.

I am pleased that the blessings of recovery that I have experienced over the past decades have insured that I will flush these pills as I have done in the past.  Today, being anesthetized is not my normative existence as it had been in the past.  It is now reserved for things like surgery.  Today the blessings of life are so abundant that I do not want to miss any in a drugged out state.  That is my story today.

3 thoughts on “Stories of What Works In Recovery

  1. Good to hear that you ‘debunk’ some of the scary stories. Although I can imagine that this is different for everybody I am happy to read that there is some ‘breathing space’ somewhere. :-). I would not keep alcohol in the house because I can not currently. I do not think I would drink but I do think it would destract myself and after a while indeed ‘start talking to me’. My door is closed at ‘buying’, ‘drinking’ and ‘eating’. If I would change one of these resolutions I am afraid the other ones would go down the drain aswell. I am 14 months sober, maybe there is a difference aswell ;-). Also, I feel I would be pouring my guests poison and hahah, I don’t like being around intoxicated people anymore. I still need to find flexibility there. 🙂 That would be step number x. 🙂

    What I am surprised about in your story is first that you get these heavy treatments for this surgery. In the Netherlands you only get full anesthasia on special, special, very special request for those operations. That would be excessive, excessive fear. And you get send home with a box of Paracetamol or even upfront get the tip to bring your own when coming to the hospital. Mind you, our health cost are a fraction of those in the USA.

    Good that the doctor actually checked why you did not like the eurforic type of anesthasia though. That must have given a lot of relieve. 🙂

    xx, Feeling

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