What causes anyone to return to misery and pain they had found freedom from, I may never figure out. I know addiction has power over the addicted, so I am not finger pointing. I may never know why, but I do know how it happens for many. Some people have what is called, “chronic relapse syndrome,” that they seem to have no control over. “I was in line to pay for my fuel, and I saw the cooler and my favorite beer, and then that was it,” you may hear them say. I really do not believe that.
When does it Einstein?
I believe relapse happens long before the drink, before the drive past the old dope house and being dragged inside from the addiction. The day the one recovering thinks they do not need a meeting, don’t feel like calling their sponsor, have no intention to help another needing help, forgets to pray, the return to hell is on. The little things we did to get clean and sober, somehow becomes unnecessary to us, so we taper off a little here, a little there, then, oops! Those vital “little things” become a major task when we see doing them as work, not seeing each of these are blessings from God to teach us how to live again.
Think, Think, Think
Remember when you arrived? How you felt? When hope was found? When family and friends began to trust you again? No? You don’t remember? …That is the beginning, forgetting. You were eager to get to a meeting….now you find them monotonous. You were surprised strangers wanted to help you….now they bug you with their little “sayings” and advice. You were shocked that when you asked God to help you stay sober each day, it really worked….now, it’s been days since you even thought about God, or asking for His help.
These are a few of the many reasons for relapse, yet what caused the complacency is no longer avoiding known “triggers” that influence your thoughts. Hanging out with the old crowd to show them how tough you can be but not drinking is a danger zone. Isolating yourself because you can’t be around people right now, is another. Getting into the nightly TV rut, listening to the music you always drank to, compromising your boundaries, a couple more reasons.
How can I get it back?
Here’s a few short ideas. I am no different than you. I have struggled myself with all of these simple little daily to-dos, so don’t feel you are unique.
1) Have a morning program. The first conscious moments ask God to help you stay sober today. Have a reading regimen, putting wisdom and positive thoughts in your mind before starting any tasks. Find 3-5 things you are grateful for each morning. Reflect in meditation about where you are now, and where you came from.
2) Go to a recovery meeting as often as possible. If you are in a funk from the same meetings, change up, go elsewhere. This is the place where you discover those little “things” you do have a major effect on your recovery. Being around like-minded people brings the notion that you are not the only broken person needing help. I am so grateful for every meeting, and sorry I didn’t get to more of them.
3) Be available to help another. Ask God each day for an opportunity to help someone, anyone. It doesn’t have to be someone in recovery, maybe an elderly neighbor. You will never understand what serving others does for you and your recovery until you get involved. “I don’t have time,” is a way of saying, “I don’t want to.” If you asked God for someone you can help, He will provide the time.
If you are complacent with your recovery, take that as serious, as serious as though you have already used or drank. In reality your mind is already uncomfortably back doing what earned you a seat in recovery.
Thanks for reading, God bless and keep you all.