Sobriety and pain meds: At odds with my sponsor, help

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ezdzit247
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Re: Sobriety and pain meds: At odds with my sponsor, help

Post by ezdzit247 »

Brock wrote:Thanks for coming back with more information mini, your questions raise a couple more issues, it is a pleasure to attempt to answer from my own experience and perspective, your posts have been educational and helped me and I expect others since we were able to discuss the sponsorship responsibilities.

1) The misuse of the prescription and the question of taking chips I don’t think I can change my mind, you took the chips because you didn’t consider it a slip at the time, I don’t see why you would change your mind. For me the main thing is how I feel not what others say or feel, perhaps if under the influence of the drugs you did things which made it clear you were intoxicated, the sort of things drunk people do, I might consider saying it’s a slip. I don’t want to be rude or suggest you stop taking advice but I believe this is a decision for you only, if you are a believer then maybe you and God, and then say it’s over tell others matter closed no more discussion. I am a bit of a “wicked” fellow sometimes, but if I were in your shoes and somebody told me the drugs constituted a slip, I would ask to be shown where they saw that in the literature, and maybe ask whether our joint founder Bill Wilson changed his date after his experiments with LSD, which of course he didn’t.

2) On this forum we have discussed NA a few times, mainly with reference to dually addicted persons who attend both fellowships. In the first post you mentioned turning your back on the drugs was a cakewalk compared to booze, I had the same experience with cocaine. For many years I drank and smoked coke but that coke habit was very expensive, like you I was able to walk away so much easier from that compared to alcohol. For me this said booze is my problem not drugs and I have no interest in attending NA, if I did go and it made me feel as uncomfortable as it made you; which I suspect it probably would, then that would be the deciding factor, and once again I would endeavor to put it behind me, no more discussion.

3) Of course when a sponsor is also a best friend it’s not going to be easy, perhaps you would consider just showing him the part of the AA leaflet which mentions we take doctor’s advice only, explain that you wish to go “by the book.” If you decide to drop the idea of NA and put this issue of were the drugs a slip or not behind you, and you tell him that, I think any sponsor worth his salt would respect your decision and not bring it up again.

4) Our current forums coordinator Paige mentions a good point from time to time, which is that getting advice from many people can confuse things. This discussion of scheduling your medical work to avoid having two sets of medication makes good sense, the only part I would try to change if I were in your shoes is to not over think the “trigger” part. My mind can play tricks, if I think something bad is going to happen it usually does, so if I expect the drugs to trigger bad feelings they probably will.

5) You say your path now if you “go by the book,” remember no books of the program say go to NA or cancel doctors of any kind, and we all agreed the sponsors idea of no medication was nonsense, (also by the book). You said one thing in this section which to my mind stood out like a beacon shining the path of hope to your future which was – “I did not slip on alcohol and am still 14+ years sober from liquor.” You highlighted and put this in italics well done.

Thanks for giving this retired “oldish” fellow something to write about sorry I went on so long, but in closing I keep thinking of the last words one of our cofounders said to the other –“remember Bill let’s not mess this thing up – keep it simple.” I can’t help but feel that you would be better off with less involvement and advice from well meaning spouse family etc. and try to keep it simple. If you think you did not slip end of story, same with NA, these are in the past tell others the discussion on those matters is over, to my mind that’s part of keeping it simple, you have over 14 years and once you and your God are on good speaking terms forward you go and best of luck.
Great post. I agree on all points, especially keeping it simple....
“To laugh often and much; to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children...to leave the world a better place...to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded.” -- Ralph Waldo Emerson

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tyg
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Re: Sobriety and pain meds: At odds with my sponsor, help

Post by tyg »

What does a “sobriety date” have to do with anything? More importantly, how is the use of a medication, alcohol, or any intoxicating substance affecting our life, well-being and others? Is it causing unmanageably? If so, what can/am I going to do about that meanwhile finding how to manage health problem pain?

AA gives us lots of tools that work: using tons of prayer & meditation, the 12 Steps, especially 4 thru 12, and talking honestly with Doctors (even homeopathic/alternative medicine), Counselors, Therapist, clergy, friends, and other recovered alcoholics. But, the ultimate choice has to come from within you.

For people who cannot take medications as prescribed, there are other options:
Like don’t keep medications in the house for awhile. Have friends, a caregiver, or family members available to store your medications for you. When needed, you can go to “their” location (home, work etc.) and get your medication.

I have had a couple people use me for this method. Others I know have hired a service to administer medications. It seems a bit extreme and very inconvenient but they were willing to go to any lengths for their sobriety; i was happy to help. It worked for them. With many 24 hour pharmacy’s maybe arrangements could be made to call in a prescription for pick-up only when it is needed?

There was a time in my sobriety I could not have alcohol, pain medications in my home. But Alcoholics Anonymous tells me that I am spiritually sick in those instances. Becoming spiritually sick again happens to the best of us. We don’t have to battle this alone...and shouldn't because it is too much without help.

Pg 84 last paragraph
And we have ceased fighting anything or anyone - even alcohol. For by this time sanity will have returned. We will seldom be interested in liquor. If tempted, we recoil from it as from a hot flame. We react sanely and normally, and we will find that this has happened automatically. Read more: bb/Page_84 (link removed per Forum policy)

Pg 100 last paragraph
Assuming we are spiritually fit, we can do all sorts of things alcoholics are not supposed to do. People have said we must not go where liquor is served; we must not have it in our homes; we must shun friends who drink; we must avoid moving pictures which show drinking scenes; we must not go into bars; our friends must hide their bottles if we go to their houses; we mustn't think or be reminded about alcohol at all. Our experience shows that this is not necessarily so.
Read more:bb/Page_100 (link removed per Forum policy)
~The secret to the AA program is the first three words on page 112~

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Re: Sobriety and pain meds: At odds with my sponsor, help

Post by ezdzit247 »

tyg wrote:What does a “sobriety date” have to do with anything?....
Other than keeping track of the date when each of us experienced the awesome miracle of finally being able put the plug in jug?
“To laugh often and much; to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children...to leave the world a better place...to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded.” -- Ralph Waldo Emerson

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Re: Sobriety and pain meds: At odds with my sponsor, help

Post by tyg »

A person either has sobriety or they do not...there is no in between.
If misusing pain medications, gambling, sex, anger, alcohol, shopping etc. This person has become sick and does not have sobriety no matter what fellowship we are in.
It would be best not to be overly concerned with a "Sobriety date" because to me, continuous, permanent, Quality Sobriety is more important than the date it began.
~The secret to the AA program is the first three words on page 112~

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Re: Sobriety and pain meds: At odds with my sponsor, help

Post by Reborn »

tyg wrote:A person either has sobriety or they do not...there is no in between.
If misusing pain medications, gambling, sex, anger, alcohol, shopping etc. This person has become sick and does not have sobriety no matter what fellowship we are in.
It would be best not to be overly concerned with a "Sobriety date" because to me, continuous, permanent, Quality Sobriety is more important than the date it began.
Well said...I couldn't agree more. A sobriety date is all about being honest, truly honest with ourselves and a higher power of our understanding. New in recovery I had to take medications that could've been abused. I handed them over to someone I could trust and was honest about it. When I needed the medication I went to him and he would give them out to me. He acted as a buffer because at that point in my sobriety I couldn't trust myself and I knew it. For me it was about being honest from the very start and trying to do the next right thing.

When I try to explain, justify or defend my behavior I'm not doing the right thing. You'll never have to justify, explain or defend what is right.
We have recovered, and have been given the power to help others. BB pg 132

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Re: Sobriety and pain meds: At odds with my sponsor, help

Post by Hopefull »

Reborn wrote:
tyg wrote:A person either has sobriety or they do not...there is no in between.
If misusing pain medications, gambling, sex, anger, alcohol, shopping etc. This person has become sick and does not have sobriety no matter what fellowship we are in.
It would be best not to be overly concerned with a "Sobriety date" because to me, continuous, permanent, Quality Sobriety is more important than the date it began.
Well said...I couldn't agree more. A sobriety date is all about being honest, truly honest with ourselves and a higher power of our understanding. New in recovery I had to take medications that could've been abused. I handed them over to someone I could trust and was honest about it. When I needed the medication I went to him and he would give them out to me. He acted as a buffer because at that point in my sobriety I couldn't trust myself and I knew it. For me it was about being honest from the very start and trying to do the next right thing.

When I try to explain, justify or defend my behavior I'm not doing the right thing. You'll never have to justify, explain or defend what is right.
I love that.

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Re: Sobriety and pain meds: At odds with my sponsor, help

Post by ezdzit247 »

tyg wrote:A person either has sobriety or they do not...there is no in between.
If misusing pain medications, gambling, sex, anger, alcohol, shopping etc. This person has become sick and does not have sobriety no matter what fellowship we are in.
It would be best not to be overly concerned with a "Sobriety date" because to me, continuous, permanent, Quality Sobriety is more important than the date it began.
Interesting....

I checked the online BB and couldn't find any references at all to such issues such as medications, gambling, or shopping :?: . Couple of really good references to anger, i.e. a "poison" or the "dubious luxury of normal men", and, of course, lots and lots of references about alcohol and abstinence from alcohol. I liked this BB reference regarding sex:
"Now about sex. Many of needed an overhauling there. But above all, we tried to be sensible on this question. It's so easy to get way off the track. Here we find human opinions running to extremes -- absurd extremes, perhaps. One set of voices cry that sex is a lust of our lower nature, a base necessity of procreation.

Then we have the voices who cry for sex and more sex; who bewail the institution of marriage; who think that most of the troubles of the race are traceable to sex causes. They think we do not have enough of it, or that it isn't the right kind. They see its significance everywhere. One school would allow man no flavor for his fare and the other would have us all on a straight pepper diet. We want to stay out of this controversy. We do not want to be the arbiter of anyone's sex conduct. We all have sex problems. We'd hardly be human if we didn't. What can we do about them?....

...God alone can judge our sex situation. Counsel with persons is often desirable, but we let God be the final judge. We realize that some people are as fanatical about sex as others are loose. We avoid hysterical thinking or advice...."
And this one:
"...But we aren't a glum lot. If newcomers could see no joy or fun in our existence, they wouldn't want it. We absolutely insist on enjoying life. We try not to indulge in cynicism over the state of the nations, nor do we carry the world's troubles on our shoulders. When we see a man sinking into the mire that is alcoholism, we give him first aid and place what we have at his disposal. For his sake, we do recount and almost relive the horrors of our past. But those of us who have tried to shoulder the entire burden and trouble of others find we are soon overcome by them...."
Couldn't find any reference at all for the term "Quality Sobriety" in the BB. :?:

I'm very comfortable with abstaining from being the arbiter of anyone's conduct regarding the issues you mentioned and continuing to let God alone be the judge of everyone including my fellow alcoholics.
“To laugh often and much; to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children...to leave the world a better place...to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded.” -- Ralph Waldo Emerson

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Re: Sobriety and pain meds: At odds with my sponsor, help

Post by Tuff Gong »

Quality Sobriety - read Language of the Heart regarding emotional sobriety. Language of the Heart and 12x12 discusses what one may call "quality sobriety". Excellent commentary.

Drugs in sobriety. Made very, very clear by my sponsor and its how I practice (me and my sponsees)

Rules:

1) prescribing doc knows that I am an alcoholic

2) sponsor knows what has been prescribed.

3) any variation from what is prescribed = slip. He and I keep tabs on my prescription use while I am taking anything

My sponsor: "what part of Dr Bobs story are people missing? The guy was a drug addict as well and sobriety = stop everything". As he says "marijuana or drug abuse - you ain't sober"
I have no issues with God. It's His judgemental fanclub that bothers me.

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Re: Sobriety and pain meds: At odds with my sponsor, help

Post by ezdzit247 »

Here's what Bill W. had to say about "Problems Other Than Alcoholism":
"....One of the best AAs I know is a man who had been seven years on the needle before he joined up with us. But prior to that, he had been a terrific alcoholic and his history proved it. Therefore he could qualify for AA and this he certainly did. Since then, he has helped many AAs and some non-AAs with their pill and drug troubles. Of course, that is strictly his affair and is no way the business of the AA group to which he belongs. In his group he is a member because, in actual fact, he is an alcoholic...."
My understanding of what Bill is saying here is that if you, your sponsor, or anybody else in AA, including other e-AA posters, chooses to define sobriety as anything other than abstinence from alcohol, that is strictly your affair and is no way the business of the AA group to which you, your sponsor, or any other AA member belongs.

Early on in my sobriety I asked an AA oldtimer friend what the difference was between "good" sobriety and "bad" sobriety. I really wanted to know his opinion because I was hearing those terms tossed around in meetings lately by members with far less sobriety than he had (30 years) and what I was hearing in meetings was kind of confusing to me. He smiled and said: "Sobriety is a lot like sex. Some lays are better than others, but there's really no such thing as a bad lay." It's been 37 years since he shared that analogy and I still marvel at his wisdom on the subject.

Keep coming back....
“To laugh often and much; to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children...to leave the world a better place...to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded.” -- Ralph Waldo Emerson

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Re: Sobriety and pain meds: At odds with my sponsor, help

Post by tyg »

Quality sobriety...Great topic!

I have found that.... Anyone who carefully follows directions and applies the 12 steps and live spiritually can have all the things they talk about in Alcoholics Anonymous. Sometimes quickly, sometimes slowly, but they always materialize if we work for them. We do get quality sobriety, a life of quality, contentment and usefulness. If we do not have these things or at least beginning to experience these, it's important to reevaluate our program and find what we are leaving out.

• God enables us (me) to match calamity with serenity. Pg. 68
• The spiritual malady is overcome, we straighten out mentally and physically Pg 64
• No longer “Being restless, irritable, and discontented page xxvi”
• We have ceased fighting anything or anyone- even alcohol pg 84
• We will seldom be interested in liquor. If tempted, we recoil from it as from a hot flame pg 84
• We will see that our new attitude toward liquor has been given us without any though or effort on our part. It just comes! We are not fighting it, neither are we avoiding temptation pg 85
• Showing, “Tolerance, patience and good will toward ALL men, even our enemies pg 70”
• Living opposite of these things: ”Having trouble with personal relationships, we couldn’t control our emotional natures, we were a prey to (or suffering from) misery and depression, we couldn’t make a living (or a happy & successful life), we had a feeling of uselessness, we were full of fear, we were unhappy, we couldn’t seem to be of real help to others. Pg. 52”
• No longer, “Being like the actor who wants to run the whole show” pg 60
• No longer, “Driven by a hundred forms of fear, self-delusion, self-seeking, and self-pity” pg 62
• No more, “Self-will run riot” pg 62
• No more, “Leading a double life” pg 73
• No more, “Selfish and inconsiderate habits have kept the home in turmoil (or life discontent)” pg 82
• I found, “the discovery that spiritual principles would Solve ALL my problems” pg 42
• No longer does, “the world and its people really dominated us (me).” Pg 66
• I have been reborn because, “Ideas, emotions, and attitudes which were once the guiding forces of the lives of these men(me) are suddenly cast to one side, and a completely new set of conceptions and motives begin to dominate them(me)” pg 27
• Again I’m reborn, “There has been a revolutionary change in their (my) way of living and thinking” pg 50
• They(I) found that a new power, peace, happiness, and sense of direction flowed into them(me). Pg 50
• No longer am I, “like a tornado roaring his way through the lives of others.” Pg 82
• Barriers which have sprung up between you(me) and your(my) friends (other people too) will disappear with the growth of sympathetic understanding pg 115
• We were reborn pg 63
• The 12 Steps allows me to continuously “sweep away prejudice, enables you(me) to think honestly, encourages you(me) to search diligently within yourself” pg 55
• We will not regret the past or wish to shut the door on it. pg 83 “Everything in my life is an open book now, I don’t regret the past”
• Each day brings new freedom and a new happiness, despite any life chaos happening. Pg 83
• That feeling of uselessness and self-pity will disappear. Pg 83
• We will lose interested in selfish things, gain interest in our fellows. Pg 83
• Self-seeking will slip away. Pg 83
• Fear of people and of economic insecurity will leave us pg 83
• We intuitively know how to handle situations, which used to baffle us. Pg 83
• Realize that God is doing for us what we could not do for ourselves pg 83
• Our experience can benefit others pg 83
• Love and Tolerance is our code
• I'm no longer, "Incapable of grasping and developing a manner of living that demands rigorous honesty" pg 57


I love to read Alcoholics Anonymous because it helps me see whether I am growing (have quality) or have become stagnant (just sober w/misery or discontent) on this exciting journey.
~The secret to the AA program is the first three words on page 112~

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Re: Sobriety and pain meds: At odds with my sponsor, help

Post by tyg »

I have watched so many people (including me) ruin their lives and harm others by misusing sex, gambling, prescriptions, anger, food, shopping, depression (the spiritual kind NOT clinical), etc. Many more can be added to the list.

Thank you Alcoholics Anonymous for a 12 Step program that is used to help others afflicted with all sorts of addictions. Google it, there is a 12 Step program for almost anything; and, their foundation came from the Alcoholics Anonymous 12 Steps.

Rarely have we seen a person fail who has thoroughly followed our path! When we carefully follow these 12 Steps directions, we can recover from any addiction. I am living proof of this! I have watch many others do it too. Does that mean we don’t need outside help too? Of course not! This spiritual program has taught me to take responsibility for my life, take care of my health and seek outside help were needed.

For me, without Alcoholics Anonymous, I was incapable of saving or changing my life to this “quality” of living (sobriety) beyond what I could have ever have dreamed or accomplished. I found a God (higher consciousness deep down within) by using the 12 Steps. This spiritual process solves ALL my problems and “enables me to match calamity with serenity. Pg. 68” no matter what.

For me I stopped going to other 12 Step programs for extra help. It got to be too much trying to work more than one program. But I do seek outside help in all other areas that are in need.
~The secret to the AA program is the first three words on page 112~

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Re: Sobriety and pain meds: At odds with my sponsor, help

Post by robert »

I must agree with other posters in as far as we cant advise anybody on prescription drugs!!
That being siad i would think your sponser has your best interest at heart although maybe somewhat misguided.
i personally feel this is is a very dangerous area, there are no answers to this!! A doctor who is aware of your addictive behaviour may be better placed to help.
but the fact remains that we are addicts/alcoholics and medication is a fine line area,
i feel you and your doctor are the only ones who can work out safe levels of medication for effective relief for your condition without it becoming a problem.
i feel this is one of those things where you have to moniter your thinking just as best you can!.
Although i wouldnt rule out at least discussing alternate therapies with your doc.
best wishes, robert.

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Re: Sobriety and pain meds: At odds with my sponsor, help

Post by robert »

ezdzit247 wrote:
tyg wrote:A person either has sobriety or they do not...there is no in between.
If misusing pain medications, gambling, sex, anger, alcohol, shopping etc. This person has become sick and does not have sobriety no matter what fellowship we are in.
It would be best not to be overly concerned with a "Sobriety date" because to me, continuous, permanent, Quality Sobriety is more important than the date it began.
Interesting....

I checked the online BB and couldn't find any references at all to such issues such as medications, gambling, or shopping :?: . Couple of really good references to anger, i.e. a "poison" or the "dubious luxury of normal men", and, of course, lots and lots of references about alcohol and abstinence from alcohol. I liked this BB reference regarding sex:
"Now about sex. Many of needed an overhauling there. But above all, we tried to be sensible on this question. It's so easy to get way off the track. Here we find human opinions running to extremes -- absurd extremes, perhaps. One set of voices cry that sex is a lust of our lower nature, a base necessity of procreation.

Then we have the voices who cry for sex and more sex; who bewail the institution of marriage; who think that most of the troubles of the race are traceable to sex causes. They think we do not have enough of it, or that it isn't the right kind. They see its significance everywhere. One school would allow man no flavor for his fare and the other would have us all on a straight pepper diet. We want to stay out of this controversy. We do not want to be the arbiter of anyone's sex conduct. We all have sex problems. We'd hardly be human if we didn't. What can we do about them?....

...God alone can judge our sex situation. Counsel with persons is often desirable, but we let God be the final judge. We realize that some people are as fanatical about sex as others are loose. We avoid hysterical thinking or advice...."
And this one:
"...But we aren't a glum lot. If newcomers could see no joy or fun in our existence, they wouldn't want it. We absolutely insist on enjoying life. We try not to indulge in cynicism over the state of the nations, nor do we carry the world's troubles on our shoulders. When we see a man sinking into the mire that is alcoholism, we give him first aid and place what we have at his disposal. For his sake, we do recount and almost relive the horrors of our past. But those of us who have tried to shoulder the entire burden and trouble of others find we are soon overcome by them...."
Couldn't find any reference at all for the term "Quality Sobriety" in the BB. :?:

I'm very comfortable with abstaining from being the arbiter of anyone's conduct regarding the issues you mentioned and continuing to let God alone be the judge of everyone including my fellow alcoholics.
This is interesting!, when excactly does "quality sobriety begin?
Some of these things plauged me in recovery but where part of my recovery!
I didnt just come through the doors and feel wonderfull!, i personally had a whole lot of mess to sort through and mistakes to make!.
Although i do like the quality not time idea.
I was as honest as i could be, going to many meetings, sharing the best i could, doing everything suggested but was still in a mess mentally and emotionally for a long time and would defenately say not at peace within myself!.
Does this effort and willingness and weekness and pain equal qaulity sobriety??
Eventually sorting througb the mess i got peace of mind.
what is quality sobriety?.

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Re: Sobriety and pain meds: At odds with my sponsor, help

Post by avaneesh912 »

For me, meditation became the key step for attaining that serenity the book talks about. The incessant voice in the head won't die down even after the inventory. Later on I ran into the work of Eckhart Tolles "Power of Now" where he talks about identification with the mind and thats what I was doing. Slowly, as I learned to dis-indentify with my mind, I could experience the 4th dimension of living. He talks about in the chapter "Beyond happiness and un-happiness there is peace" and I realized thats what Bill W refers to as "meeting calamity with serenity". So, every day I start with 15 minutes of meditation and I chant through out the day on regular intervals. Muslims pray 5 times a day, I thought why not I adopt something similar to that. Always watching whats going on inside the head.
Show him the mental twist which leads to the first drink of a spree. We suggest you do this as we have done it in the chapter on alcoholism.(Alcoholics Anonymous, Page 92)

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Re: Sobriety and pain meds: At odds with my sponsor, help

Post by clouds »

Tuff Gong wrote:
Drugs in sobriety. Made very, very clear by my sponsor and its how I practice (me and my sponsees)

Rules:

1) prescribing doc knows that I am an alcoholic

2) sponsor knows what has been prescribed.

3) any variation from what is prescribed = slip. He and I keep tabs on my prescription use while I am taking anything

My sponsor: "what part of Dr Bobs story are people missing? The guy was a drug addict as well and sobriety = stop everything". As he says "marijuana or drug abuse - you ain't sober"
From listening carefully to people who have had slips and those still out there using medications inappropriately, I think these words are good advice and would be a start for those who have gotten honest and know they need to do something about their medication abuse.

I still think sober from alcohol is sober from alcohol though.

I dn't have experience with mis using medications. My friend in AA did, and her experiences and discussions about that made it really clear to me that given the chance I could get hooked on those kinds of things like pain pills or what they used to give out called tranquilizers. I kind of went to an extreme of not taking anything even close, I will endure quite a lot of toothache, headache etc. I realLy am afraid of medications, I have seen people in such a mess with them and I feel badly for them, it seems in some ways tougher to get off than te booze was for some people. In fact my friend went back drinking after a lot of dental work where she got perscriptions for pain meds. She went to rehab twice but still hadnt found sobriety last time she was in touch with me.
" Burn the idea into the consciousness of every man that he can get well regardless of anyone. The only condition is that he trust in God and clean house." page 98 A.A.

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