I continue to struggle with a viewpoint posed in a recent New York Times article. In “Playing the Fool” as posed by the writer, the premise is that it is oftentimes best to go along with patients who are drug-seeking rather than risk the battle of denying them access to their drug. Really? Because I work all day every day to help clients learn to do just the opposite; to choose the harder thing over the easier thing; to break old patterns and live a more authentic, accountable life. Hmmm.
This philosophy ties in to the base premise behind all addictive patterns, in my definition. I believe that all addiction is an attempt to self-soothe, to mask, change or alter one state of being or feeling into another by the use of outside means. OK, in plain english, it’s using drugs or alcohol or shopping, cutting, sex, gambling, bulimia to avoid, to feel something different, even if only for a short time. It’s not being able to sit with the discomfort of the tough decision or interaction or feeling in the moment. Is not the prescriber in the article implicitly defending doing this very same thing? Giving in to the perceived “quick and easy” decision by prescribing rather than sitting with the discomfort of saying “No”?
I have many clients who struggle with differing stages of use and recovery. One thing I tell every one of them is that your MD is not a mind reader, that the information you give the doctor has an enormous impact on their treatment. Nobody walks around with the label “In Recovery” on their foreheads, so it’s your responsibility to educate your care givers. Ask for non-narcotic pain relievers, mention how proud you are for X-number of days being sober, your medical care provider will appreciate and support your efforts that they may otherwise unwittingly undermine by prescribing a narcotic (which for the MD is cheaper and easier, it’s more difficult to be creative in a non-narcotic mindset).
Is this not a perpetuation of addictive behavior in a less blaming, distasteful dose?
How does addiction continue to win over healthy choices?
It is this age old battle that I continue to fight daily, choosing the discomfort, the tough choice, keeping the long-term goals in sight and saying it’s worth it. C’mon, welcome the discomfort! The harder thing, the more difficult action, will truly set you free.