Getting sober is hard. Staying sober is even harder. You may feel that you are caught in an ever-revolving door, going in and out of sobriety with varying degrees of success. You may have accumulated days or years of sobriety at certain points in your life even enduring painful periods of withdrawal without the use of drugs or alcohol. Despite periods of successful sobriety, as a suffering addict or alcoholic, the danger of succumbing to the relentless cravings and compulsion of revisiting familiar old destructive patterns is ever-present. If you find yourself struggling again with active addiction, know that although not a requirement of recovery, relapse is a reality for many people. If you are experiencing a relapse, remember that you are not alone. Asking for and being willing to receive help is the first step toward restoring a sober path.
Addiction and Relapse
Addiction is a chronic, relapsing brain disease characterized by obsession, craving and compulsive drug or alcohol seeking. The pervasive nature of this disease compels the addict or alcoholic to continuously crave and fantasize about drug and alcohol use despite an intellectual understanding of the consequences. As a result, during early sobriety, you may experience a noticeable degree of relief and contentment while simultaneously battling conflicting urges to act on the old destructive patterns of active addiction. Without adequate support from a recovery community and relapse prevention tools, you are likely to feel isolated and debilitated by this internal conflict.
Relapse & The Importance Of Starting Over
Forgiveness can be defined as “giving up any hope for a better past.” When you get off track and find yourself repeating familiar old patterns of active addiction, it is important not to get stuck in shameful thoughts and feelings of hopelessness surrounding your drug use. Instead, remember that your recovery is dependent on your ability to ask for and receive help. Treatment programs ask that you “not shut the door on your past” nor deny responsibility for the consequences of your drug and alcohol use; instead, it is suggested that you work towards unsticking yourself from shame, practice forgiveness, and focus on your future in recovery. Once you enter into a life of recovery, you can begin to live with integrity and mend the broken relationships of your past.
While some people are able to maintain long-term sobriety after only one experience in treatment, relapse is a reality for many. If you fall off the path, overcoming the debilitating shame and fear that can accompany a relapse is necessary, but you don’t have to do it alone. Reaching out for help is key to the promise of building a better future.
Treatment offers you the opportunity to examine your individual patterns of vulnerability. Whether you are looking for a local Tennessee Treatment Center or are willing to travel across the country, it’s important to find the right center for you. Recognizing the warning signs and triggers of relapse enables you to employ prevention tools. After a relapse, treatment can help you gain a better understanding of the dynamics of active addiction and better prepare you for the journey ahead.