Most people are aware of the meaning of addiction relapse. After having some clean and sober time, the addicted person goes back to the drink or drug. It is frightening for the family of the alcoholic or addict, but I believe it is tougher on the addict.
The alcoholic or addict has put together some clean time. They are feeling pretty well. Their life is getting in order. They once again have the respect of family and friends. Their boss is happy and their children are recovering from the chaos of addiction. It seems like everything is pretty rosy or at least they are handling difficult situations better than they ever had. Then in an instant they find themselves back at the bar or popping a pill. This is relapse and it is devastating. How could this have happened again? Sometimes they can immediately go back to sobriety, but at other times the downward spiral starts again.
Bill Wilson, one of the founders of Alcoholics Anonymous, addresses this problem of relapse, in one of his many wonderful books. He talks about not being too hard on ourselves, but to immediately jump back into the things we have been taught on how to stay sober. I agree with his ideas on relapse. It does no good to beat ourselves up. We have done that enough during our drinking careers. We are masters at self-loathing.
I think the important thing is to keep trying. That is not to say that chronic relapsing is okay, it’s not. After a relapse, there has to be soul-searching. We have to think about possible behaviors that led to it. Did we isolate ourselves from other sober alcoholics? Relapse is tough, but let’s not use it as an excuse to continue our journey into hell.