Fighting The Urge To Relapse
If you’re a recovering alcoholic and drug addict like me, the thought and urge to relapse is always there, especially in early recovery. People like us fight so hard every day to not pick up a drink or drug. It is a lot more difficult than normal people think. It might not take much for us to be triggered. A bad day at work, problems with family or personal relationships could drive us to pick up a drink or drug again. It is even more difficult to fight the urge to relapse for those of us who struggle with mental health issues. A lot of us used drinking and drugs to self-medicate. Take away the drugs and alcohol and life for us seems to become strange, scary and complicated. When I first got sober, I had no idea who I was. I only knew who I was when I was drinking or doing drugs and that never worked out for me.
The key to fighting the urge to relapse goes beyond self-control. It goes beyond our own, individual strength. People like us have to rely on the fellowship of programs such as Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous. We have to build strong support systems with others who are also fighting for their sobriety and their lives. Finding a good sponsor is important, as they should help guide you through the twelve steps. A good sponsor should always be there for you to contact in case you feel like drinking or using. People like us also seek therapy and medications to help combat our mental health issues- the most common being anxiety and depression. The fact of the matter is I don’t think anyone is capable of staying sober on their own. I know people who have tried and it never worked out well. When we isolate, stop going to meetings, stop working with our sponsors and stop working on improving ourselves, the urge to relapse grows stronger and is more likely to occur.
I’m sure this is true for a lot of people as well but I found getting stuck in my own head was another threat to my sobriety and a potential cause to relapse. I had my days where I would question myself and my sobriety. I would repeatedly ask myself “why am I doing this? What’s the point when drugs and alcohol already took every good thing I had in life?” While I was in treatment a good friend said it best: “we may have another relapse within us but we may never have another recovery.” One relapse could easily lead to the tragic loss of life. That is why a lot of us choose to get the help we need. As difficult as it may be for us to face our demons as alcoholics and addicts- that is why a lot of us choose to stay sober. We understand that it truly can mean life or death.