Relapse Is a Speed Bump

Relapse is a Speedbump - Not a Roadblock

by John Baker

Life can be difficult. It’s a step ahead of us at all times, and we are just trying to narrow that gap as best as we can. One day things are easy, our business is booming, our relationships are strong, our car is running great, our health is not in question. The next, our capital is dry, we are drifting away from loved ones, we need a new transmission, and we have received a diagnosis we thought would never come. Life throws things at us at the worst of times, perhaps, just to see how we respond. Will we rise to the challenge and face life, or will we return to the same old destructive habits that have been looming in our psyche just waiting for the opportunity to come to the surface once again. We have all had moments like these, maybe a moment like this is occurring right now. Question is, how will we respond?

Relapse is going to occur in some way, shape or form. We call that old number saved on our phone, we open that bottle of wine in the cabinet, we eat that bag of chips that we we’re hiding at the back of the top shelf, and the other one we were hiding in our bedroom, we swap our workout shoes for our favorite old pair of house slippers and reside to the couch instead of the gym.

In addiction treatment experts recognize relapse as a part of recovery. Nobody is perfect, eventually something will set us off as we return to the same thing we’ve always done. Hopefully it’s the last time, but maybe it isn’t. Point of the matter is that something is bound to happen, when it does, will we accept the consequences and get back on track?

Relapse doesn’t have to be the end. Relapse does not have to be a revolving door. If you had the capacity to kick the habit once, then you have the capacity to kick the habit again. Don’t let the shame and guilt make you think that you are chained to your mistake. Think of it as an important step in the process of change. Be thankful for the experience, as it has taught you a valuable lesson about yourself and provided clarity to what makes you tick.

When we slip we must reflect on why it happened. When we understand the why behind our actions we arm ourselves with the mighty weapon of awareness. A tool sharp enough to cut through the haze of future situations and triggering moments, giving us the tools to see clearly to the other side of our problems without the need to backslide into our old vices. When we understand the why we understand us, a highly dynamic and deeply complex organism capable of great things if we put forth the effort to do so. They say that success breeds success, and as you practice you will find this to be true.

Life can be difficult. It caught you off-guard and it got a shot off on you. You caught the blow poorly, and then reverted back to old behaviors. You fell back, and you fell down. So, get back up; you’re still only two steps away from being one-step further than you were before. That is progress, and that is empowerment. If you do that, you win.