Does Relapse Have to be a Part of My Journey?
Relapse can become a part of your journey to recovery, but it doesn’t have to be. Suffering a relapse is when you were abstinent for a certain period from drugs and alcohol and use again. To prevent a relapse, it is a good idea to seek out individuals who have suffered a relapse and are back in recovery, working a solid 12-step program, and learning from their mistakes, so you don’t make your own.
If you end up relapsing, don’t be too hard on yourself because everybody makes mistakes. Sometimes, you need that learning experience to identify with your triggers to avoid relapse in the future. A trigger can be something as simple as walking into an old gas station where you used to pick up drugs or buy alcohol, driving past a house you used to hang out at, or running into an old friend you used to get loaded with. When relapse occurs, you will establish your boundaries and learn from your mistakes, so you don’t have to suffer a relapse again.
It may not have occurred during your recovery to ask others what happiness means to them. As part of the 12- step program, it’s important to learn how to combat relapse with happiness. You will get several different suggestions on preventing relapse, such as; working the steps, going to meetings, and staying connected to your higher power. Make sure to try them out, see what makes you happy, and make a routine out of it. Taking these three steps one day is suggested for a positive and happy life in recovery.
Preventing Relapse With Gratitude
Remaining grateful is a quality you need to grasp at the beginning of your recovery to deal with life stressors that could trigger a relapse. Gratitude is beautiful, reminding you to be thankful for the little things. Practicing gratitude starts setting aside time for reflection, prayer, and meditation.
During prayer, ask your higher power to direct your thinking – asking that it be expelled from self-seeking intentions, dishonesty, and despair. Ensure always to ask how you can be of service to others and not pray for your self-seeking ends. Under these circumstances, you will be much more at ease, content, and feel happiness through the day, making the thought to drink or use drugs irrelevant.
Meditation is where you sit, think, and reflect on your day. While reflecting on the 24-hours ahead, set a simple goal for yourself, such as getting the laundry done, taking the dog for a walk, or practicing honesty throughout the day. When you retire for the night, take a moment for reflection. Make sure to praise yourself for your accomplishments no matter how minuscule, thank your higher power for getting you through the 24-hours without a relapse and ask how you can give back what was freely given to you.
Preventing Relapse With Kindness
Practicing kindness by being of service is important. Helping a fellow addict is a great way to remain happy in recovery. Doing things for others without expecting anything in return is not as hard as it seems. Being kind is as simple as helping the old lady take her groceries to her car. Smiling is often considered contagious, so smile!
Remember to always be of service. When going to a meeting, hold the door open before the meeting and greet each person with a hug. Interacting with those around you will show other recovering addicts you are serious about your recovery. You can build a solid foundation of true friends who will always be there to lift you in hard times. Building personal relationships will help you grow spiritually and remind you that being sober is the best choice you could have ever made.
Because you are growing in your recovery by practicing kindness, you will begin to feel comfortable enough to help a newcomer, who is also in early recovery, fighting for their life. Greet them at the door and ask to take them to coffee after the meeting. Share with them your experience, strength, and hope. Give away what was freely given to you, watch them grow in their recovery. This will allow you to remain hopeful on your own, reminding you anything is possible.
As they say, Recovery works if you work it.
Knowing Your Strengths
Growing in recovery will teach you your strong points and your strengths. You can show strength in every aspect of your life; progress, not perfection. A great quality to have is self-acceptance. Remind yourself of that qualities and share them with another recovering addict.
Self-acceptance is something you will learn throughout your journey and something that you’ll never conquer. Even people who are not battling addiction struggle with accepting themselves the way they are. That said, recovering addicts tend to be more sensitive on this topic, putting the risk for relapse at high.
Accept that you have the disease of addiction, accept that you need to apply the 12-steps in your life because without them, you would be dead, accept and flaunt the person you have become, and sobriety will do wonders.
Recovery is Worth it.
Practicing these three principles while working a solid program, you might find relapse prevention an encouraging and enjoyable experience. You will know a new freedom, repair burnt bridges, and go back to living life on life’s terms. True happiness is a gift from your higher power – remember to cherish it.
Related Educational Content and Guides
Do Online Addiction Recovery Support Apps Work?
Guide on Understanding Addiction Transference
Integrative Medicine in Addiction Treatment
Understanding “The Pink Cloud” in Recovery
Your Guide to Relapse Prevention
Does Relapse Have to be a Part of Your Journey in Recovery?
The Guide to Grief and Relapse
Sport Culture and Relapse