pain management

Natural Ways to Deal with Pain in Sobriety

Dr. Norris Von Curl, II, MD

Dr. Norris Von Curl, II, MD

An extremely talented poet and philosopher by the name of Khalil Gibran once wrote, “Your pain is the breaking of the shell that encloses your surrounding. Much of your pain is self-chosen. It is the bitter potion by which the physician within you heals your sick self. Therefore trust the physician, and drink his remedy in silence and tranquility.” In my eyes, there is absolutely no better way to describe pain in sobriety. For once in life, we have put down the drugs and alcohol that carried bondage over our mere mortal souls. For once in life, we can truly experience different understandings surrounding us. For once in life, we can truly feel emotion coupled with joy and pain as we break free from the shackles all the numbing agents had us bound to.

Opening up the Eyes

Having entered recovery, a large portion of us are blindsided by the onslaught of emotion that barrels our way. For such lengthy periods of time, we had kept all the emotions we didn’t want to deal with at bay through the use of drugs and alcohol. Some of us kept them hidden through other forms of alcoholic thinking such as self-mutilation of developing different breeds of eating disorders. Not to fret because that is how those of us inflicted with this disease think- this is normal. On the other hand, nobody prepared us for the discomfort soon to follow once we started eliminating problem causing agents in our life.

Once we get clean, it’s truly spectacular how much we can see when our eyes open up a little bit. For starters, pain is a necessary ingredient to life. You see, without the pain, it is near implausible to feel the joy that we do. The thing with joy is that in most cases there is more of it than the hurt. If we could truly embellish in our hearts the very joys and miracles we experience daily, the pain we experience would seem much less wondrous.

Unfortunately, as human beings, we tend to look at things objectively and in comparison to something else in our lives. All day long we have things that occur and we have no control over them. It comes down to a rare form of acceptance. We barely think twice about all the fortunate events that transpire and we take them as if they’re owed to us. Then when something slightly off plan happens, we dwell over it and focus on our misfortune. The seasons change and rearrange things as Mother Nature sees fit and we barely bat an eye. To be able to sit and deal with our grief and troubles in a humble and serene manner is a true gift that will make life that much more pleasurable. In a nutshell, a lot of pain boils down to acceptance and dealing with life on life’s terms. To process the trials and tribulations in a way that you know will make you a better person- that is one of the most rewarding feelings for any individual.

woman in pain

Using the Tools

More than likely, anybody reading this has experienced varying levels of pain in sobriety before. There’s physical pain and emotional/mental pain. One is of the body and the other is of the mind. I’m focusing specifically on pain stimulating from emotion and feeling. On a quick side note, though, there are many options for physical pain aside from pain killers and the pills pushed by pharmaceutical America. There are plenty of non-narcotic options such as ibuprofen, Motrin, Advil, Tylenol, etc. These have always worked on my behalf for minor injuries. In large doses mixed over the hands of time, these can take their own toll on our organs and other such matters. Some people prefer to stay away from the chemicals altogether. Depending on the form of pain, it is best to consult a doctor and look thoroughly into what options can be provided.

Another form of solution for physical pain, as well as emotional/mental pain, is practicing meditation. Meditation is a state of mind and body that can bring about relaxation and provide answers/solutions to the gears spinning wildly in our craniums. This mental form of stretching can evoke thoughts and questions that will answer truths about our lives that we may have been unaware of. Taking a thorough look at mannerisms will bring them to light and bring us another step closer to acceptance. Accepting everything in our lives as the way it comes. Yes, this is easier said than done, but practicing such matters will make it easier done than said. It is in this form of dialect with a higher power that we can process ourselves and what is it that makes us tick. Meditation is great for pain in sobriety because it allows us to understand. It is a mental bridge between the gap of knowledge and learning.

In some ways, pain goes hand and hand with making mistakes. It is needed in order to learn from a situation. The same as our mistakes, if we do not catalog our pain, then we will be doomed to repeat it in the future. Meditating in sobriety will build the relationship with self. This, in turn, will build self-esteem and confidence; it will have us questioning our own decisions a bit less, and allow us to not be so hard on ourselves. As mentioned earlier, much of our pain is self-chosen because feeling sorry for self is easier than being proactive sometimes. It really is a matter of standing up and deciding what it is one wants in this life. Pain is necessary for balance, but it is not meant to be in charge.

When it Pains it Pours

Being trapped in active addiction is a life consisting of bad choices and finding yourself repeatedly in the wrong place at the wrong time. It gets old while being uncomfortable almost becomes the norm. Sometimes it takes some simple changes and it’s amazing how different of a life can be conjured up. If you or a loved one is struggling with chemical dependency and are ready for help, please call 1-844-489-0836 or visit We are ready to give you any suggestions possible and set you or your loved one on a path that we can all be proud of.

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