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As many of us come to discover, our ailments tend to operate in tandem with one another. Rarely do we have only one affliction we’re struggling with. For us as addicts, we also tend to be struggling with mental health issues, and for many of us, we’re also coping with physical health issues as well. What do our addictions have to do with our physical pain?

We turn to our drugs of choice to escape our mental and emotional pain, but we also use them to cope with our physical pain. Some of us first used our drug of choice because it was prescribed to us for a physical health issue. We suffer from chronic pain, whether from a known injury or illness, or from an unknown source. Physical pain, just like mental illness, can be debilitating. When it is chronic, we’re dealing with it on a daily basis, and it can be relentless. It can contribute to our depression and anxiety. We’re deeply sad that we can’t live normal lives and function as we used to. We’re afraid of what the future will hold. Will we always be in pain? Will we ever regain the total use of our bodies? The uncertainty can be unsettling and perplexing to say the least. We’re filled with fear and doubt. Our drugs of choice can be a welcome escape and a source of comfort. They can temporarily ease our pain and make us feel better, not only physically but also mentally and emotionally. We forget about our pain. We finally feel some relief. It’s totally understandable that we would want to give ourselves a reprieve from the constant pain we’re feeling.

Aside from our addictions being destructive and worsening our mental health issues, they also can worsen our physical ailments because we’re not taking the steps to really heal our pain, we’re just masking it and numbing it for the time being. We’re not exploring energy healing or holistic therapies. We’re not researching effective pain management and healing. We’re not addressing the deeper issues within us that might be contributing to our illnesses in the first place. We’re avoiding our pain rather than confronting it. We’re running from our pain rather than healing it.

 True healing is available to us when we stop using addictive substances and behaviors to cope with our pain, when we stop resisting it and start facing it.

Riverside Recovery is committed to helping you uncover the issues fueling your addictions. Our treatment programs include multiple forms of therapy, family workshops and mindfulness-based relapse prevention education. Call (800) 871-5440 for more information.