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A modern, community-based approach to addiction treatment for Men and Women in Charleston, SC

How Do I Handle Pain Management in Recovery?

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Remembering that getting sober will not shield us from all of life’s problems can be helpful. Yes, of course, getting sober is one of the most important and strongest things a person can do. But, it is not going to stop other aspects of life from happening, such as losing a job, having relationship issues, and incurring an injury that might require pain management. This is often why the phrase, “Live life on life’s terms,” is often used in recovery. Life is going to unfold as it is meant to unfold. The difference is that we are now blessed to face it sober.

The Prevalence of Relapse in Recovery

The reality of recovery is that many people experience a relapse at some point in their journey. Of course, this does not mean that everyone who is in recovery from addiction is going to relapse. It just means there is a potential for it if we are not careful.

According to the peer-reviewed thesis, Addiction Relapse Prevention, by Doctors Guenzel and McChargue, “One primary concern in addiction treatment is the high rate of relapses within a short period after even the most intensive treatment. Many studies have shown relapse rates of approximately 50% within the first 12 weeks after completion of intensive inpatient programs that often last 4 to 12 weeks or more and can cost tens of thousands of dollars.” The good news is that relapses can be avoided with the right awareness and proper tools.

Avoiding Relapse in Recovery

Many people in recovery refer to the “triggers” of “people, places, and things.” This is because these are the triggers that have the greatest potential for causing a relapse.

For example, hanging out with the same people that we once drank and/or did substances with may not be a great idea (especially in early recovery and especially if they are still engaging in the same behaviors). Hanging out in bars and places where we used to drink and use may also be dangerous to our sobriety. Regarding bars, a good analogy in recovery goes, “If you hang out in a barbershop long enough, eventually you are going to get a haircut.” The same may be true about hanging out in bars and eventually ordering a drink.

Then, there are certain “things” that can also trigger a relapse. One of the more detrimental things is prescription medication.

Handling Pain Management in Recovery

Unfortunately, it is very common for an individual to relapse on prescription pain medication. This is even when they have a completely legitimate reason for the prescription and have never had a problem with prescription pain medication before.

There is something in addiction that is commonly referred to as the “physical allergy.” Now, this is the concept that once an intoxicating substance enters our body, it triggers something inside of us that wants more, even when it is to our detriment. This is what can happen if we are not careful with prescription pain medication and utilize proper pain management.

Now, does this mean that we must avoid all prescription pain medication in recovery? Of course not. In certain cases of serious injury or medical emergency, this may not be an option. However, it does mean that we need to be smart. This includes telling doctors who are helping us that we are in recovery so they don’t overprescribe medication to us. It means putting loved ones in charge of our medication so we don’t take more than the recommended dose. It also means discarding pain medication when we no longer require it.

Being Honest With Peers and Professionals

Sometimes, proper pain management gets away from us, and we begin to have a problem. This is when it becomes critical to tell others what is happening before the problem worsens.

This includes telling doctors if we are starting to have cravings for the medication. It also includes sharing about taking pain medication in our recovery programs and recovery meetings (such as 12-Step meetings). Lastly, it also means being open and honest with ourselves about whether or not we are experiencing the tell-tale signs of active addiction. Speaking up can help us avoid an extended relapse.

Handling Long-Term Healing With Lantana Recovery

Our goal at Lantana Recovery is long-term recovery over short-term “fixes.” We know that to achieve this, we must be prepared to navigate life after treatment and ready to live “Life on life’s terms.”

We also understand that pain management in recovery can be challenging. But we also know that we can handle anything thrown our way with the right recovery tools.

Recovery is a journey, and sometimes there are bumps in the road. The good news is that we don’t have to take the journey alone, and plenty of people are ready and willing to help us smooth out the bumps along the way.

Just because we are sober does not necessarily mean that we can avoid all types of substances. This is true when medical situations arise that will require us to use certain types of pain medications. It is important to know how to safely handle prescription medications and pain management in recovery, such as how to tell our doctors that we are in recovery, to follow the prescription precisely, and to put someone else in charge of handling the medication. If you feel like you or a loved one is struggling with addiction, we can help. For more information about pain management in recovery, please reach out to Lantana Recovery today at (866) 997-2870.

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Charleston South Carolina

Charleston South Carolina

Located on the historic peninsula of Charleston, South Carolina, Lantana Recovery takes a modern approach to Substance Use Disorder treatment, offering intensive clinical care while also immersing our clients in local Charleston culture.