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The Reality Check

Relapse Disappointment GroupIn a world of black and white reasoning, there is no positive way in which to view a relapse.  Or is there? Someone else’s relapse can be a great opportunity to take stock in yourself and get an often needed reality check.

Let me just put this out there: recovering from addiction is not simple.  It’s not as easy as just not partaking in your favorite substance. Even though it is that clear cut, it’s often an arduous journey of self-reflection, and instead of a clear path, it’s filled with choices, checks and balances. And guess what? There are lots of potholes along the way. These potholes often come in the form of self-deceiving thoughts. Thoughts like “I’m different. This won’t work for me.” Or “I’m stronger than they are.  I can have some, just this once.”  And “I can handle just partying on the weekends.  It won’t affect my life again.”  Because these thoughts are our own- it’s easy to believe them and it’s really easy to slip into the grips of addiction again.

Like many stages in life, starting down the road to recovery can look really optimistic and be deceivingly simple. It’s hard to understand why people relapse and it’s easy to let your guard down believing full well that you will never do that. Unfortunately, statistics say otherwise. According to the article: “Rates and predictors of relapse after natural and treated remission from alcohol use disorders” in Addiction Magazine, participating in an ongoing support group can greatly reduce the risk of relapse. However, many people who engage in drug treatment will at some point or another, experience relapse. That doesn’t mean that you have to.  Just that it’s a real and present danger.  It doesn’t do you a bit of good to bury your head and pretend that these issues don’t apply to you.  In fact, it is more likely to cause harm than good.

Instead, take the time to acknowledge that engaging in and choosing recovery means a genuine struggle is likely to be in your future. This is no quick fix.  It takes time, commitment and a lifestyle change.  Recovery demands that you change the very way you think about life and about yourself to bring about healthier life decisions.  In your quest for a more-healthy way of living, you will face the most formidable foe you’ve ever imagined- yourself. By now, you should be familiar with how sneaky and convincing your own mind can be.

Here and now- while you are thinking about it- while the disappointment of their relapse is still fresh in your mind- tell yourself that you recognize the struggle involved in avoiding a relapse and decide now to become ever vigilant against this insidious foe.

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