Restarting Addiction Recovery After Relapse
It is an unfortunate fact that a lot of addicts and alcoholics in recovery experience one or more relapses. If you have relapsed, you may have feelings of deep shame and disappointment in yourself, and your loved ones may be expressing disappointment in you as well. By picking up, you may have triggered a powerful urge to keep using alcohol or drugs, and now you are experiencing unpleasant cravings.
If you pick up, you may immediately regret it and try to get back on track right away. Or a relapse may indicate that somewhere deep down you aren’t convinced that you really are powerless over alcohol and drugs. You may want to believe that you can control your drinking or drug use now that you’ve learned a little bit about things that may have caused your addiction to get out of control.
Deciding to Continue to Recover
Only you can decide if you want to continue your recovery journey. Well-meaning family and friends can’t force you to try again. But if you want to restart your addiction recovery, a relapse doesn’t mean you can’t recover. It just means you have taken a slight detour. For a lot of people, relapse is part of the learning process of recovery. A relapse can help point out to you the things that you shouldn’t do, such as staying away from meetings or hanging around with old friends who are still drinking and drugging. These may be lessons you needed to learn once and for all.
A relapse can trigger a lot of feelings. You may feel angry at yourself, frustrated or even hopeless. No matter how much time you have put together, you may question whether it’s possible to recover from addiction, particularly if you have experienced more than one relapse.
Getting Back to Meetings
To continue your recovery journey, it’s very important that you get back to meetings. Stick with people who are on the right track. Pay close attention to the experience, strength and hope being shared by others. Allow yourself to build a support network.
If part of your past problems were caused by a reluctance to reach out to other people, it’s time to learn from your mistakes. If you have never had a sponsor, or if your sponsor wasn’t a good fit, look around for a new one. Ask for phone numbers and use them. Talk to other people and let them know that you are having a hard time.
Forgiving Yourself for Being Imperfect
Don’t continually beat yourself up for your relapse. You are human, and that means you are imperfect. As an addict, you have been in the habit of reaching for drugs or alcohol to avoid dealing with reality or feeling unpleasant feelings. In relapsing, you have done what you’ve been accustomed to doing.
It doesn’t mean you are a bad person. It only means you haven’t yet learned what tools you need to pick up instead of drugs when you are in trouble. You may not have identified your triggers for setting off the compulsion to use. You may have gotten complacent and forgotten to stay focused on taking responsibility for your recovery.
It’s important to avoid dwelling on your relapse. Don’t keep constantly reminding yourself that you picked up. If you live in the problem and continually doubt your ability to stay sober, you will continue to be unable to recover.
Keeping It Simple
If you were able to be sober for any amount of time before your relapse, that means you know how it’s done. If you have never been sober for more than 24 hours in a row, that doesn’t mean you can’t learn to do that. Recovery happens one day at a time. Make it your goal to stay away from a drink or a drug for this one day. Then do the same thing tomorrow.
Recovering from drug or alcohol abuse can be challenging, but at the same time it’s pretty simple. Surround yourself with others in recovery, ask for help and don’t pick up a drink or drug no matter what happens. In order to stay sober, sobriety has to be the top priority in your life. It is definitely possible to achieve long-term sobriety. Others have done it and you can, too.
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