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  • Let's Talk: Relapse Prevention and Strategies

    Sunflowerseed
    Community Builder
    Posts: 403
    Joined: Tue Jun 07, 2022 10:33 am

    Let's Talk: Relapse Prevention and Strategies

    Wed Sep 07, 2022 2:48 pm

    Relapse Prevention and Strategies

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    We all know that recovery is not smooth sailing. You will face many barriers along the way. Lapses and relapses are part of the recovery journey but this does not mean you failed in your recovery. The real question is what have we learnt from this, and how can we turn that into the positive.

    Something about Lapses and Relapses
    Lapses and relapses may be triggered by many events, such as walking by the pub you always went to or talking to a friend you used to ‘use’ with. Or maybe the urges are too strong to handle this time. Lapses and relapses could also happen when things are going well. For example, you’ve been doing so well, so you think maybe it’s ok to have a drink with a few friends. You might even notice a pattern for your cravings/relapses/lapses. Perhaps this is after all your bills are paid and you have left over funds, birthdays or significant social events. It may be hard to identify at that moment, but recognizing patterns allows us to put some strategies in place for the future.

    Some tools/information to help you
    Strategies are important throughout your entire recovery journey. Knowledge of good strategies helps us prevent lapses and relapses. A phrase that we hear a lot is ‘urge surfing’. Check out this pocket guide for strategies when the urges hit.
    Goal setting is also an important strategy, and there are many benefits to writing them down. See here for some useful information about goal setting.

    Find the things that you enjoy
    How about journaling?
    Check out our blog: "What I do to maintain recovery: Journaling"
    Nowadays as our lives seem to revolve around computers and technologies, we forget how good it can feel to do things in an old-fashioned way. So grab a pen and paper and start writing what’s on your mind. Having something we can see, touch and refer back to can keep us motivated.

    If writing is not your jam, tell us what is?

    So Let’s Talk Lapses and Relapses!

    @ScorpionPW @PnorkelPW @Starlee @Dandy @Judas @Greenthumb @Iboga-plant @LizzyForSobriety @Jim Doe @Sjbsjb @LeoStardust @Ophft @Tailor
    4 x
    ScorpionPW
    Peer Worker
    Posts: 825
    Joined: Tue Apr 13, 2021 10:06 am

    Re: Let's Talk: Relapse Prevention and Strategies

    Thu Sep 08, 2022 9:26 pm

    Thanks for sharing @Sunflowerseed, this is a great topic.

    I remember that for me, all of my relapses were something to learn from. Once I first discovered I had a problem and I began trying to stop using I went through quite a painful process of trial and error over a couple of years.

    I would reach a point where I knew I need to stop, I would go to detox and then come back home and try to manage my substance use in different ways. I would think, if I just only used certain substances and not others, at certain times, with certain people and in certain ways that it would end up different.

    No matter how I would try to approach my substance use I would always end up in the same desperate place of daily addiction. But each time I ended up there it was worse than the time before.

    Even through this process and when it seemed so obvious, I was so afraid to admit that the drugs were the problem because I thought I needed them to cope with life.

    In the end it wasn't until I ended up in a really scary place, completely backed into a corner by my addiction and knowing without a shadow of a doubt that I couldn't successfully or safely use any substance at all that I was able to begin working towards meaningful life change and recovery. But every lapse and Relapse along the way was necessary for me to ultimately get to that point.

    I think it's important to recognise that Relapse is a common part of a recovery journey but it doesn't have to be part of recovery either. There's nothing stopping somebody from this being the last time and for a meaningful journey of on going recovery to begin. One of the reasons I think this is so important to recognise is because I have known many people who are told that Relapse is a part of recovery to Relapse just on that fact alone, that they think they need to Relapse to learn certain things.

    I think it can be very helpful to not cause people to feel shame or like all their hard work is undone if they do lapse, whilst also not normalising Relapse as a part of recovery because it doesn't always have to be.

    I'm really interested to hear how this resonates and what others takes on this topic are? :)
    4 x
    PnorkelPW
    Peer Worker
    Posts: 923
    Joined: Tue Jun 01, 2021 3:14 pm

    Re: Let's Talk: Relapse Prevention and Strategies

    Thu Sep 08, 2022 10:18 pm

    Great topic @Sunflowerseed ..................I wouldn't be where I am without relapsing.

    I wasn't at rockbottom when I made the decision that I'd finally had enough but I'd been there enough times to know where I was headed. I'd made many decisions in the preceding years to make change and had gone through periods of weeks and sometimes months of abstinence but it was always with the intention of returning to drinking or using at some point. The trouble was that every time I did my life got worse and took me to places I'd never thought I'd be. There were lessons in this though.............it just took me far too long to realise them.

    I'd always return to using because I felt like life was in a place where I was ready and that it would be different this time............I just never put it together that the only reason my life was in that place was because I wasn't using. It was only when I accepted that realisation that I was able to fully commit to log term change.

    These days that's one of the major drivers that has prevented me from going back when the urges get strong. I know where I've been and I almost didn't make it back. I know that if I try drinking or using again it will eventually turn to s#@& and I'll be in a dangerous space... I had to learn those lessons though. I had to learn that no matter what I tried as far as cutting down, only doing it on weekends, special occasions, or other stipulations I tried to put on my use I was never going to be able to drink or use in a way that didn't cause harm in my life.

    There's also been the lessons as I've worked through recovery too. I've had to learn what I like doing, what works for me to help get me through the tough times and what makes me feel better.

    I always try and tell people who lapse that it's okay. It's okay because there's a lesson and if you can catch a lapse before it turns into relapse you've actually had a win and that's a positive. What's important is reflecting on why the lapse happened and how to prevent it from happening next time.

    We don't master things the first time we try. Athletes, musicians, race car drivers, chefs, accountants............whoever it is and whatever they do, they've had to learn, practice, train, and make mistakes. Why is recovery different??? Recovery takes practice too............be kind to yourself and learn from the mistakes.
    3 x
    Sunflowerseed
    Community Builder
    Posts: 403
    Joined: Tue Jun 07, 2022 10:33 am

    Re: Let's Talk: Relapse Prevention and Strategies

    Mon Sep 12, 2022 3:26 pm

    Thank you so much @ScorpionPW and @PnorkelPW for your response and sharing.
    Scorpion, thank you for mentioning a very interest point - lapses and relapses are common but they are not necessary! It's ok to have lapses and relapses, good on you if you don't!
    1 x
    ScorpionPW
    Peer Worker
    Posts: 825
    Joined: Tue Apr 13, 2021 10:06 am

    Re: Let's Talk: Relapse Prevention and Strategies

    Mon Sep 12, 2022 8:43 pm

    I love what you said @PnorkelPW, be kind to yourself and learn from the mistakes...

    So simple and powerful yet sometimes quite a hurdle to overcome when it's so easy to get the whip out, be hard on ones self and get stuck in cycles...

    Once learning how to not be so hard on myself when I was repeating behaviour that I didn't want to be acting out in, it made it a lot easier to be kind to myself and act in the opposite way.

    Such a great perspective :D
    2 x
    PnorkelPW
    Peer Worker
    Posts: 923
    Joined: Tue Jun 01, 2021 3:14 pm

    Re: Let's Talk: Relapse Prevention and Strategies

    Thu Sep 15, 2022 8:35 pm

    Yeah totally @ScorpionPW ...........there's a really tricky balance involved. As you said, relapse doesn't have to be necessary. I think once we learn how to accept the lapse, we then learn to be kind to ourselves, the shame subsides, and we don't let the lapse turn into relapse which eventually breaks the cycle.
    1 x
    ScorpionPW
    Peer Worker
    Posts: 825
    Joined: Tue Apr 13, 2021 10:06 am

    Re: Let's Talk: Relapse Prevention and Strategies

    Thu Sep 15, 2022 9:08 pm

    100% @PnorkelPW :D
    0 x

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