Many recovering alcoholics have chemical imbalances and need to take medication in sobriety. Generally I recommend that an alcoholic be sober for 90 days before an accurate diagnosis can be made. It’s normal for the recently sober drug addict and alcoholic to feel anxious and depressed. Seeing a therapist and psychiatrist that has an extensive background and knowledge about addiction can be helpful in diagnosing an addict. It is also important that the doctor be well versed in medications so as not to prescribe anything that would jeopardize the alcoholic or addict’s recovery. Informing your doctor about your addiction not only helps us practice honesty but can also save our lives. It would be dangerous for a doctor to prescribe a recovering alcoholic or addict benzodiazepines such as Xanax or Valium.
When looking for a doctor, it is helpful to seek someone that has a good reputation in the recovery community and has experience treating addicts and alcoholics. Some doctors are just looking to peddle drugs to make money. Beware of these doctors. An example of this kind of case is with Michael Jackson’s doctor, Dr. Conrad Murray. In the pursuit of fame and money, Murray administered drugs around the clock to Jackson until it ultimately killed him. Though this example is extreme, there plenty of doctors that profit off the weakness of addicts on smaller scales.
There is no shame in taking medication, just as there is no shame in going to rehab and admitting alcoholism and drug addiction. We must find our limitations so we can turn them into strengths. If we can take a look at ourselves and be open to what others have to say we have a better chance at staying sober. In recovery it is important for the alcoholic and addict to practice humility and remain teachable. Now that we’re sober, we take direction from those that have come before us. We listen to the experience. Strength is being able to listen and not fight it. With that we regain our dignity and power.