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Surgery in recovery

Posted: Fri Mar 18, 2016 11:17 am
by stayingontrack
Hi all,

not sure what section to post this in, just signed up for this forum(not a forum kind of guy)

I am a guy in my mid 20's and have been sober for 4.5 years, my addiction surpassed alcohol toward the end and was opiate based (painkillers/heroine) along with any other drugs i could get my hands on for the last few years.

I have been informed I have to have surgery which will require pain medication, I have already alerted the surgeon of my status as a former opiate addict/alcoholic and he said we would be sure to monitor prescriptions amounts, but insists I am going to need narcotic pain medicine for at least 2-3 days after the surgery(understandably, it is not a minor surgery)

The reason I am posting here is because whenever I read anything online about this it is horror stories and people saying what they wish they had done, while this information is good I would also love to hear some info from people who have successfully gone through something like this and did not relapse.

I have spoken with my sponsor and some folks in my network and shared at a few stag meetings(older gentleman who have gone through these before) and their advice was mainly pray, and understand the difference between medication and recreational usage, and of course not hold the prescription myself so I am guaranteed to not abuse it if the urges to abuse come back.

so my plan:

prayer/reading as always
call sponsor daily
call other person daily
tons of video games
medication held by girlfriend(she is a health care worker)
surgeon has already been informed
5 meetings a week once I can walk again(this leaves me a week on my butt alone though hence me coming to the forum)

I am still scared as hell though I have been through hard times and never turned back/relapsed since I was brought into the rooms, but I am so scared as I haven't had any real compulsions since early on, please help, my surgery is in a little less than a month and I have never been this worried in my life

Re: Surgery in recovery

Posted: Fri Mar 18, 2016 11:57 am
by PaigeB
I have a chronic pain condition and use narcotics once or twice a month, sometimes more or less. Here are 2 things I have found:
1) I have "hangover pain" which seems bad enough to "take another one" - 4/6 hours later. Narcotics make you think your pain is worse than it is.
2) I am still emotionally affected and my mood is better when I take a pill. Is it because the pain is gone or because of the euphoric effects of the drugs? The answer for me is BOTH.

I must always remain vigilant against my disease, but even more so when I find it necessary to take a drug. I have never been good at telling the truth or even knowing the truth myself. I used to call my sponsor all the time when I first started using heavier pain meds. Then I learned the kinds of questions to ask myself before I took a pill. I have to be accountable to another sober person just like when I got sober from alcohol... family & friends did not work. This is where one of those old boys who have been through it can come in handy!

I can ask myself: How soon until I sleep? How much activity will be required of me in this next few hours? How long since I took my last one? Am I taking this for my mind or for my body? Make note of mind issues and body issues separately on a scale of 1 to 10! I can be easily fooled by the drug and by my alcoholic mind, so I bounce this off another person if I think I am doing it wrong. This would be in addition to the call a day recommended. Yes, I will be a pain in the rear for a couple days... but it is far better than the alternative and I can pay it back by helping another person in the future.

Also, return used medication to the pharmacy once the condition of need has passed. They will invariably give you too many pills ~ if you run out, you need to rethink this with another alcoholic! If you have another episode later, you can again ask the doc for meds.

Stay vigilant!

Re: Surgery in recovery

Posted: Fri Mar 18, 2016 12:03 pm
by PaigeB
Also - if physical therapy is involved, talk to doctor about medicating prior to those appointments. It is easier to control pain if you can get ahead of it! Ask the doctor about how best to control pain when changing from narcotic to non-narcotic pain relief.

And keep coming here. It is a pretty active board and we follow the primary purpose.

Re: Surgery in recovery

Posted: Fri Mar 18, 2016 5:49 pm
by Layne
I am primarily an alcoholic, but have used drugs and have a healthy understanding of my past addictive behavior and desire to do anything not to feel what I was feeling.

Since working the twelve steps and having my obsession removed, I have been faced a few times with being prescribed narcotics following surgical procedures. I can't say that each and every time, I was unconcerned and had no fear going in, I am human after all and remember my past. However, each and every time, it proved to be a non-issue, which I firmly believe is due to having worked the twelve steps.

These days I am able to be honest with myself and that honesty (along with maintaining and working to improve my spiritual connection) carries me through the tough times.

I also back off the prescriptions as soon as I can without making myself miserable.

Re: Surgery in recovery

Posted: Sat Mar 19, 2016 12:22 pm
by Noels
Hi if you are going to be hospatilized for that period can't they rather give morphine via drip? That way you won't have any pills or prescriptions which could help?

Re: Surgery in recovery

Posted: Tue Mar 22, 2016 8:47 am
by Lali
Try this. When your narcotic is about to wear off (as Paige says try to stay ahead of the pain), take a couple of extra strength Tylenol. You might be surprised. Maybe you can altertnate the narcotic with the Tylenol. I actually do better with Ibuprofen but I get prescription strength (600 mg.) Ask your doctor what he thinks about this.

Best Wishes.

P.S. Ibuprofen is not a narcotic. I believe it is an anti-inflammatory.

Re: Surgery in recovery

Posted: Fri Apr 08, 2016 10:11 am
by stayingontrack
Thank you all for your help,

I am feeling way more confidant then before, and your words are helping with that, I know things will be okay, I just have to stay honest and don't isolate myself

thank you so very much