Our exploration related to Relapse Prevention simply touched the surface of a very complex area. I may come back to it as we move along or if there continues to be requests to learn more about this area–I always look forward to your emails (thanks Inny for requesting RP). All we had time for in a week was to cover the basics in addressing any cravings or urges. These tools of Avoid, Confront, Distract and Remind may become your life preservers if you have been attentive to the tasks.
It is imperative to remember that substance disorders are a relapsing reality; it is only the blessed few that will walk this path and never know the hideousness called Relapse. More people will relapse then remain abstinent. The vast majority of those relapses will occur within the first two-years of recovery. The primary reasons for relapse include…
• Attitudes of superiority
• Lack of humility
• Lack of commitment
• Keeping secrets
• Limited or no attendance at appropriate 12-step programs
• Difficulties with the spiritual aspects to recovery
• No access to relapse prevention treatment
If you do relapse, know that this is not the end of the world and it is critical that you stop again ASAP. Some people that relapse begin to think that they might as well “do it right” now that “everything” is ruined. Let me begin by telling you “Everything is not Ruined”!However, it could become that way if you keep going versus stopping soon into the relapse. Another strange message that AA and other 12-step programs send around relapse is that a person has to start over if they relapse. Don’t get me wrong here though, I think the world of the 12-step programs and believe they have contributed to the recovery of more addicts than any other treatment modality; so even if I question a few of the messages I still believe these programs are an addicts best chance at recovery. For some people this discounting of their previous experience or work can be counter-productive as they are more likely to be the ones’ that believe they “might as well do it up right given that it’s all gone”. Let me be the first to tell you, it is not all gone…if you stop soon into a relapse you can do some immediate damage control and you can simply pick up where you left off and learn from the experience.
As I stated before…Recovery is a Gift not a Given! Be grateful for everyday you have substance free and do the work needed to keep your gift…try and remember that people die because they did not get access to the help you have already received. Good luck and Good Recovery.
TODAY HAS STARTED–HAVE A GREAT ONE!