“You never fail until you stop trying.” – Albert Einstein
We believe Einstein had it right when he said that. Probably, because we have experienced first-hand how someone’s addiction can knock them down again and again. Dealing with a substance use disorder is a daily battle to stay sober, and let’s face it, we don’t always wake up every day ready to go to war. Sometimes, we lose.
Whether our stumble happened in the form of one hit or a full-on drinking binge, the relapse itself isn’t necessarily the issue here. The history of human behavior tells us that dwelling on negative feelings such as shame, humiliation, and embarrassment has never yielded positive results. Instead, harboring these emotions makes it easier to give in to the idea that any effort on our part will be futile, so we should just admit defeat.
There’s a Better Way
By focusing on picking up the pieces and moving forward, we leave ourselves open to the positive and strengthening influence of hope. We can achieve and maintain 100 percent sobriety; it may not happen after the first, second, or even tenth time, but it will happen as long as we keep trying.
And how exactly do we pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, and try all over again? It won’t be easy, but then again, treatment wasn’t easy either. Having come this far, you know you can do difficult things. Our drug rehab professionals, many of whom have also suffered relapses, say that going back to the basics helped them get back on track in their recovery.
Be Honest and Accountable
The first step in the 12-Step process requires us to acknowledge that our lives have become unmanageable through our addiction. We need help. Our actions have put us in a position where the habit has retaken control. By actively participating in a 12-Steps group, we can find great strength in openly acknowledging what happened and expressing how we feel as we work to get past it.
Chances are, you know several people from your addiction recovery center or have met other sober friends in your journey. Try spending more time with them as you help each other keep your recovery goals.
Build Your Faith in God
As a faith-based treatment center in SLC (Salt Lake City, Utah), we fully subscribe to the belief that God is our father, and like any good father, he wants us to succeed in life and be happy. The 12-Step program recognizes that a higher power directs our lives, and He can help us overcome our weaknesses as we let Him in.
Consider some things you might do to draw more upon God’s love and power in your addiction battle. Prayer and meditation, reading holy scripture, serving others in need, and attending church services all can help you feel closer to Him and fill your life with needed purpose.
Moderation Is a Myth
Often, when we try to justify a slip or relapse. We claim it’s acceptable because we moderated our intake. Do statements like the following sound familiar: “I’m only smoking weed. I’m not doing any of the hard-core drugs anymore,” or, “I’ll limit myself to one beer or one glass of wine whenever I’m out with my friends.” This kind of thinking places you on a very slippery slope toward a more lasting relapse.
When it comes to drugs, taking one puff or a hit after going through recovery could land you in the hospital, or worse, the morgue. Your body went through detoxification when you were in treatment, so its ability to handle even small doses of the types of drugs you used before could lead to an overdose. As for alcohol, while one drink probably won’t hurt you, the buzz likely will leave you wanting more.
Do you find yourself negotiating with your addiction or trying to justify a slip-up? If so, then it’s time to reach out to your sponsor, sober friends, or your addiction recovery center counselors for an intervention.
Critically Examine Your Triggers
The more self-awareness you have, the better you’ll be able to spot trouble before it gets to you. For example, what made you reach for the pills or the bottle? Were you depressed, stressed, lonely, tired, or bored? Did something traumatic happen? Were you out with friends from before treatment who still drink or use? Did you feel embarrassed at a party because you were the only one without a drink in your hand?
We have so many triggers around us daily that have the potential to wreak havoc on our recovery. It’s critical to discover what factors put us in a position where we succumbed to our addiction. That way,, when we’re in that position again, the outcome can be different.
While relapses hurt, they don’t have to dictate how our recovery story plays out. As Walt Disney once said, “Around here, … we don’t look backward for very long. We keep moving forward.”