What is Recovery? Why Relapse?

Relapse & Recovery, Addictions, Al Anon,Relapse is seductive. Relapse is looking backwards & longing for the comfort of numbing yourself with booze, pills etc. Recovery is a whole lot of hard work. It’s very difficult to want to do all that is required.

I have always believed the DARE program for school children was not authentic enough to be effective – It’s a scare program that doesn’t acknowledge the truth; drugs and alcohol etc. temporarily make you feel real good.

It’s alarming how much booze young people put away. Large amounts are ordinary. It separates them from the hard bits of life; loneliness, unemployment, anxiety and painful realities.

The core of addiction has 3 intractable parts to it:

1. Taking the easy way out is a driving force.

2. Often addicts are people easily overwhelmed and filled to the point of drowning in shame.

3. The power of their self destructiveness is a truly terrible thing.

Yesterday, I drew this picture for someone to explain their relapses over the years. The picture makes it clear how attractive and comforting it is to get lost in the floating feeling. Floating is so much easier than dealing.

So like dipping your toe in the water to see how cold it is, people begin the path of hard work and find it oh, so cold.

Doing the next right thing, learning to make pain bearable and dealing with shame is not easy. I have tremendous respect for my clients who’ve stayed on that fiercely honest path of recovery. It is a huge accomplishment.

One of the saddest parts is that partners who live with someone with the disease of addiction build up tremendous resentments over time. It can be hard for the partners to be willing to look at themselves and know they have a part in what happened. It’s so much easier to blame, than to join the journey of recovery.

Addiction wipes out entire families. Addiction is a fierce disease to fight. Addiction is in the genes. Addiction provides a lot of short-term benefits. Recovery is a long-term, hard work proposition. Stay on the path of recovery and you will have more courage, honesty, integrity and character.

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