Dealing With Relapse in Addiction Recovery
~Green-In-MI, SMART Recovery Volunteer
I headed out in the middle of the morning. It was brilliantly sunny and the day would warm up quickly. I went out to my usual trail and headed north, finding my running rhythm. It was slower than it used to be, but I’d taken a few months off. Or more accurately, I had focused on my ‘drug of choice’ rather than on my recovery. It felt good to run again. This was me – the sober me. And it felt good.
As the trail rolled surprisingly easy underneath me, I noticed other things: the ducks flying over me, the spring birds singing. Someone was ambitious and mowing his grass for the first time this year, somewhere off the trail. A large community event was gearing up for the day with a couple of stages and lots of white tents. Families with strollers and people walking dogs were all along the trail.
I realized once again that somewhere in the fog of my drug of choice I’d forgotten what it was like to be sober. I’d forgotten how I enjoy sobriety. If I’d been drinking today I’d likely be on my first “nap” of the day. Instead I chose to be sober today. I chose to enjoy the parts of my life that I cannot enjoy while drinking.
The winter was long and hard in more ways than one. But it was a new season and a new day. It was time to start anew and make better plans this time, to avoid the mistakes of the past.
If you’re coming back from a relapse you realize several things. The first is that you know what it takes to get sober. You know how to deal with urges, plan around challenging situations, and manage your thinking. The second is that you know how good sober life can be – the clear mind, reconnecting with the positive things in life, and simply feeling good. You may have to rediscover these, but you’ll find that they come back more quickly this time. You’ve already made important steps on your journey, and they may include things like rediscovering yourself and thinking more about …well, how you’re thinking.
You may feel frustrated and discouraged. Your loved ones may feel the same way. How to deal with it? Learn from your mistakes and as JvB (SMART Faciliator) says, “keep trying”. You can get there if you do. You can succeed. And if you’re coming back from a relapse, you might find yourself getting back to your sober self quicker than you might have expected. You have run down this trail before.
About the author: Green-In-MI is a SMART Recovery Online Member and Volunteer. He continues to build on his progress and enjoys endurance sports and gardening