When you try to get sober and relapse, there are many different things you learn from relapsing. Relapse is definitely not a requirement in the program, but it is very common and not unusual. Some people have to relapse to learn that they really can’t use alcohol or drugs safely like a normal person. I’ve thought of 7 surprising things I learned by relapsing.
7 Surprising Things I Learned By Relapsing…
1. You don’t just relapse ‘out of the blue’ (you recognize there is something called relapse mode and behavior patterns)
Relapse doesn’t just happen; you don’t just fall onto a needle or “accidentally” snort that cocaine. There are signs and something people call ‘relapse mode’ that happens way before you actually relapse. After you’ve relapsed, you can look back and see your behavior patterns and notice what changes occur that mean you could be in danger of relapsing.
2. People in the program welcome you back with open arms (you feel so much shame and guilt, but people are genuinely happy to have you back)
Whenever I would start drinking or getting high again, it was always so hard to find my way back to the meetings and the recovery community because of fear, guilt and shame. You find that when you do relapse, people are so happy that you are back and so understanding. It feels good to know that people care.
3. Just because you relapsed, doesn’t mean you failed (clearly, you had something you had to learn)
Relapsing doesn’t make you a failure. In my eyes, it means that you had something else you had to learn before you continued in your recovery process. I am so grateful now for the relapses I had because they showed me that I had to go through everything I went through to get where I am today.
4. You realize you are the real deal (there is no doubt in your mind now that you are an addict/alcoholic)
Going back out and drinking and drugging again can prove to you that you are the real deal and definitely an alcoholic or addict. I remember thinking at a point in time that I could drink like a normal person – and that was not true at all. Even if I tried drinking or drugging like a “normal person”, it was not fun for someone like me.
5. You find that it is true, that the 12-step meetings ruined your high/drunk (just like they said, a head full of AA and a belly full of booze don’t mix well)
You hear people say in meetings that once you’ve been in AA, NA or CA, the drinking and drugging will never be the same. They couldn’t be more right about that. After having all of that knowledge of the disease of addiction and seeing a better way of life, it certainly ruins drinking and getting high for me.
6. When you relapse it’s like you just picked up where you left off (the progression is so quick and you are back doing the same things all over again, or worse)
You might think that when you relapse it’s like starting all over again, but it’s not. You pick up right where you left off and usually end up even worse, and much faster. Your tolerance doesn’t take long to come back and before you know it, you’re sitting there wondering how you got so bad so quickly.
7. Noticing that there is a difference between being in recovery and being ‘dry’ (even though you may have been not using drugs or alcohol, you might not have been working a program)
This is the biggest one for me; I always thought that just because I was abstaining from using drugs and alcohol that it meant I was in recovery. In all reality, being in recovery and being ‘dry’ are two very different things. Unless you are working a program of recovery and actually going to meetings, have a sponsor, working the steps and helping others – you’re not in recovery, you are just not getting drunk or high.
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