Gut Rumbles

March 29, 2006

yes, I'm breaking the rules

For those of you who asked (and those who didn't ask, but wondered anyway): YES! I AM TAKING PAIN MEDICATION!

That's a no-no for me, at least according to the Willingway Hospital theory of alcoholism and cross-addiction. See, if I take pain medication, I may trigger a relapse in my alcoholism and resort to my drug of choice again. In other words, taking a pill for a pain in my belly may lead me to Randall's Liquor Store and a quart of vodka.

I thought that this philosophy was bullshit when I first heard it and I think it's bullshit now. When I was in Willingway, a recovering cocaine addict developed a bad toothache in a rear molar that quickly turned into an abscess. His face swelled up so badly that he resembled the Elephant Man and he was in a LOT of pain.

The Powers That Be finally trucked this guy off to a local dentist after about three days of terrible agony. The dentist promptly pulled the wrong tooth and had to try again to get the right one. The guy received novicaine for the tooth-pulling and a few Motrin tablets for the after-effects.

I watched the guy "recover" from that ordeal and I swore that I would NEVER put myself through something so utterly senseless. The guy was IN REHAB, for crying out loud. Give him the good stuff to stop the pain in his mouth. Put him back through de-tox afterward if you have to, but DON'T leave the poor bastard suffering needlessly in the meantime. That's just cruel and unusual punishment.

In the past three weeks, I've been pumped full of a veritable HOST of narcotics, ranging from morphine to demerol to hydrocodone, and I was damn glad to get every bit of it. In fact, I begged, pleaded, wheedled and whined for it. Hell, I would have taken the IV rig with the morphine attachment home with me if the hospital would have allowed it. I don't like pain.

I haven't felt any overpowering urge to take a drink, at least not yet. But if I had been forced to simply endure the pain, go without sleep and suffer for the past 17 days, I would long ago have reached for whatever I could lay my hands on to make it stop. And if booze was all I could get, I would have gotten some and figured out how to drink it in spite of my wrecked belly. Desperate times call for desperate measures.

So, yeah--- I'm breaking the rules here. I'm taking drugs, and Willingway can just kiss my Cracker ass this time. It's a simple case of Better Living Through Chemistry. I'm not going to hurt when I don't have to.

And I'm not going to take a drink, either.


We're pulling for you. If we have to hog-tie and drag you off to be dried out again, we will. But I'm pretty sure you're tougher than that.

Posted by: og on March 29, 2006 02:03 PM

I'm keeping the faith, baby. You can do it.

Posted by: Maggie on March 29, 2006 03:33 PM

A doctor friend of mine once told me that taking pain medication actually helps promote healing. It's something about allowing the body to relax so it can concentrate on healing instead of tensing up and concentrating on the pain. She had a much more detailed explanation, but her point was that people shouldn't be afraid to take pain meds when they need it.

Get well soon......I'm sending all good thoughts your way.

Posted by: DogsDontPurr on March 29, 2006 03:34 PM

I don't really see the connection between a drug taken to alleviate pain and alcohol addiction. I used alcohol to try to stop some mental pain and I use a high powered darvocet to help me live with physical pain. Two different types of aches-one I could and did do something about but the gotdam pain in my joints from getting old I can't do anything about except thank whoever designed the drug.

Posted by: GUYK on March 29, 2006 03:36 PM

Here's the funny thing about pain pills:

If they're taken for real physical pain, there is very little chance that they'll cause dependence. The celeb's that cry that they've "gotten addicted because they've been injured"? Get NO sympathy from me.

They just kept taking the pills after the pain wore off, and had enough pull and enough money to get the prescriptions refilled.

When you hurt, take the needed pain meds, if you don't, you won't heal, 'cause the body needs to be able to rest without making those "flight or fight" hormones that pain produces.

When it doesn't hurt, and it won't hurt forever... stop taking the pills.

You kicked the hardest drug, this stuff ain't nutt'n.

Posted by: Nancy on March 29, 2006 03:52 PM

This post proves (at least to me) that you have overcome your addiction.

Posted by: Titan Mk6B on March 29, 2006 03:53 PM

Your rehab had it wrong. No one should suffer through a surgery and pain like that. We have recovering alcoholics come into the ER with horrible pain from kidney stones and we medicate them like we do every one else.

Sometimes the patient will say they don't want narcotics and then we will try other things, but there is no reason to suffer just because you've gone through alcohol rehab.

To quote another blogger, Just Damn!

Posted by: A Different Kim on March 29, 2006 04:19 PM

Hope you feel better and won't need the darn things real soon...

Posted by: Lisa W on March 29, 2006 04:40 PM

Rob you'll be fine more than likely. There is nothing wrong with taking pain medication as long as you really need it, it is prescribed by a doctor and you take it as prescribed. I heard the same bullshit when I got sober and suffered needlessly many times for fear that the medication would lead me back to drinking. I had to have surgery to remove all 4 of my wisdom teeth at the same time when I was about 2 years sober. They were not just impacted, they were fused to the jaw bone. I had them put me to sleep for the surgery and when I woke up I didn't feel a thing. The surgeon gave me a prescription for Loritab (hydrocodone). I told him I didn't want it and I told him why. He told me to get it just in case and to throw it away if I didn't need it. He also said that anyone that does not want to drink will stay sober no matter what if staying sober is the most important thing in their life. He thought the no pain medication thing was a bunch of hooey. Well, I started home and I figured I would go ahead and fill the prescription just in case. I dropped it off at the drugstore and went on home. By the time I went back to pick it up I was in so much pain that if I didn't have something to help me with it, I was pretty damn sure that I would go get me a quart of BlackJack to kill the pain. I had never hurt that bad before in my life. Long story short. I took the medication as prescribed for as long as I felt bad pain. In a couple of days I didn't need it anymore and flushed the rest of it. Two things I did that someone said would help. (1) Ask yourself before you take the pill if you really are in enough pain to take it. If so, take it as prescribed. If not take an Advil and see if that helps. (2) Once you realize that you don't need the pills anymore, discard the rest of it if you have any left. No sense flirting with disaster right? Hope you get back to normal soon. Stay sober and try to make a meeting as soon as you are up and around. It works if you work it. It won't if you don't.

Posted by: assrot on March 29, 2006 06:38 PM

Morphine's nice and OxyContin is kickass but for my money give me Dilaudid or give me death!

Posted by: Ralph Gizzip on March 29, 2006 07:17 PM

Following my bypass surgery I was in a world of pain and one doctor decided that the pain pills were too addictive to provide any longer. I wandered around the house holding a pillow to my chest and crying until my husband couldn't stand it any longer. He went to the surgeon who prescribed a large amount of those pills. He said that the pain controls the addiction. He was right. One day I went through the day and realized late that evening that I had not taken my pills. 10 years later I still have that half used bottle on the shelf. The pain does control the addiction................take the drugs....

Posted by: gemma on March 29, 2006 10:11 PM

If God had intended us to live in pain he wouldn't invented pharmacists. The whole addiction thing is overblown. There's a difference between dependency and addiction and it's usually only an issue for people in chronic pain who need the meds every day of their lives.
You're smart to take the pills. Why suffer more than you have to?

Posted by: Libby on March 30, 2006 08:53 AM

Exactly correct. Pain slows tissue recovery. There's no point in self-inflicted misery. When they aren't needed you will know. Talk with your sponsor, if you have one. Bring it up when you're able to hit a meeting and you'll find much support. (Also a few hard-liners, probably--but none who've had major surgery in sobriety!)

Posted by: Stu on March 30, 2006 10:02 AM

Rubbish, bullshit, hogwash, crap and horsefeathers! Take the goddam pain medication! You're not trying to "get high." You're trying to get comfortable. You know the difference. Somewhere in Bill's writings he said "it is not by accident that God gave us brains." Think! Jesus H. Christ, your body hurts. Take the pills to get past that. When the pain's gone, if you're still taking pills, you've got a problem. Just be honest with yourself about it. And if you newcomers wanna fight about it, I've got 31 years of continuous sobriety and I've had to take pills for pain once in a while behind medical conditions. So what!? Rob, you're doin' fine. Just keep up the good work.
Doc P

Posted by: Doc P on March 30, 2006 05:53 PM
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