05 Nov Preventing and Overcoming Relapse
Addiction recovery is a path riddled with fits of progress, and intermittent setbacks and stumbling blocks. In his LDS General Conference talk, “Like a Broken Vessel,” Elder Jeffrey R. Holland discusses the trials of mental illness, and offers wisdom and advice about how we can prevent and overcome our lowest moments. Elder Holland’s words are relevant to those dealing with addiction as well.
Making Your Recovery a Priority
Overcoming addiction is not something that happens overnight. Recovery takes time, so you will need to pace yourself in order to have the energy to stay the course. Elder Holland warns that trying to take on too much at one time will allow stress and exhaustion to push us to our limits. He says, “As with your automobile, be alert to rising temperatures, excessive speed, or a tank low on fuel. When you face ‘depletion depression,’ make the requisite adjustments.”
It’s essential during addiction recovery that you not try to run faster than you have strength. If you feel yourself becoming worn down or overwhelmed, be willing to make adjustments in your life that will allow your healing process to continue. Addiction and co-occurring disorders, such as depression and anxiety, are exacerbated by fatigue and stress. Elder Holland reminds us to, “Slow down, rest up, replenish, and refill. Physicians promise us that if we do not take the time to be well, we most assuredly will take the time later on to be ill.” Caring for our emotional and physical well being now will prevent us from becoming run down and falling victim to relapse.
Even if you’re doing everything right, setbacks are still going to come along during the recovery process. They are unavoidable, but their impact can be lessened if they are met with the right attitude. Whether you encounter a relapse, or some other kind of setback, remember Elder Holland’s divine reminder, “We are infinitely more than our afflictions! Trust in God. Hold on in His love.”
Don’t let your addiction, or your relapse define you. Remember you are a child of God, with limitless potential. This will give you the courage to pick yourself up and begin moving forward again. Elder Holland encourages us in our recovery efforts when he says, “Though we may feel we are ‘like a broken vessel,’ as the Psalmist says, we must remember, that vessel is in the hands of the divine potter. Broken minds can be healed just the way broken bones and broken hearts are healed.”