- November 5, 2023


One hears a lot of talk about medication in the rooms of Alcoholics Anonymous.  This can be about psychotropic medication or pain medication.  Some hardliners stress no medication of any kind whatsoever.  Other more moderate members stress taking as directed by one’s physician.  Still others are against the use of any kind of psychotropic medications no matter what.

When one is faced with the prospect of taking any type of medication, one should be sure to communicate to the physician that they are an addict.  This gives the physician a heads up as to what may be appropriate and inappropriate medication for the individual.  Medication for pain can be quite controversial around Alcoholics Anonymous as it usually an opiate that is prescribed.  I know for myself that having surgery and taking pain medication go hand in hand.  I have had a few surgeries since I have become sober.  I took the pain medication as prescribed by the surgeon as directed.  Usually, it would indicate that I needed to take it for up to five days.  It has been my experience that I did not need the medication longer than two days.  So, I disposed of the rest based on my pain level being manageable by regular Tylenol or Ibuprophen.   

Some people do get addicted to pain medication.  This is because they do not follow the doctor’s orders and continue taking it even though they are free from pain.  This is unfortunate as they may begin to seek out outside sources for the drug so they can continue taking it.  This can be very dangerous as one does not know exactly what one is buying.  With the Fentanyl crisis going on one may end up with a medication laced with this drug.  This can lead to overdosing and maybe even to death.  Street drugs are highly dangerous and can be laced with all kinds of adverse ingredients.  If one wishes to become sober again the detox from opiates can be quite uncomfortable.  So, you can see the dangers in taking pain medication in an improper way.  

Psychotropic medications are usually helpful for dual diagnosed persons.  One may be an alcoholic and also suffer from a disorder such as bi-polar disorder or a personality disorder such as schizophrenia.  For these illnesses medication is a must for the person to be able to function normally.  Depression can also be found in some members of Alcoholics Anonymous.  In some cases, outside help in the form of therapy is very helpful.  Also, the use of certain medications can help to alleviate symptoms.  Once again it is important to take the medications as directed by the doctor.  

Alcoholics Anonymous members can mean well when talking about medication.  However, they are not doctors and their experience should be just that, experience.   I know for myself that I am not going to go under the surgeon’s knife without pain medication being available after the surgery.  It all comes down to be spiritually fit and to follow the physician’s orders when it comes to any type of necessary medication.


Written by Phillip