Why is Relapse Even an Option?

The reason I struggled for so many years with my alcohol problem was that I allowed relapse to be an option in my life. I took great comfort in the claim that relapse is a normal part of recovery, and I used this as my ‘get out of jail free’ card. During those times when I did manage to take a break from alcohol, I was never really free because the option to relapse was always there to tempt me back to the old way of doing business. It was only by removing this choice completely from the table that I could finally become free. Unfortunately, it took me a long time to understand that this option to eliminate relapse from my life even existed.

Entertaining Relapse

I know of many people who are still struggling to end their addiction – it is a desperately sad situation. The reason they are struggling is that they are still fighting. They don’t seem to understand that to quit means to give up – instead they are stuck in the situation of having to fight against the temptation to relapse. It would be so much easier if they would just surrender by removing the option of relapse completely from their life. That’s what I did and afterwards staying sober became incredibly easy. At that moment of surrender, my problem stopped being alcohol, and I was free to begin rebuilding my life. I no longer had to worry about relapse because that option was no longer available to me.

I empathize with people who are struggling to become sober because I dealt with the same shit in my life for almost two decades. I understand how hard all this can be and how overpowering it can all seem. When people say to me though, that they are worried that they might relapse I have to ask why they are even entertaining such thoughts. Let’s be clear, I’m not saying these individuals should feel any guilt for having such thoughts, but it does seem reckless to allow such thoughts to take up residence in our brain. This urge to relapse only ever has the power we give to it – and by being clear that it is not going to happen we take away this power.

This All Sounds Way Too Easy
I can understand how difficult it might be for people struggling with addiction to accept what I’m saying here. I would not have believed such claims myself a few years ago. I was packed full of ideas about how hard it was to recover from addiction and how relapse would always be there waiting to trip me up. The claim that I could just choose to eliminate the relapse option would have sounded sacrilegious to me – it was the complete opposite to the message that I was getting from the addiction experts. It did turn out to be this easy though, and I’m not going to pretend otherwise. Once I let go of the whole relapse nonsense, it all became incredibly easy for me.

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2 thoughts on “Why is Relapse Even an Option?

  1. What keeps me from relapse?

    I attend two recovery groups at the moment. Relapse seems to be something of a feature in them. I’ve considered “taking a week off” a few times.

    The things that stop me are the idea of losing the progress I have made, the belief that alcohol won’t help me get what I want, and that it’s extremely dangerous for me to drink it. I think the belief thing is extremely important. Talk of drinking now reminds me of the disasters in my past, and reinforces that belief.

    1. Hi Faffin, at the end of the day you have to do what feels right for you. I have no problem believing that some people will do better in recovery with the help of a recovery group – I just don’t believe that this is something that works for everyone.

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