No matter how committed you are to your recovery, relapses or slips are realities that are best prepared for. As a part of recovery, relapse is often seen as an important stepping stone of the journey. Many of those in recovery have survived relapse and are preparing to live it again. Accepting the fact that relapse might be a part of your story can help ease the shock if and when it hits.
By now you have a solid foundation of recovery. All of the tools you may need to navigate through recovery or relapse have been adapted to fit your needs. You have worked hard to mend relationships, with yourself and your loved ones, to pave a path of success that has been tailored for you by you.
You have learned and developed coping skills and had the opportunity to understand your actions and reactions. Putting practice to what you learned in treatment will help you find your way through relapse. Establishing confidence in your decision making when everything inside you is screaming for you to make hurtful decisions. Remember how you feel during relapse, acknowledge the feelings that overwhelmed you, embrace the emotions that came along with it.
Journalling is way to help you remember what relapse really felt like. Journal anything and everything, write it all down. This is a token that you can reflect upon when you are in recovery, it is also a reminder for when you are in relapse that all the lies that your brain may be telling you in an effort to have you lead down the bad path are just that, lies.
Our subconscious will try to trick us into thinking that we are incapable of making good decisions or deserving of a good life. This journal is to show that you are capable and more than deserving of all things good. If you are perseverating on something write it down. When you are level again refer back and see how you feel about that statement once you have won the battle. Add this to your tool kit so that you don’t find yourself reliving these lies, you have overcome that conflict, you don’t need to do it again.
What to do when you find yourself in a slip?
You have planned for this, it is time to enact your plan. Be kind to yourself. As said before, this is a normal stage of recovery. This isn’t the worst thing to happen to you; you will prevail and likely be stronger for it. Now is the time to call on your support system, whomever that may be: your recovery coach, counsellor, your family and friends. Those that are committed to being in your corner and are prepared for transparency and trust from you.
If you are honest and communicative with those dedicated to your success they will continue to assist you in staying accountable and honest with yourself. They will assist you to stay in the practice of recovery by being there every step along the way. They will advise in decision making, they can inspire you to make healthy choices. They are your safety net and will catch you if you allow them to.
Community is important in all of our lives whether we are struggling internally or not, recognizing your community is a strength that needs to be built on and cherished for it will always be there when you need it the most. They will celebrate your successes and be there for you when you fall.
A next step is deciding whether you should return to treatment or not. Is this something you and your community can handle on your own or is it better to involve a larger community to lighten the load? You might find you have all the tools you need and are not in need of returning, or the opposite. Whatever works for you is the right choice. Remember to set goals that are logical and attainable and to follow through with any promises you make to yourself or your support system.
Congrats, you prevailed. You have once again shown the world that you are capable of overcoming any hurdles that are thrown at you. Practice and patience join together to act in your plan, both of which were within you. You have now honed your skills and practice to be bulletproof. It is powerful to remember all that you went through to get past relapse.
Reflect on the journaling you did, add this to your tool kit as a reminder of how you got through the tough times. Acknowledge the work your support system put in for you, as well as your own accomplishments. You stayed committed to yourself, you set yourself up to focus when you knew that your focus would be strained and you won the fight.
Remember, the tool kit is there when you need it. If you find yourself in relapse again, it will likely be different than the last time, but you have practiced the skills that got you out of relapse before you can do it again. Practice, Patience, and Perseverance.