Getting Back on Track

Posted on May 7, 2013

Dealing With Relapse in Addiction Recovery
~Green-In-MI, SMART Recovery Volunteer

Back on Track

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

9 thoughts on “Getting Back on Track

  1. Yvonne

    Thanks for sharing. I needed this today. I relapsed last night and hated myself this morning. But I must remember I am not my addiction. Today is a new day!

  2. Addiction Help

    Thanks for sharing your relapse experience. Addiction is ain’t easy to get rid off when it’s already in your system. Good to see positive results, this definitely helps for someone needing inspiration.

  3. About Rehabs

    Nice article and a great perspective on relapse. Some people make it the first time, but others have to struggle through a relapse. It’s not in vain. Each relapse can teach you something and gets you closer to your final goal of a life of sobriety.

  4. Thomas W.

    Release from addictive behavior or addiction recovery from any sorts of drugs is very difficult. People may begin to change their daily routine at their early stage of sobriety which helps them to replace their compulsive behavior with healthy alternative. You have nicely shared your experienced to get back on the right trail. Thanks for sharing.

  5. Julie

    Thank you for this. It’s just what i needed to read right now. 5 months sober, had a short lapse, and realizing what went wrong. It took lapsing to make me see what I had to do differently, and am grateful for the ability to move past it even stronger. Thanks again!

  6. Gwendowlyn H.

    Glad you shared about finding the right trail and getting back into shape. I am glad life is going good for you bcause you deserve t keep up the good work.

    Thank You for Sharing

  7. Derek

    Thanks for sharing your relapse. It is always a good reminder for me that we are not perfect. Release from addicitive behaviors is difficult, but I believe you are right; those of us that have made it a distance and then relapse know the harmonizing buzz in our soul when it is in tune and can find it perhaps more easily than someone at day 5 of sobriety. My trick is remembering the lasting sound and “trueness” of the buzz vice the haunt that most assuredly will come with drinking. I too need to make better plans. Thanks for the motivation!


  8. Libby

    Thanks for the encouragement!! Was sober 9 years moved in with wrong person relasped 4 yrs went back into AA rooms a month but can’t find my surrender. Trail running is soooo much mOre important than the alcoholic nap. Good food for thought. Because of article I am setting down to make better plans:)

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