I thinks it’s important for people to know that a relapse doesn’t mean failure. With so many people putting so much importance on recovery time most of us naturally feel like a failure if we relapse. It’s not uncommon to feel like giving up after losing all your recovery time, but what I’ve learned after all this time is that each relapse was fundamental to my success in recovery.
A lot of people wonder why they keep relapsing or why their loved ones keep relapsing. I know it’s very frustrating and confusing, but there is a reason behind it. We should always go into recovery believing we won’t relapse. It’s important not to get discourage when a relapse happens, but it’s also important to believe you won’t relapse. To be successful in your recovery, you need to truly believe it will last. If you don’t, then it won’t last. Self- fulfilling prophecies and all. I know that’s how it was for me.
Every relapse reinforced my determination to quit and reminded me why I wanted to quit in the first place. Every relapse happened for a reason. I see each of my relapses as a step closer to getting clean for good because each time I relapsed I learned an important lesson. I obviously still had something to learn if I relapsed and each relapse brought me a little bit closer to that knowledge.
It took me a few relapses before getting clean for good. My relapses were mostly caused by not knowing how to deal with the emotional pain caused by either difficult situations or hurtful memories. I also relapsed because I wasn’t strong enough yet. I built that strength and resolve with every mistake I made. Every relapse made my will power stronger and stronger. I’d remember just how bad the downer was and how crappy I felt once I got high. The more times this happened the more I realized that using wasn’t the answer, that it didn’t really make things better.
However, when I’d go to use again, I wouldn’t let myself really think about the bad, I’d make excuses or explain it away to convince myself. Addicts are good at fooling not just others but ourselves and that’s why I relapsed so many times. I had to relapse enough times that the consequences of using were reinforced in my mind in such a way where I couldn’t easily deny it’s negative effects.
The relapses made the idea that drugs weren’t worth it stronger and stronger until I finally couldn’t deny it anymore. Those relapses were inevitable because it was only once I’d actually used that I realized it wasn’t as good as I remembered. My relapses made it harder and harder to keep fooling myself. And today I have the strength to take the time to realize that the guilt and the side effects aren’t worth it and that the high isn’t as good as I make it out to be. That’s something I had to learn for myself, doesn’t matter how many times I heard it from others.
The last time I relapsed I did something I thought I’d never do and something just clicked. Don’t get me wrong I had done stupid shit before but this time it really It made me realize just how bad drugs could be if they could make me do that. It was too big for me to deny, explain away or just forget. I can’t quite explain why that one was worse than the other stupid mistakes, but it was.
That last relapse strengthened my resolve to quit for good. I’m not sure if it was just an accumulation of all the stupid stuff I did and it’s just so happened that this time it was one too many. I guess we all have to find that moment when we realize this really is rock bottom and we’re tired of it. Relapses made me understand that there was no controlling my drug use, I was only fooling myself. I relapsed because I still had something to learn and now that I’ve learned it I’m able to stay clean.
Relapsing didn’t mean I’d never get clean; it just made me a better and stronger person from the lessons learned so don’t lose hope. Keep trying and take with you the lessons you learned from each relapse and make this time the last time.