relapse Tag

I'm tense in my therapist's office as we listen to the ringtone over the speaker until a voice answers.

"Hey mom," I choke,"I relapsed again."

One of my early memories was of my father, a Sergeant Major of the First Marine Division, having to physically wrestle my oldest brother to the ground while he was high and out of control on drugs.

I have struggled with addiction since my first encounter with drugs and alcohol-let me tell you, they are right: “once an addict always an addict.” Being a female addict-a manipulative and incredibly street smart one at that-getting sober can take a whole lot of work, as I can milk the ones I love for a long time, enabling me to stay loaded. Yet my life is undeniably better when I’m living a sober life physically, mentally and spiritually.

Recovery is a precarious thing. There are as many experiences of recovery as there are people who have attempted it. Though no two are ever exactly alike, there are indeed similarities between them.

For most people relapse is or will be a part of their story. But it’s only a story, not a failure, and the script can be rewritten at anytime. Relapse carries a deep sense of shame with it. It touches every false belief we have ever had about ourselves: I knew it, I am a failure,” or, “I’ll never amount to anything,” or, “Other people deserve happiness, not me.” By getting out of the cycle of negative thinking – together - we can address our “relapse-mentality.”

The topic of relapse can be a touchy one. While some may state that “relapse is part of recovery”, others claim that it does not have to be, nor should it. But the bottom line is relapsing is a life-threatening event, whether it has happened before or not. Drug addicts and alcoholics have the underlying problem of the lack of control, not knowing when to stop, which can ultimately lead to death. Being able to identify how to avoid relapse and what may trigger is key to anyone’s recovery.

There are many common relapse triggers for teens and young people who are new in recovery. For loved ones and family members, it can be very difficult to comprehend what runs through a teenagers mind when they have worked so hard for their sobriety only to relapse.

“Is non-alcoholic beer considered a relapse?” I asked myself.  Most people working a 12-step recovery program will avoid anything that  contains traceable amounts of alcohol and at .05%, drinking non-alcoholic beer is to be dodged.

Recovering from drug addiction is no easy task; it can be difficult, uncomfortable and overwhelming at first. Staying sober isn’t always a “walk in the park” either. Sobriety requires more than a physical abstinence from alcohol or substances, it requires a change in lifestyle. Recovery from drug addiction is achievable, but requires consistent work and healthy living.

You've come a long way in your recovery from alcohol abuse, but staying sober is going to require conscious, dedicated effort for quite some time. Luckily, there are plenty of strategies that can help you maintain your sobriety and keep your life in order.