A slippery slope can lead to relapse.
One of the exercises utilized in treatment is the following. You made it through recovery treatment. You were doing well with your journey in recovery. One night, a coworker asks you to grab a drink after work. Just one drink, it cannot hurt, you tell yourself. That is the last thing you remember when you wake up in the hospital. What is your game plan in getting back onto the recovery pathway?
A relapse (lapse, slip, setback) is one of the most frustrating, humiliating experiences you can face in recovery from any problem. It leaves you feeling guilty, ashamed, and tempted to throw in the towel. Unfortunately, relapse is also common.
One of the ways you will be able to deal with the external pressure that may lead to relapse is to avoid all the people, places, and things that are often associated with addictive behaviors. As an individual who battled the demons of alcoholism for several years, the advice given to those early in recovery is to not walk into the bar or the liquor store in the first place. There is an old saying if you walk into a barbershop enough times, you will eventually get a haircut. The same can apply to drinking.
Individuals who are in recovery must rely on coping skills and positive resources. In doing so, they can maintain a positive train of thought. Keeping support, such as non-using friends and family and maintaining steady employment, will assist in keeping daily living patterns on the right track. You cannot allow yourself to dwell on the past but must look to a brighter, healthier, and happier future that eliminates the need for drugs in your life.
1. Do not be afraid to make mistakes.
One must be willing to accept that they will make mistakes. If your actions during your addiction phase upset others, do your best to repair the damage. What has happened has happened. You cannot change the past. You can reshape the present and go on to have better relationships in the future. If you damaged a relationship during your addiction and want to repair it, the best course of action is to approach the person you feel you have hurt and accept your mistake.
Everyone makes mistakes. You are not alone. What makes you different? You must show the strength to put aside your ego and acknowledge your mistakes in your relationship with the affected person. If you find it impossible to talk to that person directly, try writing about your feelings and emotions. Doing so will demonstrate that you have taken the first step toward fixing that broken relationship.
2. Develop a Routine.
Early recovery distinguishes itself as a time when those who used to rely on drugs or alcohol to function must return to their lives again without the daily supervision of peers, sponsors, and medical personnel. It can be a scary time, but developing a routine can help. Throughout the day, you must see everything that used to lead you to seek drugs or alcohol. It is a different day today, and you must get through it without drinking or taking drugs.
When you are in recovery, you will not have drugs or alcohol to fall back on when you experience life’s challenges. Find something else that will keep you safe. These tools exist, and they will be instrumental in relieving your feelings of discomfort; they will also regulate your emotions. The answer is to create a routine and stick to it.
3. Recovery is a marathon, not a sprint.
There is an old saying that if recovery was easy, everyone could do it, and no treatment would be needed. You must be willing to set a good pace for you and your recovery. Remember, everyone recovers at their own pace. For some, it may take a short time; for others, it may take years. There are still days when you feel you do not have all the answers. The biggest thing to remember is to take each day as it comes and not become overwhelmed with things in and around life.
4. Do not be afraid to start over again and again.
It is said that a race never won is a race that never started. It does not matter how many times you have fallen and messed up and relapsed. What matters is that you are willing to get up, dust yourself off, and begin again. Many individuals have begun Day 1 of their recovery journey numerous times. What is vital is that they did not stop. Each day is a journey, and one must be willing to take the first step, even if it is your fiftieth first step. The main thing is not being afraid to start again. You will be amazed at where this journey will take you.
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Another Solution-The Missing Link to Long-term Sobriety
Michael J. Rounds
10,000 Days Sober