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Surviving a Relapse and Embracing Life Again

Jul 31, 2008
Like most diseases, the road to recovery for addiction and alcoholism is not always a straight one. Since I first came into recovery sixteen years ago I have suffered many relapses all quite devastating to me and those who love me. And yet, there have been some very helpful reminders I've picked up along the way which have sustained me and helped me pick up the pieces and get back into the game of life. I'd like to share these with you in this article.

First of all it should be noted that relapse happens long before the addict picks up that first drug. There are often many signs which are usually and unfortunately not apparent to the addict him or herself. The addict may be harboring resentments, be engaging in old addictive behaviors or thinking patterns, they may be obsessed with the idea of using or be hanging on to a reservation that one day he/she will be able to handle a couple successfully, they may become complacent or ungrateful or a host of other symptoms.

But for most, and this has certainly been the case with me in the past, pain happens. The last relapse I endured I had been involved with someone and fallen in love. That relationship ended and around the same time I had two deaths in the family. The pain was unbearable, the loneliness infected me, and rather than getting honest with others about my pain, I began to isolate, drift into self pity and remorse and the next thing I knew I was back in the throws of a full blown relapse.

Therefore it should be noted that in order to avoid a relapse in the first place one must adhere to the principle of constant vigilance with a program of healthy action. Regular meeting attendance, talking honestly and openly with a sponsor and other trusted friends, daily contact with a higher power, reading recovery literature, journaling, all of these help. But once the relapse happens, how then does the addict get back on his/her feet? Usually a stint at detox is the first order of business. The addict needs to dry out and be off the drug for a period in order to regain balance and direction and most detox centers offer daily meetings, healthy food, and counseling support.

For some, treatment will be necessary but for those who have already been several times, all they may need to do is get back to the basics of a recovery program. A commitment to ninety recovery meetings in ninety days, daily contact with a sponsor, a big book study, weekly counseling to deal with unresolved core issues, journaling, step work, healthy diet and exercise and lots of time spent with friends in the program. For those who are lucky enough to survive a relapse they should realize that God has kept them alive for a reason. Maybe it's to help someone else, maybe it's to achieve some childhood dream, but whatever the case may be, a relapse can be the jarring experience which strengthens and solidifies their future recovery.
About the Author
Zach Samuels is the author of Confessions of a Crack Head which can be found at Confessions of a Crack Head. The site offers resources for addicts and their families, a blog, a forum, contact information, and more.
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