Question about obedience


Hi everyone,

I’ve been discerning religious life for a while now, feeling as though I may be called to religious life as a nun. But I have a big concern and wonder if anyone could enlighten me.

For the past ten years I’ve been fighting a grave battle for my life. It all started when a doctor prescribed me a drug for anxiety. As a result of this medication, I became progressively ill and didn’t attribute it to the drug for years, when I did figure it out I began a taper and all I can tell you is getting off that drug was horrific and disabling. I have since been recovering and have made the inner commitment to God any myself to never again trust doctors and their pharmacueticals, my personal belief (and experience) is that doctors prescribe drugs with very little knowledge about them and more for their own benefit than the patient. As a result of my ordeal I am resolute to do all things the natural way in regards to my health.

My question is, if I enter religious life, and my community requires us to see the doctor and to obey his orders, do I have to obey what a doctor tells me to do? If he wants me to take a medication, do I have to do it because I took a vow of obedience? Please help me to understand exactly what a vow of obedience will require of me. I just need to know that I will be in control of my health care choices.

Thank you!


This is probably a question better directed to the vocations director of your diocese or the community itself, rather than to RSOTI (random strangers on the internet ;)).

However, just because you had one bad experience with one doctor is not a reasonable reason to completely eschew modern/Western medicine altogether. Most doctors are much better than that, and are now more open to discussing meds and other treatments with patients. There’s a place between too much trust and none at all.


100,000 people a year die from the use of doctors prescribed drugs. I spent the last ten years of my life suffering tremendous pain as a result of a doctors prescribed drug. I literally became disabled and could not function in the world for a long time because of this. When I looked to the medical community for help to get me off these drugs they did not know what to do for me, I had to go to an internet forum to learn how to properly taper off this drug. Sorry, but I dont think it’s unreasonable at this point to never want to take a doctors prescribed drug ever again.


Wish I could reach out and HUG you! Been there done that; and I totally agree with what you say re drs, was wrongly diagnosed and wrongly prescribed benzodiazepines eg valium, for over 20 years and when I learned ( thank you google) how damaging they are and when I had finally gained the correct diagnosis I came off them as you did. It was a degrading and terrible process and I have never since trusted any dr without checking online first. So I agree with you totally. Now I choose what I take. Say NO else. I have so much pain.But i know and trust the meds I use. I think you will need to front up quietly to the formation director. Without sounding upset. That you are wary of drug/meds and ask… I dont think you would be forced to take anything. any good formation dr ot r superior would know you. Of course you surely would not refuse to take eg anti biotics? If needed. I have refused any mind altering meds from drs always and said why. And I tell them what I will accept. I do not have a blanket ban but make choices…


Your response is understandable but there is such a thing as researching modern meds YOURSELF and then deciding. That way you take control. A lot of folk die each year too from trying natural remedies. I have M.E ( CFIDS to you) and once it was thought that liquorice helped. A lot died through too much of it; liver failure… You need to get some balance. Online there are support groups who are candid re all meds. I have sussed out many contraindicated meds through that source. I am and remain in charge. I mentioned anti biotics. If you have eg a water/urine infection while eg cranberry will help, sometimes it is safer and wiser to clear it with antibiotic THEN research eg D-mannose. If you have a dangerous chest or wound infection? I take codeine for pain now. I know the effects etc and that is acceptable. to me. But I refuse eg tramadol.AND NO WAY BENZOS, Choices! Do you see what I mean?


Wow, Rosebud, you went through that too? God bless you. It was through my experience with benzos that i learned hell is real (i was a new ager before)

Im still in recovery so this is why i haven’t made any visits to any orders yet. As far as antibiotics, i hear what your saying. But it would have to be a grave matter for me to take anything at this point. Right now i couldn’t take anything now even if i wanted to because my nervous system is shot from withdrawal symptoms and i react to even supplements. Eventually it all will get back to normal, but its a long arduous process, as I’m sure you know. Thanks for posting, it made me realize how prevalent this thing is. God bless you.


Wait! Give your body time to adjust and STOP reading anything about meds or withdrawal. Some people just keep the pain alive… I had an email recently from someone I knew years back from a forum who headed it " seven years since I took any mind altering meds…" The sentence that worries me in your last post is your comment re it being so prevalent… Let it go; if you allow it to colour your future you might as well be still taking benzos… I had severe attacks of facial neuralgia for many years. Move forward and try to get a better balance re meds? And above all. forgive. Forgive the ignorance and limitations of doctors. I decided years ago that I would set the pace re medical care… that eg if I broke a leg of course I would get if professionally treated. Last year I broke a wrist and followed that through. They made a total mess of it and I now have a deformed wrist to remind me of drs! :slight_smile: I was in hospital for the needed surgery and developed a severe migraine that was also inanely treated and it was then I was offered benzo and said NO. I stopped attending out patients and have full use of the wrist without any “help”… Learn to forgive, please. Talked last evening with a wise nun… yes, if you do test vocation, you must be open. If you tried to hide this need and they found out? You would be out. And no you could never be forced under Obedience to take any meds or treatment against your wishes… And formation take many years, novitiate then simple vows before permanent vows and by then you would know and be known. It is a wise system. I would say that you need to wait and modify this with reality and forgiveness. I lost thirty years of useful life to all this. Sometimes I think of that … but there are many ways to be turned into a pillar of salt!. Wait; religious life is not a soft option. Just wait and heal and enjoy life. And do not neglect your health.


Rosebud, you have given me some very wise words and I thank you for it. Your right about the withdrawal forums, they do seem to keep the pain alive. I notice when I frequent the withdrawal forums I notice I feel traumatized all over again. I have a bit of ptsd from this whole thing.

I breathed a sigh of relief from your reassurance about obedience and being able to choose whats best for my health. And I have no problem with being open with whom I need to be about what I went through.

And as far as religious life being far from soft, believe me, whatever I choose will be cake compared to what I have endured for the last ten years of my life.


Please leave those forums. Immediately!!! I did and it helped greatly. I was only there way after the event to try to support others. You are in a sensitive state and will be suggestible for a long while yet.Stay with the healthy and care for YOU by doing healthful things you enjoy, For me that has always been creative knitting etc to sell for babies in India and the homeless. I make them as pretty and cute as I can and to see the looks on faces is a delight. You need to find something healthful and outgoing to help you heal…Can I assure you that no western meds for eg pain are going to reawaken addiction or withdrawal? Which is why I suggested that you check things online. I had no choice as I have a “real” major systemic illness with high pain levels. I settled with codeine as it works and I know the side effects etc. But I refused eg tramadol as it has too many side effects. Oh and religious life is in no way like drug withdrawal! BUT it needs a wholeness to encounter. And you would not be alone but interacting with many others. Wait!


Im staying off the wd forums for now. Its hard though because the forums help you feel less alone. And i will wait, i really have no choice but to wait. Evidently God is in no hurry with me. Thanks again for your support, i really appreciate it.


You are doing fine; been offline a while for many reasons… It was i think Benzo Island you were on? Some die hard fanatics there. One mod kept deleting any post mentioning any meds… said he would maybe " allow" a tablet for a seizure…" That is downright irresponsible and folk in withdrawal are so vulnerable. By then I was like you well clear so I quit. You need healthy company in more general settings. I am on a dog forum! Such a kind lot and when my dog died recently such a support. You know you can give so much to so many folk on forums. What interests do you have? Time to stretch your wings a little!!!


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