There are many challenges that we must face in life. No matter how big it seems, only time will show us whether we did well or not despite what it might look like in the present.
When dealing with an addiction, regardless the substance, if we choose to go through recovery we might forget that the process is not over just because we’ve finished. Relapse is the next big challenge that we all have to face once down the path of rehabilitation. As depressing as falling into temptation can be, we must know that relapse is something that is VERY likely to happen, and that not because of it must we abandon all hope. Statistically, between 40 up to 60 percent of users going through recovery will have a relapse. This does not mean by any chance that we should give up and go back to using out of shame, guilt and despair. If anything, we can take it as a step up the ladder of inner growth, and bounce back stronger than before. We fall so that we learn how to rise again. Here are 5 tips on how to keep your chin up and fight the good fight.
Know that it happens and you’re not the only one
It is a very rare and fortunate case where users that have successfully completed a recovery program do not relapse. Addiction does not really work that way. When it happens we will definitely feel guilt and shame that cannot be compared with anything we’ve felt before. But that’s because we’re concerned with our progress and we do not want to disappoint anyone, nor even ourselves. It’s a big blow, but you’re not the only one taking those hits on the ring. The deal with relapse is that it comes as stealthy and unnoticed as it can be. It can come hidden within an innocent night out with friends, and a lovely afternoon in the park. We just have to remind ourselves that it is always likely to happen no matter how strong we are and that we should cut ourselves some slack when it does happen. Not losing hope and not giving in are keys to move forward.
Get help and support from everyone
It will be embarrassing when relapse happens, but that is nothing compared to just letting it slip under the rug. It takes a lot of courage to accept we have a problem in the first place, and just like that, it will take a lot of courage again to go back to treatment once it’s happened. Guilt and shame are inherent elements to the whole process. We just have to remember that relapse is not the end of the road, but merely an obstacle we can overcome.
Being honest and true to our loved ones can make a huge difference in the process, and remembering that they will stand by our side no matter what should help to lift the burden, make amends with ourselves, and turn the page into further recovery.
Go back to treatment
If we’ve come such a long way and we relapse, it’s easy to believe that treatment didn’t work or that we’re a lost cause. Both are the biggest lies we can think of. Going back to recovery is not a sign of weakness, but quite the contrary, just as we start a process that never really ends, we have to acknowledge that it’s just a rock on the road and not a dead end. Looking for further treatment is a sign of courage and of love to ourselves and our family. We shouldn’t feel anything but hope when going back.
Look on the bright side
It might feel like the end of the world or the last nail on the coffin. But truth be told, is something the majority of people in recovery have to go through. Instead of seeing it as a failure, we should try to approach it in a positive way. Accept it as an obstacle and a motivational challenge for improvement to bounce back to the ring much stronger than ever.
It can be a upgoing spiral but not a flat circle
When looking from above, a spiral can look like a circle. The cycle of rehab-relapse can take place a certain number of times but we have to remind ourselves that we still have to make progress so that it doesn’t become a routine. Letting it squeeze into a flat circle will eventually take a toll on our health, our minds and all the people we love and care for. As a spiral though, we might be going relatively in circles but we have to remember to go a bit higher and further every time.
When going through recovery there are some things we can be certain of, one of which is the fact that relapse is more common than we think. It happens to more than half the people that undergo treatment and that doesn’t mean they’re failing. Acknowledging it as a stage in the process and being honest and true to ourselves and our loved ones are elements that build a strong and happy future life, only that just as with everything else, sometimes we fall and we have to pick ourselves up, but as long as we keep walking we will always be a step further from where we started.
If you’d like to ask a question or would simply like to share other tips to overcome relapse, leave a comment below.