During Olympic season, the public watches in awe as talented athletes from around the world compete, secretly waiting to see which ones are going to test positive for steroids. But steroids aren’t the only drug problem plaguing elite athletes. There is growing concern in a number of sports that players are sacrificing their health and their careers to prescription drug addictions.
Two of the most commonly abused medications in sports are narcotic painkillers, such as Vicodin and OxyContin, and prescription stimulants, such as Ritalin or Adderall. Prescription painkillers are frequently prescribed (at least initially) for legitimate pain complaints following injuries sustained on the field. Their widespread misuse isn’t surprising given the aggressive nature of sports and the intense pressure on athletes to play injured.
Retired NFL players misuse opioid pain medications at a rate more than four times that of the general population, according to a study from Washington University. More than half (52 percent) of NFL retired players said they used prescription pain medication, 71 percent of whom admitted abusing the drugs during their sports career.
You’ve waited all year for a much-anticipated break from the grind of daily life. You’ve researched all your options and planned every detail of your summer vacation down to where you’ll eat and what you’ll wear.
But if you’re in recovery from addiction, you may have overlooked some of the details that matter most.
How will you handle triggers to drink or use when you’re in an unfamiliar environment, faced with new challenges and stressors? What happens when you’re feeling stressed or anxious and the person next to you on the plane is drinking? Or your travel companions decide to hit up every party they can find in a one-week period?
You can’t predict every temptation that may arise, but you can take steps to safeguard your sobriety even when you’re away from home:
#1 Consider a Sober Holiday. New York City, San Francisco, Chicago, Las Vegas, New Orleans and Hawaii are continually among the most popular vacation destinations, but why limit yourself to what’s conventional? Many resorts, cruise lines and travel companies offer alcohol-free vacations in these and other hotspots.
There are even sober music festivals, spas, camping trips, surf and ski getaways, sailing expeditions, safaris, and golf and yoga retreats. In addition to putting away the alcohol and scheduling sober activities and meetings, vacation-goers are surrounded by a supportive community of people in recovery.