Connection, Confession, Consolation
What are the three keys for relapse prevention? First let me say that a few risks for substance and alcohol relapse include isolating from other people, craving the old life and old highs, and listening to the wrong voice in your head. You know, the voice that says, you’re all right, you can use again.
Relapse prevention means replacing the risks
For me, connecting to other like-minded humans has been and is life-saving. I have the disease of isolation, and I’m not alone. Often, we burrow into ourselves and hide our reality in our personal closets. The disease of “Everything is OK,” Even when it’s not. The disease of thinking that staying home alone for long periods is healthy. Isolating is a big risk for relapse.
Healthy human connection turned out to be one of the main things I needed in my life
Being able to connect to other sober people through meetings, sponsorship, sober organizations, sober gatherings, and advocacy has transformed my life. I went from feeling like someone no one understood to having groups of people who are just like me and fighting the good fight. People who wanted to listen and be there when you need them. I’d go so far as to say the connection to other people I’ve been able to make through sobriety and recovery restored my faith in people.
To avoid relapse, I’ve needed the connection to other people. I need to see those shining faces and bright eyes, and it makes me feel lighter–even when they’re having a rough time. That helps in a whole different way. I’ve noticed when people relapse or return to a non-sober life, there’s often a disconnection from the sober world. Every season has its challenges. Hit those 24-hour meetings. We’ve all had times when we were single, alienated from our families, lost our families, and needed to lean on the recovery community. I didn’t see my family for a couple years, so I spent weekends and holidays with friends. Spending time with the sober community helped me create new celebration consolation traditions.
Next, call someone you trust, someone who gets it and won’t judge you and let them know when you’re feeling like a drink or a drug. It’s OK to ask for help. In fact, it’s a necessary part of recovery, and until one learns how to ask for and accept help, they will struggle with this disease. I can’t tell you how many times the people I admire the most in recovery have told me of a moment where they felt like giving up. But, by telling someone and talking about it, the disease gets stopped in its tracks.
There’s power in saying something out loud and admitting when you feel weak
The next thing I think we have to do for ourselves is console ourselves. Take care of that inner child who didn’t get heard and who didn’t get her or his little needs met. Give ourselves the things we need to feel loved and understood–even if we don’t have the exact situation we want in life.
A consolation is a person or thing providing comfort to a person who has suffered
I think people in recovery need a little comfort. It’s not the easy choice to get and stay sober, and the holidays can make it particularly challenging. So, let’s let the system work for us and accept consolation. Or provide ourselves with comfort and encouragement. To me, that means I’m going to be enjoying all the things each season has to offer. I will enjoy the weather changes, sale opportunities to get the things I need to take good care of myself. I will cook and enjoy food because I love food. You might want to get a mantra.
There are my three Cs to relapse prevention. Stay connected, confess to someone if you need some extra love, and console yourself because this sobriety road we’re on is tough. 100 Tips For Growing Up is a great resource in easy tips for relapse prevention and attaining the life you want and deserve. I lived it and wrote the tips to make it easier for you. Enjoy.