Is Having The Flu Different When You’re Sober?

The winter months not only bring colder weather, but also the cold and flu bugs. If you are newly sober, it is a good idea to be up to speed on over-the-counter (OTC) medication and what is and is not safe to take. It’s not uncommon for an addict or alcoholic to take dangerous OTC drugs for a cold or flu, start abusing them, and fall into a full-blown relapse. On top of taking care of your physical self, you also need to take care of your emotional self. Illness can wreak havoc on your thoughts, so when you are in a weakened state, use the following tips to keep your recovery going strong:

  1. Cough Syrup, Alcohol, and Codeine – Many brands of cough syrup contain alcohol, and many people have relapsed because of this. There are brands without alcohol, so if you’re going to use cough syrup make sure it is alcohol-free. If you visit your doctor, be sure to tell them you are in recovery. Prescription cough syrup may have codeine, so be sure to discuss this with your doctor. You can make a decision together about your recovery and the risks of taking narcotics.
  2. Dextromethorphan (DXM) – DXM is a commonly abused drug and is found in OTC cold and flu medications. It can also be found in cough syrup, so when you are reading the label and checking for alcohol in tip #1, also look for DXM. Taking this medication is another topic you should discuss with your doctor, sponsor, or therapist so you can decide what your boundaries are with medication.
  3. Speaker Tapes – If you are too sick to get to a meeting, there is a wealth of Alcoholics Anonymous and other 12 step program recordings of speaker meetings online. Many of them are humorous, which never hurts when you’re feeling lousy.
  4. Take Care of Your Body – Try to eat nutritious food (cue in chicken soup) and drink plenty of fluids. Your body is fighting the good fight and it needs all the help it can get.
  5. Don’t Smoke – This goes without saying, but smoking is really bad for you. It can make you feel worse and slow down your recovery. This could be a good time to quit if you want to prevent wrinkles, smell better, and ward off lung cancer.





If you are sick and tired of being sick and tired, we can help. You don’t have to struggle with addiction any longer. The Lakehouse Recovery Center offers you the opportunity to begin your recovery and to start feeling better. Give us a call, we are available toll-free at (877) 762-3707. Your life can change. Recovery is possible. Call now.


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