This is a guest post from John Perry, a co-founder of Clean & Sober Recovery Services located near Sacramento, California.
It’s an indescribable relief when a loved one enters treatment where they can gain the skills and tools of recovery. And while we know that treatment offers the choice of life free from drugs or alcohol, it’s important to understand that addiction is a chronic, lifetime disease that doesn’t simply go away. For example, here are some little-known vulnerabilities that persist after treatment:
Sometimes people think, “Pills were my problem, but I can still have a glass of wine.” It doesn’t work that way: Substance use disorder is a brain disease, and people who have become dependent upon alcohol or other drugs cannot take any mood-or mind-altering substances.
A relapse can be triggered by substances that aren’t even on the radar screen. The hidden wine in the fish sauce can set the wheels of relapse in motion, even though the person in recovery didn’t want it or even notice it.
It’s essential to be vigilant during and after medical treatment. For example, the anti-inflammatory medication Tramadol is not universally known as a danger to those in recovery. Tramadol is in a class of medications called opiate agonists, and only a few states classify it as a narcotic. Still, it is often dispensed in ERs and it can trigger a relapse.
You and your dentist might not notice that the mouthwash used routinely in the dentist’s office contains alcohol. Double-check the ingredients in mouthwash and all over-the-counter meds, and make sure your medical and dental charts are marked to indicate that you can’t have alcohol or other addictive medications.
We’ve designed our treatment program to help our residents understand and avoid relapse so they can join 23 million Americans in long-term recovery. Here’s to their health – and yours.
John Perry, Co-Founder, Clean & Sober Recovery Services, Inc.