I am a recovered drug addict. While pills were never my thing, I still used them when I didn't have other alternatives to numb out. Additionally, I have witnessed other people in recovery pick up one pill to treat pain and the body doesn't know the difference between medication and recreation.
As a result, I decided long ago that should I ever require surgery, I would only take a narcotic if it was a dire emergency. So far, in the past year alone, I have had two surgeries (one on my ankle to remove a nodule and, now, an umbilical hernia repair). I have opted to use Tylenol alone to address my pain. Even after my C-Section in 2006, I only used extra strength Motrin to relieve the pain and it worked.
I follow this course because I have a great respect for my disease of addiction. While I havent used anything in close to 15 years, I still believe that I could pick up where I left off if I put drugs that feel nice into my body. I have never lost that fear and I am grateful for it. I believe it is a reasonable fear and I value my recovery way too much to toss it away for a pill. One is too many and a thousand never enough.