Let us first start by saying that relapse does not need to be part of your story. It does happen though. It happens to people that have had a few months sober and clean to 20-plus years. The question is this: “Why did this happen to me. Things were OK and now I’m drunk and/or high again!” We see and hear stories like these all the time. What should someone who relapses do?
The first thing to do is admit to someone that they have gone back to alcohol and drugs. Without getting honest with someone that is in recovery, like your sponsor or home group, you are trying to fight this alone. Time and time again as addicts and alcoholics we have tried to fight and lost over and over again. The mind can tell us all kinds of things like, “I’ll stop this and go back to an alcohol detox tomorrow. I will just drink and not do any drugs. If it gets bad again, I’ll go back to AA or NA. I won’t drink in the mornings or at work. I’ll only drink on weekends.” This is one of the reasons that addiction is a disease.
These methods have been tried over and over again, and they have never worked. There is one line in the book “Alcoholics Anonymous,” that says alcohol is cunning, baffling, and powerful. If you’ve relapsed, this sentence pertains to drugs as well. The mind is able to deceive the person using into thinking that they can control this in every other way except for going to a drug rehab or alcohol rehab. Guilt and shame hold us back from getting help again. There is no shame in what happened. The shame happens when we can’t or won’t do something about it. There are scores of people in the rooms of AA and NA with relapse in their stories, that now have long term sobriety. What a lot of them say is that something was missing in their program before they started using and drinking again. They had a reservation. They would not hand their problem over to something greater than themselves. They were holding back secrets from the past. This list can go on and on.
The good news here is that just because you relapsed doesn’t mean that you can’t get sober again. It is done every day all over the world.
At Clearbrook we have treated people that have relapsed for decades. There are hundreds of former patients that have come back here and told us the success stories of their lives when they got sober again. They tell us that although they had no faith at first, that they can regain their lives. The relationships with the families and loved ones is healing, and most importantly, they have joy back in their lives.
Relapse hurts! What we’ve learned is that it can sometimes be a blessing in disguise. If you have relapsed, please don’t sit and beat yourself up. Call us at Clearbrook any time. We can help you when you think that no one else can.