Early sobriety presents a number of challenges such as withdrawal symptoms, escaping triggers, and finding the urge not to pick up that drug or drink anymore. Another challenge that can come during sobriety is getting sick. It is important to continue taking care of yourself while you are ill during sobriety to prevent all of your hard efforts from going to waste.
In the past when you were feeling physical pain such as headaches, toothaches, earaches, or broken bones, you were prescribed pain medication and you grew a dependence with it. If you become sick when you are trying to achieve sobriety, you might feel the urge to use substances such as alcohol or drugs to relieve yourself of the pain like you used to.
The truth is that abusive substances will make you feel worse as you will not feel the effects of the substances when you grow a tolerance to them, causing you to take more. It is best to use non-chemical forms of pain relief such as heating pads or taking a hot bath. You should also take drink non-alcoholic liquids such as water, juice, herbal teas, and have plenty of rest. Avoid any over the counter medications which contain codeine, DXM, or other chemicals of abuse. If you see a doctor who prescribes to you over the counter medication, make sure to only take what the dosage you are prescribed. If you feel the urge to take more than recommended, give your sponsor a call. Continue going to your meetings and talk to your sober friends about your struggles with being sick and what they do to relieve themselves of their symptoms. Being uncomfortable is uncomfortable. Learning to live with discomfort is part of the journey of sobriety. As time goes on in your recovery, being sick will get less uncomfortable.
It can also help to write your thoughts down in a journal of all of the pain you are feeling so that you are not keeping them inside. You can make another list as to why you decide to become sober in the first place. These reminders should motivate you to want to keep going. After all, illness and minor pains are temporary and they will go away with a positive mindset and patience whereas an addiction and the negative results that come with it can stay with you for a long time. You can also obtain relief by doing yoga, meditation, and deep breathing to put yourself in a positive headspace.
Castle Craig is one of the most established and respected addiction rehab centers in the UK. Castle Craig treats alcoholism and drug addiction as an illness and promote abstinence as essential for long-lasting recovery. We help patients recover through an intensive, personalised programme that combines medical treatment, 12 Step therapy, CBT and other psychiatric therapies and complementary therapies. For information, call our 24 hour free confidential phone-line: 0808 256 3732. From outside the UK please call: +44 1721 788 006 (normal charges apply).
Page published: February 15, 2018. Page last reviewed and clinically fact-checked January 29, 2020