Alcohol Relapse Recovery
If total sobriety is your goal, the road to recovery can be lengthy and painful.
One obstacle many of us face is the shame of failure that comes with relapse. With your head in the toilet for the 34,234,453rd time, swearing up and down that you’ll never do that again, commitment is easy.
But after some time off the rocks, the memories fade. The drink calls your name. And you answer.
Damn… you did it. Again.
I’ve been there so many times.
So many, in fact, that though I’m successful this go-round, it’ll be some time before I allow myself to fully exhale.
To that end, I consider myself somewhat of a relapse expert.
Over the years, I’ve found little ways to shift my thought process and turn turmoil into triumph. To turn hurt into hunger.
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Today I’d like to share with you three stupid-simple things that I have done in the past to make relapse work in my favor.
I hope they help alleviate some of the pressure you may feel should you fall victim to its insidious pursuit.
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1. Jot Down All The Benefits You Experienced While Sober
I’m not trying to be all over-the-top positive but stick with me here. Focusing on the positive in this situation really does help. Relapse is already stressful. What do you really have to lose by taking some time out to think of the good? And there really is good to be found, even though it doesn’t seem like it.
The fact that you have relapsed means that you had some sober time in the first place. And any sober time is better than none. If it was a few days, a few weeks, a few months or more… at the very base level, you can focus on the fact that you did get some time! Some people never get even as much as you did. And you know what? If you did it this once, you can do it again.
Beyond that, any length of time off the booze will yield additional benefits. If you really try to list them all, you may surprise yourself with the results. Did you save money? Did you get to go to bed a little earlier? Maybe you snuck in a workout, spent a little extra time with someone you care about. Perhaps you can be grateful for a drunken conversation that you didn’t have.Taking note of any benefits you experienced in your sober time helps to shift your focus to something you can control... Your thoughts. Click To Tweet
2. Tally Up Your Sober Time
If this is a multiple relapse over a lengthy period, tally up your total sober time. For me this was huge. I had times where I’d break for a month or two at a time, then go back to drinking. After the hangover lifted, to pick myself back up again I’d try to think of how much sober time I’d had in the past 12 months and it really helped. Sometimes those breaks would add up to significant time, like 6 months out of the past 12 I was sober.
I liked to think how positive this total time was. I liked to imagine how much more of a break my liver and other organs got with 6 months off. It was pleasing to think about how much money I saved. Or how much more pleasant some social interactions were as a result. This is something to be proud of, and if you can pull it off, good for you!
3. Learn More About Your Triggers
Once again, writing things down is such a great idea. This time, with relapse so fresh on the brain you can review the exact events that led to you drinking again. If we wait, the memory tends to fade. But right after a relapse when you feel like total crap, you probably play the tape over and over again in your head. Over time, the pattern that emerges can be revealing.
I came to find that my main triggers were social anxiety or boredom, for example. Going to events with tons of people I didn’t know made me really nervous, and it was easy for me to use alcohol as a crutch. In sobriety, I’m a lot quicker to decline such events, and I haven’t felt the pull to drink as strongly as before. And as far as boredom is concerned, I believe blogging saved me. So much goes into blogging – not just the writing. There are so many technical, graphic, social media, marketing, copywriting, creativity and time management skills involved that it is impossible to get bored with such a captivating new hobby. If I had to choose one thing that made sobriety so much easier these days, I’d have to say starting a blog.
Use relapse to find your triggers. Then find ways to eliminate them.
Alcohol Relapse Isn’t The End Of The World
If you are going through relapse or are concerned about the impact relapse can have at any point in recovery, you aren’t alone.
There is no end to the things you can try to help you cope.
I hope my tips for surviving relapse give you inspiration, motivation and confidence to keep climbing and rising high and higher, far above the influence.