I didn't think it was possible to be more of a failure than I already was until I relapsed. What I didn't understand is that recovery doesn't change the fact that I am an addict, and often times, relapse is part of the process.
For the first few days, it was my little secret. It was summer, and since I worked as a lunch aide at a local elementary school, no one missed me at work. Family and friends started calling, though, and I didn't want to face them, so I simply didn't answer the phone. I knew, however, if I didn't start returning those calls, they would start knocking on my door.
I couldn't bear to face them.
Then one day while I was staring mindlessly at the TV, a commercial came on for a rehab facility, and they mentioned relapse programs. They even said it was very common for addicts to relapse, and it was nothing to be ashamed of.
So I gave it a go, and this is what I've learned in the process:
It Starts with Acceptance
This means I had to own it. Up until right before my relapse, I was very angry at my ex, and I believed if he hadn't been such a jerk, I could have stayed sober. He wouldn't let me see our daughter, Emily, until I had been sober for six months. And he wasn't supportive at all; he acted like I wasn't even trying.
Then there was another unpleasant incident with my crabby neighbor. I just wanted to talk to Emily for a few minutes. I felt that hearing her voice would give me the hope I needed to go on. But while Chad gave me updates on Emily each week, he refused to let me speak to her, and this day was no different.
That was my breaking point. I hung up and headed right for the liquor store.
I learned that that type of thinking wasn't going to help me. I had to take responsibility for my actions, be honest with myself, and learn from my mistakes.
I had let my relapse go on for a full week, and the idea of getting sober again got harder to visualize as each day went by. If I hadn't seen that commercial, I don't know where I would be today.
Before that vicious cycle even begins, call your sponsor right away. They won't judge you, but they will help you recover. Chances are, they have been there, or came very close. Either way, they understand the temptation that you face every day.
It's Okay to Seek Treatment
Everyone recovers at a different rate, and many of us need additional treatment. And by agreeing to that treatment, a medical assessment will be done. This will determine whether or not you need to detox again.
Many of us relapse, because we still have a lot of work to do. Going for more treatment will help us to pinpoint what we still need to work out, which gives us a greater chance of staying sober in the future.
Family Support is Important
Often times, family members don't understand the process and become afraid that you will never stay sober. If your family is struggling, help is available for them, too.
After recovering from relapse, it can feel like starting over. But that's okay. You are simply building on the skills you have already learned. Many people need a new beginning, not just addicts. Don't deny yourself the same opportunity.
The Anaheim Lighthouse is a modern and effective addiction treatment center in Southern California. To talk to us about treatment options at our affordable drug and alcohol rehab that fit your needs, call (844) 494-4939.