An abstract depiction of a person prioritizing their health during alcohol recovery.

Advocating For Your Health After Recovering From Alcoholism

Last Updated: Fri, March 29, 2024

If you are recovering from alcohol addiction, you may find that it is difficult to get the healthcare that you need and deserve. There is still a great stigma around addiction, which can make it difficult for people to get the care they need when they need it.

In this article, we will discuss what advocating for your health really means and how you can advocate for yourself after recovery.

What Is a Health Advocate?

The role of an advocate is to support and provide assistance when someone is moving towards a specific goal. When you are acting as your own health advocate, you are taking control of your health experience and the type of care you receive.

In a perfect world, no one would need to be their own health advocate, as this is the role your doctor is supposed to fill. Your doctor should be an advocate for your health, supporting you and instructing you in every aspect. However, the unfortunate reality is that this isn't always the case, especially for people who have recovered from alcoholism.

You may find it challenging to be taken seriously or find a doctor who will actually listen to your questions and concerns. When this happens, you have to take matters into your own hands and become your own health advocate so that you get the care you need.

How You Can Act as Your Own Advocate After Recovery

If you have found that you struggle to get the healthcare you need after your recovery, there are certain things you can do to act as your own health advocate. It is always best practice to do this since you know your health better than anyone else at the end of the day. Your health, your body, and your experience are entirely your own, so even the best doctor won't completely understand what you are experiencing.

Educate Yourself

When you walk into a doctor's office, it is always best if you have done your research beforehand. Even though you should be able to trust your doctor, you still want to have an understanding of what you are going in there to talk about.

For instance, if you have suffered liver damage from drinking, you will want to research this problem. Research symptoms of liver damage, worst-case scenarios, treatment options, and different types of tests. When you do this, you can walk in confidently and advocate for yourself to get the best care possible.

Having some knowledge of the topics that will be discussed will help you to come to an agreement with your doctor. This will also help you to advocate for different options you want to pursue that your doctor may not have mentioned.

Trust What You Know

Even though doctors are trained medical professionals, this does not mean that they know everything. No one will ever know your body like you do, and you aren't going to always fit a textbook description when it comes to health issues.

You need to trust what you know to be true regarding your own health and your concerns. Make these concerns known and be very specific about what you are experiencing and why it is cause for concern.

The more accurately you are able to describe what you are feeling, the more likely your doctor will be to actually listen and take you seriously.

Stay on Target

No matter what your doctor's appointments are for, you always want to go in there with a goal. Know exactly why you are going to your doctor's appointment and have a plan for what you want to discuss and the outcome you want by the end of the appointment.

You have to remember that your doctor most likely doesn't know precisely why you are coming to your appointment. They will be relying on you to provide direction and a goal for a productive appointment.

Many people find it useful to create a list if they want to talk about multiple things. You may find that you forget things when you actually show up for your appointment, so this is a foolproof way of making sure you get to talk about everything.

Ask Questions

One of the benefits of seeing your doctor instead of simply googling health issues is that you get to ask questions. Your doctor should have experience regarding health issues after recovery and can take your personal situation into account when providing direction.

Don't hesitate to ask questions about recommendations, treatments, or medications they may suggest. A good doctor will never take questions the wrong way, as this is merely a sign that you care about your health and want to advocate for it.

When Advocating For Yourself Isn't Enough

Despite having the best intentions, sometimes advocating for your own health isn't always enough. If you find that none of these tips are helping you get the healthcare you deserve, you may want to look for a different doctor. Sometimes, you have to see multiple doctors before finding one who is empathetic and passionate.

If you still struggle to be your own health advocate, you could always bring someone along to each of your appointments. You could bring your spouse, partner, family member, or friend with you to have somebody who can advocate on your behalf.

Don't hesitate to provide feedback to your doctor as well if you believe there is something that needs to be mentioned. For instance, your doctor may be rushing through the appointment, making it impossible for you to discuss everything you came in for. Or they may not provide enough clarification or explain different options in a way you can understand.


Advocating for your health after recovering from alcohol addiction can be a challenge, but it isn't impossible. By following these steps, you can become a better advocate for your health no matter what your health concerns may be.

At the end of the day, no one cares more about your health than you do, which is why being your own advocate is so crucial. You also need to remember that you deserve high-quality healthcare and have a right to get the care you need.

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