If you have a medical or dental procedure planned, you’ll need to be extra vigilant about your recovery. Taking any mood-altering medications before, during or after your procedure can put you at high risk for a relapse.
In The Recovery Book, we suggest you return to the Red Zone and ramp up your recovery program at such times. (Read more about the Recovery Zone System in our Quick Start Guide post.)
You should also talk with your doctor or dentist about medications before the day of your procedure. The “Dear Doctor” letter below can help you to broach the topic. Print it out and take it with you to an appointment; use the information to start a conversation. Be honest with your health care provider, and enlist their help in your efforts to avoid relapse.
The Dear Doctor letter below was originally written by staff at Willingway Hospital; it was recently updated by Al J. Mooney, MD.
I understand that you have scheduled my medical procedure as quickly as possible. Although I have faith in you and your skills, I am not looking forward to this experience. However, I know you have my best interest in mind.
We have talked about my experiences as a recovering alcoholic/addict and how I have a special sensitivity to any mood-altering substances, including medications that could be given before, during or after the procedure. I have learned during my recovery that about 10% of the general population have an addiction to alcohol or drugs and that this addiction takes the form of a kind of allergic response to chemicals which change brain activity and reward systems.
My brain’s response to these chemicals can be immediate, such as cravings for similar drugs; or it can be more gradual, where my thinking and perception become altered in such a way that my motivation for sobriety decreases and I return to old patterns of behavior closely linked to my substance abuse. Continue Reading →