We’ve all seen the commercials. A person, drowning in grey coloring and cloudy shots, struggling to find joy in their lives and engage with their friends and family. Swimming in a sea of low energy and sadness. Then they find a cure, a fix. Suddenly, the colors are shot up to bright and vibrant. There is a smile on their face as they dive in, head first, into experiencing life with their loved ones. What is that fix? A pill. The advertisement is there to tell you of a new medication that is on the market, aimed at helping keep your mental illness and symptoms at bay, keeping you afloat as you navigate life. In every single one of these commercials, the narrator will, at some point, begin to list off a bunch of side effects and things to watch out for. They say it quietly and quickly, almost incomprehensibly, as if they’re only saying these for legal reasons and want to get through them as fast as possible. Suddenly, you’re thinking to yourself: is it worth it? Sure, the pill can make you feel better but what if it causes all these other things to happen? Is taking a pill worth the risk?

It’s a question that we think a lot of people in recovery have asked themselves at some point. In a lot of recovery processes, medication is a large component. The medication is aimed to help correct whatever chemical imbalance is going on in the brain. But there is a certain sense of trepidation when beginning a medication regimen. We have all heard stories about people becoming addicted to prescription pills. We are going through this process to rid ourselves of any illnesses or dependencies we already have; why would we possibly want to take something that could just add to that? 

Think of Medication as a Ladder to Get You out of a Deep Well 

Well, medication isn’t designed to hook you. A doctor or therapist isn’t prescribing your medication to you because they are trying to prey on your addictions and problems. They are giving them to you because they work. If you have fear about taking a certain medication, don’t be afraid to speak up to your doctor and talk to them about it. They will listen to you and keep all your fears and trepidations in mind. They want to help you and will take your thoughts into consideration. It is a healthy and beneficial conversation to have, and the fact is that not every kind of medication is addictive. Some of it is just subtle enough to help you without exhibiting any addictive qualities that you could fall victim. Then there is the dosage; pumping your body full of chemicals is dangerous and your doctor won’t let you do that. More than likely, they will start with a lower dosage and slowly build it up to the level they deem right, to allow your body time to adjust to it. It’s not going to suddenly cause your body to shift dramatically; it will be a slow process and that slow payoff may help diminish any addictive possibilities. 

As with a lot of things in life, it’s all about the mindset you have when approaching medication. A lot of your recovery is going to come down the work that you put into changing your mind and habits. It’s not going to be dependent on taking a certain amount of pills. You are going to be the one to change it all and it is going to be up to you, not your meds, that determine how you climb out of your rut. Put in the effort to create this mindset and view your medication as a supplement, and you will be fine. As we said before, these pills wouldn’t be used for so many patients if they were so frequently causing addiction and negative side effects. When under the care and watch of a licensed professional (which you should be doing in general through recovery), you will maintain a healthy mindset and lifestyle. Medication is just a tool that we use to help get the body’s chemicals back on track. They’re like an update to your body’s system; they comb through everything and change any issues that may exist for the better. 

There are many things in recovery that serve as small steps towards being better. Medication is no different. It is not a failsafe that will teach you to become dependent on it. It will just be there to help you along the way. It will always be up to you to make the effort to change, and you can’t let yourself fall back on medication to fix the issue for you. You are the one whose strength will shine through and make yourself better. You are your own savior, not a pill-sized capsule of chemicals. 

If you, or anyone you know, is struggling with addiction or mental illness, do not hesitate to contact the team here at True Recovery. Our program, founded in 2014, is built around finding what’s best for you to overcome your addiction. Our facility is located in Newport Beach, California, with our supportive housing located close to our campus in Costa Mesa. Take advantage of the local beaches, nature preserves, and Orange County community while we fight for you. Contact us at (866) 399-6528 or [email protected]