What is a Relapse?
For a woman committed to sobriety, relapse is a very real fear. A lot of people go back out. Statistically, a lot more drunks and addicts end up using than staying sober. But if you’ve been to a women’s treatment center, an IOP, or meetings, you know that relapse is more than the final moment when you take that drug, or swallow that drink.
A relapse is a series of events that eventually lead to a moment (of insanity!) where someone has convinced themselves to use.
Where Does a Relapse Begin?
A relapse starts in your mind. It starts in so many small ways that it’s difficult to list them all.
It begins when the pattern of thinking that served you well as an addict starts to take over again. Defense mechanisms that protected you in active addiction start to reemerge. Denial and an unwillingness to face, and accept, life challenges is a common jumping off point. If you can’t admit you have a problem, you can’t ask for help in solving the problem, and you’re already in a downward spiral.
Other addictive behaviors might also start to reemerge, or maybe they were present to begin with. The common theme in any relapse situation is an awareness that there’s an issue, but an unwillingness to face it. Like an untreated wound, this issue festers – it feeds your disease.
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As effort increases to maintain your illusion (which, by the way, only fools and hurts you), your disease is gaining strength. Once you’re in denial, it’s easy to blame outside factors for you unhappiness. At this point, being sober isn’t worthwhile because you aren’t happy – why not just get high?
That’s why humility is such a vital part of recovery. If you can’t admit you need help, your problems will chip away at the foundation of recovery you’ve built. That doesn’t mean that every minuscule issue has to be discussed ad nauseam.
Rather, if a resentment or fear is eating at you, talk to the women in your life that support you. If you have a problem that you’ve tried to confront, but isn’t getting better, tell someone. Pick up the phone. The mind is a very powerful thing, and for an addict or alcohol, it’s also very dangerous. The incredible thing is when you start to make a habit of being honest, when you commit to being transparent, that powerful mind becomes a blessing.
Relapse ISN’T a requirement for recovery, but humility and honesty definitely ARE.