When You’re Recovering From an Addiction and Living With Chronic Pain

September 6, 2017

When I first got clean and sober in 2012, I remember thinking, “Life is going to be great! No more feeling sick and tired.” I could not have been more wrong. This isn’t to say life hasn’t been amazing, because it really has. But there is something that is always lingering around called chronic pain.

Lately, I have been trying to figure out how to accept being in chronic pain while also being in recovery from a drug addiction. The medications I take have to be non-addicting. I am fearful of falling back into my old destructive habits because there is a lack of treatment options.

There is a lot of judgement in the recovery community about what is acceptable and what is not. I have been taking cannabidiol with small amounts of tetrahydrocannabinol to help with the pain and inflammation. Some would say this is a relapse, but they probably have not been living with chronic pain. They are clueless about how painful it can be to live with a chronic illness.

For the past year, everyday has been hard. I wake up in pain, take some oil, it wears off, I am in pain again. At school, sometimes the pain creeps in and it is hard to focus.

On top of the pain comes shame. I feel like I have to hide my marijuana use from my friends in recovery because I will be viewed as “not sober.” Some newly sober people have even said, “Wow, you are so lucky you get to use marijuana. I wish I could still use that.” Trust me, if I had the option between having a cure or to keep using marijuana, I would take the cure in a heartbeat!

Honesty is one of the main things that has kept me clean and sober. Being honest and open is how I have learned to stay on the right path. Being open about my treatment has gone a long way to help me not fall off the deep end. Anyone who is close to me knows what I am using and I check-in with them regularly.

I have also had to learn to say out loud to friends and family, “I am not feeling well today,” or, “Today has not been a good day.” For some reason this has been one of the hardest things, but it has helped so much to get things off my chest. It is easy to hide the pain because I don’t look physically sick. I try to smile a lot and pretend I am not in pain. There is a lot pressure to get sober and then become healthy.

If anyone has ever dealt with this issue before, leave a comment. I would love to hear about your experiences and anything else that has helped you deal with this problem. We are all here to support each other.

Also feel free to send me an email:

Xoxo Catherine

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  • Reply Lee September 6, 2017 at 11:12 pm

    Excellent post. Your honesty will help you immensely – both being honest with others about your pain and what you are doing to ease it, as well as being honest with yourself! Say no when you don’t feel well. That’s being true to yourself!

    • Reply catherineinthecity September 6, 2017 at 11:15 pm

      Thank you so much!! <3

  • Reply Donna September 10, 2017 at 1:06 am

    Hi Catherine. Nice article.The benefits of medicines are the helpful effects you get when you use them but risk of it is when you abuse this substance. I’ve read an article that Studies have proven Gabapentin to be an effective drug against epilepsy and seizures. Also, there have been other studies that were able to show its potential as a treatment for other ailments such as pain, migraine, anxiety, and more. Do you agree?

    • Reply catherineinthecity September 11, 2017 at 4:21 pm

      Hi! Thank you so much for your comment. I have tried EVERYTHING, gabapentin included. I have turned to CBD as my last resort.

  • Reply Lucy September 20, 2017 at 3:10 pm

    Thank you for being so honest and vulnerable! IMHO I’ve learned that what’s healthy for one person may not be healthy for another. The key is figuring out what makes us healthy, whatever that may be, and sticking to it so we don’t continue to harm ourselves or loved ones with unhealthy destructive behavior.

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