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Hope for the Relapse Prone

By Brad Lamm, CIP

Hope for the Relapse Prone

An important aspect of the disease of addiction, after an extended amount of clean time, is that it can resurface, causing relapse. Many people who suffer from chronic relapse often struggle with feelings of guilt and shame that can sink them even deeper into the cycle of addiction.  However, there are triggers that you can look for to guard against this occurrence.

Stress is one of the main causes of relapse. Although avoiding stress is not always possible, the recovering addict must make changes, sometimes drastic ones, to lifestyle, relationship and their priorities, in order to align themselves with the principals of recovery.

One of those top priorities for the chronic relapser is staying away from people and places connected to the addicted behavior. Sometimes just being in proximity to these situations can lead to negative impulses.

Challenging emotions can be another downfall. To that end, it is critical that we get a treatment plan that addresses management of negative emotions and proactive ways to deal with them.  Anger, anxiety and fear has led more than one of us to turn to our substances, be that food or chemicals, as a coping mechanism.

Developing ways to handle urges or cravings is also crucial. What happens when we see someone drinking at a restaurant? Watching a television show like Breaking Bad might be the reason someone struggling with crystal meth addiction decides to pick up again.

Celebrating an accomplishment or event can be just as triggering as negative emotions. In that case, chronic relapsers should avoid those events as much as possible or bring along a sober companion who can help them stay the course.

An occasional set back is normal and when relapse happens try not to look at it as a failure. Recovery is a process, not an event.  It is possible to move on from chronic relapsing and live in sobriety.  Let today be the first day of your sober life.

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