Sunday, November 01, 2015

How You Can Use Your Relapse to Stay in Recovery

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I want people to know that a relapse doesn't mean failure. Recovery time has been advertised as one of the most important thing in recovery, but it isn't. Whats important is never giving up and being happy. 

It's not uncommon to feel like giving up after losing all your recovery time, but what I've learned after all this time is each relapse was fundamental to my success in recovery. Its understandable to feel like you failed if you relapse, but if you learned anything at all, it wasnt a failure.

A lot of people wonder why they keep relapsing and I know it’s frustrating but there is a reason behind it. Relapses are usually caused by not knowing how to deal with emotional distress. This is often caused by difficult situations or hurtful memories. We relapse because we aren't strong enough yet. We build that strength and resolve with every mistake we make. Every relapse should make our will power stronger and teach us how to deal with our emotional pain. 

A relapse should remind you why you want to quit and reinforce your determination to recover. I see each relapse as a step closer to getting clean for good because each time I relapsed I learned an important lesson. We obviously still had something to learn if we relapsed and each relapse should bring us a little closer to that knowledge. 

It's important not to get discouraged when a relapse happens. You need to believe in your recovery and that you wont keep relapsing. To be successful in recovery you need to believe it will last; if you don't, it won't last. You know what the say about self-fulfilling prophecies. I know that's how it was for me. It took me a few relapses before getting clean for good but I always believed I wouldn't relapse. 

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When I'd start to relapse I wouldnt let myself think about the negative consequences of using. I’d make excuses or explain it away to convince myself that using wasn't the problem. Addicts are good at fooling people but their even better at fooling themselves.

Denial becomes a close friend. You know the kind of friend who's a bad influence and always gets you into trouble. Denial might give us peace of mind at first, but we eventually learn, usually the hard way, that using isn't the answer. You relapse enough times that the consequences of using are reinforced in your mind in such a way where you can’t easily deny its negative effects.

My last relapse had me cross a line there was no coming back from, and that's when something just clicked. I had done terrible shit before but this time it was different. Maybe it was just an accumulation of all the terrible stuff I'd done and that last big fuck up was the straw that broke the camels back. Whatever the reason, it made me realize just how out of conrol I was and it was too big for me deny or forget. 

I guess we all have to find that moment when we realize this really is our rock bottom and we're tired of it. Relapsing didn't mean I'd never get clean; it just made me a stronger person from the lessons I learned, so don’t lose hope. I relapsed because I still had something to learn and now that I've learned it I'm able to stay clean. Just keep trying and take with you the lessons you learn from each relapse and you'll also be able to stay clean. 

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PS: Please let me know what you learned from your relapse.

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