The dictionary definition of relapse is - ”to fall or slip back into a former state”
Often with recovery it feels like we are going one-step forward two steps back, one-step forward three steps back.
The truth is you never go back. You can never un-experience anything. Let’s say I get in my car and head to destination point A and get a flat tyre half way there. When I fix my tyre and get going again it doesn’t mean I start back at my starting point. I just continue on from where I stopped. It’s the same with relapse. You just start wherever you ‘fell over’ and continue from there.
The first thing to understand is that Relapse is part of the process!
When we stop using a particular substance or behaviour (because certain behaviours like anger, sadness and depression also release specific hormones and chemicals) our cells start to crave the particular chemical or endorphin they’ve been accustomed to. They will kick and scream and create all kinds of drama to get you to give them their fix.
My last relapse was the best relapse of my life! It cemented in my mind what I no longer wanted in my life. It allowed my mind to over-ride the cells that craved to the point where I was able to be back in control.
Why do we relapse?
- There was a time when whatever it is you are using worked for you. It helped you escape whatever pain you were in momentarily
- We all experience certain triggers - relationship stress/loss of loved ones, job’s, dreams/falling out with friends, family members/stress/financial worries etc. and think we ‘need’ something to cope
- The danger is you will actually create drama in your life in order to relapse. To give you the ‘feel goods’ your cells are craving.
- You believe you deserve a reward. This was a big one for me. “Oh Dean you’ve been really good lately you deserve to have just one drink”
- Reward is important but don’t ever reward yourself with the thing you are trying to stop! It is no longer your friend. It doesn’t serve you any more.
Why does your subconscious try to get you to use again when you know it is holding you back?
Ironically, because it is trying to protect you and keep you safe. It worked at one stage and as simple as one plus one equals two. it continues to assume it will work for you. It doesn’t take into account that it is now destroying your life. You are isolating yourself and experiencing pain beyond belief, and yet you continue to use.
If you want more information about this or have any other questions why not book a free fifteen-minute consultation with me!