5 Factors of Relapse: Catch it Before it Happens

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Life is a strange conundrum that guarantees certainty about nothing being guaranteed or certain. It’s kind of like an “Alice in Wonderland” type of oxymoron. “Contrariwise, if it was so, it might be; and if it were so, it would be; but as it isn’t, it ain’t. That logic”, exclaimed Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum in their backwards yet sensible rationale. That’s the thing with life, no matter how bizarre it gets it never has to make sense. The things that sometimes need to make the most sense never do.

 

The parts we need to attempt to make sense of are our choices, reasoning, and awareness. Everything we do leads to our next fork in the road of destiny- it’s all domino effect. But what about the things we don’t do, or can’t control? The sun will rise up, the rain will pour down, and birds will chirp. All these things are going to happen whether we like it or not. Listening to any of Kanye West’s next songs, eating a whole box of Gushers in one sitting, or getting high/drunk- these are all things that CAN be prevented. Even addicts and alcoholics have the willpower to do so. Wait what?!

For those in recovery, knowing the factors of relapse can be the difference between catching it before it happens and allowing ourselves to fall down the rabbit hole. “Willpower” is interchangeable with “lack of knowledge” when it comes to recovery. Becoming conscious of yourself significantly raises your chances of maintaining sobriety. Like it or not, at some point in recovery many find themselves in periods of stagnation where there’s the terrible misconception of missing the usage and debauchery. The same degeneracy that nearly extinguished our lives prematurely on many an occasion. This is the preposterous lunacy that occupies the mind of an alcoholic even after the route of sobriety has been decided on.

 

Don’t Let Relapse Catch You

Of course most of us are all too familiar with the disgusting term “relapse”. Gross. It’s a lapse in judgement that includes getting loaded. Sometimes this means spiraling out of control, other times it means slipping up and regaining composure quickly. Either way, it’s a term best stayed away from. In sobriety we know what we’re supposed to do, but sometimes we can’t commit to the concept 100%.

 

Upon getting sober the idea now is to stay on that road, not letting the little speed bumps deter us from taking action- nor allowing impulsivity to defer us from our intended direction. Relapse can happen to anybody despite the amount of clean time they have or the amount of fear revolved around using again. No amount of threats or consequences will stop an addict/alcoholic when their mind is made up on ignoring the factors of relapse. Remember alcoholism is cunning, baffling, and powerful.

 

Prelapse Traps

What a lot of individuals fail to realize is that spotting the factors of relapse and catching them before they happen isn’t just about abstaining from picking up a drink or a drug. It’s also the mindset that comes along with recovery. The performance of relapsing starts in the mind and is a conscious or subconscious thought process that has to be entertained- and the same goes for relapse prevention. We begin to play with the idea of getting drunk/high or reminiscing about what it was like. Beware these thoughts because they are the dangerous ones that will bring emotion into the mix and completely throw you off guard. Our brains begin obsessing over that feeling of euphoria that we so readily crave and we begin the process of relapse without realizing it. We call this “prelapse”.

 

Remaining aware lwill be the best relapse prevention technique available, however, there will be some prelapse signs that stand out more than others. Some of these include:

  • Impulsive/Radical Behavior
  • Becoming Easily Angered or Irritated
  • Poor Daily Structure and/or Unmotivated Routines
  • Irregular Attendance of anything Fellowship related
  • Dishonest Actions and Behaviors

 

Recovery teaches us that were not alone and relapse prevention shows that this is something we can actually accomplish. To some degree, everybody just wants to be understood. To not feel alone, that’s what we’re all striving for. Whether it’s another addict, a therapist, or your higher power- just speaking with another can lessen the cravings or demented thoughts that may be appearing.

 

It’s mostly in our active chemical dependency that we begin to feel lonelier than the number one- and apparently that’s the loneliest number that you’ll ever do. We push away loved ones and the parts of ourselves that seeks righteousness and knowledge of life. Catching the factors of relapse before it happens is only possible if we are willing to take action.

 

Avoiding Getting Caught

In the end, relapse is something that is easy to catch if you want to. Another simple tool for spotting the factors of relapse can be just reaching out to people- especially other addicts and alcoholics. This is how recovery was started. Alcoholics Anonymous began when two alcoholics, (Bill Wilson and Dr. Bob), sat down and started comparing and talking to each other about their drinking dilemmas. Upon relating to each other’s stresses and strife was when they were able to begin comprehending the mental clutch alcoholism takes. It’s often when we begin talking about our issues and venting to another person that we begin to feel any little sliver of clarity.

 

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