Xanax or Spiritual Recovery? You Chose

This article, like most of mine, is directed specifically at those wanting recovery from drug addiction, including alcoholism (addiction to alcohol). I am honored that you, the general public also read and comment on my articles and pray you continue to get something useful with each one, even if it provokes discomfort.

Xanax, like alcohol, heroin, cocaine, oxycontin and countless others is a mind altering drug. Those in honest and serious recovery from alcoholism call it, "eating your alcohol," or "alcohol in pill form", as the two drugs, alcohol and Xanax, have similar effects on brain chemistry. If you are claiming to be alcohol free, clearly if you say you are drug free, get honest with yourself. If you are popping pills when you experience an uncomfortable feeling such as fear, anxiety, anger, frustration etc. why not just have a drink? Yup, it's the same thing.

Okay, you say you are not "abusing" your precious little pills, so why can't you be allegedly clean and sober and still use them? Ever heard of the steps? Of spiritual recovery? Maybe not if you are still intent of dealing with life by using chemicals. And, while we are at it, what is "abuse" anyway? Maybe the synonym "misuse" could be substituted, or just "use". Whatever word you choose, using any mind altering substance or process to deal with feelings is just that, using.

Recovery programs teach reliance on a Higher Power. If you are relying on your little helper in a bottle, whether liquid or pill, you don't get to use Spiritual help. Get it? You choose: Spirituality or Drugs? Recovery from addiction and a drug free life, or "chipping", just using a little...until the big relapse? It will come, it is just a matter of when. For addicts, a little using is like a little pregnant, eventually it shows.

Having trouble accessing a Higher Power? Duh! Xanax, like other drugs, "cuts you off from the Sunlight of the Spirit." By altering your body's own neurochemicals, the use of mind altering drugs of any kind makes your brain fuzzy...that's what mind altering means: altered, distorted, changed, fuzzy. You may think you can think, but think again...hmmm...even if you can think, your highest brain function is dulled, interfering with emotional and spiritual function as well as impairing reflexes, concentration, memory, tracking and more. Side effects of Xanax include: loss of balance, memory and ability to focus, as well as fatigue and irritability, among others. Rapidly addicting, Xanax withdrawal produces even more delightful side effects: sweating, rapid heart rate, severe anxiety, depression, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, seizures and potential death, to name a few. It's a BIG problem.

So why do doctors prescribe it? Doctors everywhere, especially doctors in my small town, just do not know anything about RECOVERY from addiction. Nothing. How would they know? Recovery is NOT taught in medical school. It is YOUR job, the recovering addict, to teach them that you do not need a drug for every complaint. They are not trying to do harm by prescribing Xanax and other mind altering drugs, they simply cannot bring themselves to not write prescriptions. Why? I don't know. Ask them. Oh, wait, don't go to them if you don't want drugs. Just like, don't go to a barber shop if you don't want a haircut and don't go into a bar if you don't want a drink. To be fair, a few doctors, those who are emotionally and spiritually healthy, or who have sought to learn from patients and friends in recovery, do know a little about how to not sabotage your recovery.

Appropriate treatment for anxiety for an addict or alcoholic wanting a drug free life includes working a recovery program, developing a relationship with a Higher Power (God) and avoiding all mind altering chemicals. Using the tools of a 12 step program will allow you to deal with ALL of your feelings without drugs. Really. It works if you let it, but you have to do the work. Just sitting in meetings gets you a little by osmosis, but real recovery comes from actually working the steps. With someone who has done them. One to one. One at a time and in the order written. Do it. It's free!

Dr. Dawn Obrecht is the only MD addiction medicine specialist on the western slope of Colorado. She is a Fellow of the American Society of Addiction Medicine and her office is in Steamboat Springs. She teaches a communication course to medical students at the University Of Colorado Health Sciences Center in Denver info@docdawn.com.


 

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