Relapse Is NOT An ‘Occurrence’…It IS An ‘Outcome’
In recovery, (especially earlier on – the first 1 to 3 years), one of the most commonly talked about issues is also one that is often shrouded in misinformation and superstition, more so than actual facts, and that, is the subject of relapse. An example might be the belief that the exterior ‘things’ can ‘cause‘ relapse such as: Having a job or losing a job; Having a home or losing a home; Having money or losing money; Getting married or getting divorced; etc… Another example that you might see is when someone has a relapse, there are some who then avoid that person like the plague, (even when they are back in their meetings), for fear of a notion that perhaps the relapse might “rub off on them” or even “caught” as if it were a cold. While both of these examples are damaging to both, quality of life and relationships with others, the most damage comes from getting off track and on to the ‘bunny trails of misinformation’, because it is from this that the that the greatest danger arises of bringing about the very thing that is often feared the most… RELAPSE. The first question that must be asked is, “Is the process of recovery really being placed first? (OR) Are we making daily recovery contingent on other people, places or circumstances around us?”
One thing is certain: The surest way to relapse is to do NOTHING. Making excuses for not taking action in recovery by doing things such as: Going to meetings; Working with someone to have accountability with such as a sponsor and/or therapist; Learning new principles with which to live healthy and grow; etc… will ONLY result in ‘STINKING THINKING‘. As we read in the previous post, SELF CARE, there are many areas that make up the life of each person, and if unhealthy aspects of them are left unaddressed, they will grow and combine with the other areas. ultimately leading to unhealthy and potentially dangerous outcomes. These are just a few examples:
I. Physical and Mental: (a) Not eating properly (b) Irregular sleep (c) Anxiety/attacks (d) Frequent aches and pains
II. Emotional: (a) Denial “One won’t hurt me” (b) Depression (c) Tunnel vision (d) Resentments (e) Self pity (g) Lying
III. Social: (a) Loneliness/isolation (b) Irritation with friends and family (c) The “I don’t Care’s” (d) Projecting (e) Rejecting help
IV. Environmental: (a) High expectations of self and others (c) Lack daily structure (d) Excuses (e) Lack sober support
V. Spiritual: (a) No time for prayer and meditation (b) Believing “I can do it alone!” (c) Feeling abandoned by God
It is important to remember that RELAPSE, (whether that be on chemicals or old behaviors), is NOT an ‘OCCURRENCE’… rather it IS an ‘OUTCOME’! By doing nothing, the plan and pathway for relapse has already begun. The illusion is that it’s possible to ‘take a break’ from life and just ‘pause it for a while’. However, the truth is that every part of life is ALWAYS in motion and therefore, if you are not taking action to move forward, then you absolutely are moving backwards. Lasting recovery depends on the ACTIONS that are taken in a forward motion daily. We must be willing to go to ANY lengths to achieve and maintain this.
REMEMBER: Relapse CAN’T happen if action is consistently taken that won’t ALLOW IT to happen!