Updated: May 25, 2020
When someone is in the middle of an addiction of any kind; whether it is drugs, alcohol, food, sex, shopping, gambling, etc. the prospect of beating it is truly daunting. When presented with the opportunity, it often takes more than one try to get into a life of real recovery.
In the beginning relapse is common and comes with the territory of accepting a life free of our vices. When you first try to wrap your mind around the prospect of never doing "that thing" again, it's almost like facing your own mortality. We have been so conditioned to reach for what helps us escape and numbs our pain.
We slip and fall in the beginning because we don't possess the coping skills that can help us get through the tough times. Before we have the skills, we are just white knuckling the idea of getting sober. Eventually we have to dig in and do the work. We need to advocate for ourselves or reach out for professional help whether that comes in the form of; therapy, in-patient treatment, intensive out-patient programs, support groups, etc. These are the places where we are going to get the structured help that we need.
Once we begin a program, we will be presented with the appropriate skills that will help us to begin a life of long term recovery. In my opinion, this is where the rubber meets the road. If we lock in and start doing the work then we are giving ourselves a great chance to learn the tools necessary to be successful.
Once we truly buy in and commit to not just sobriety but true recovery then it is our responsibility to stay the course and do the work. We need to remember that in the beginning relapse happens because we lack the coping skills and are unable to have the complete mindset shift that is needed. Once we embrace the process then we will begin to appreciate the gift that is long term recovery and we need to fight like hell to keep it. We have to rise and grind every single day, it will not be easy at first but giving up is not an option.