"Whether you struggle with a food addiction, like I do, or you deal with drug or alcohol addiction, every addiction is the same. An addiction is a loss of control over one’s behavior." Anya Light
Some people in recovery do not act out, so I want to point out right away that the loss of control can be just your thinking and/or emotions, i.e., obsession.
As an alcoholic I have never relapsed. I have 37 years of sobriety. But as a obsessed love addict, codependent, and compulsive overeater, I have had a lot of slips over the years. I learn a little bit from each experience. Today,I am wiser that I would have been without a slip or two.
The secret to my success is that I never give up. I learn through trial and error and keep on going. My most important lesson is to "get up one more time than I fall down."
Many things trigger relapse. Grief triggers me. Whenever someone I love goes away or dies I slip into "old behavior" or at least "old thinking." And yet we can't avoid things that trigger us. So keep moving forward one second at a time. Do not judge yourself. Always remember that you are a work in progress. "That you are "perfectly imperfect. That you live in the shadow of God's perfection." The Art of Changing
Kinds of Relapse:
Flair-up: You have the emotions that go with addiction but you do not act on them.
Slip: You act out in some way.
Relapse: You give up your support network and go back to your old life.
1. Never lose hope or faith. It sustains us.
2. Stay optimistic and avoid self-pity. We all suffer setbacks. We are not unique in this.
3. Never hang around people who judge you. As they say in AA, "Stick with the winners."
4. Stay close to your support network. Create one if you do not have one yet: Friends who do not judge you, sponsors, therapists, role-models, mentors and God.
5. Work the 12 steps.
6. Build up your self-esteem.
7. Stay away from slippery slopes.
8. Change how you think and behave.
9. Try the suggestions of more experienced people in recovery.
10. Be open-minded about spirituality.
11. Work on wiliingness.
12. Carry the message of recovery to others.
13. Be honest with YOURSELF.
Note: The one good thing about relapse is that is usually increases your willingness to stay in recovery.
The Promises of Alcoholics Anonymous:
If we are painstaking about this phase of our development, we will be amazed before we are half way through. We are going to know a new freedom and a new happiness. We will not regret the past nor wish to shut the door on it. We will comprehend the word serenity and we will know peace. No matter how far down the scale we have gone, we will see how our experience can benefit others. That feeling of uselessness and self-pity will disappear. We will lose interest in selfish things and gain interest in our fellows. Self-seeking will slip away. Our whole attitude and outlook upon life will change. Fear of people and of economic insecurity will leave us. We will intuitively know how to handle situations which used to baffle us. We will suddenly realize that God is doing for us what we could not do for ourselves. Are these extravagant promises? We think not. They are being fulfilled among us—sometimes quickly, sometimes slowly. They will always materialize if we work for them.