What a “relapse” means to me:
First off, if you’re struggling, it takes courage to seek help. A relapse is nothing to be ashamed of. We’re all human. We all screw up.
As a guy who has lost too many friends and loved ones recently to addiction and depression, I can promise you, no matter how low, there is hope.
Secondly, if you are someone who is struggling, I’m sorry to hear about the relapse. I’m not going to sugarcoat it, that sucks. Sometimes, despite our best efforts, life throws us a curveball and it takes us off guard.
I think of it like this…
A relapse to me is like gaining weight on a diet. Let’s say someone loses 100 pounds then gains 10 back. Does that mean they’re at square one? No. Does that negate all their progress? Of course not. They’re still 90 pounds better off than they were before!
Failure, at anything in life, is simply a learning opportunity.
Consider it this way…
To revisit the curveball analogy- if I go to the batting cages and I learn how to crush fastballs, I’m going to feel prety good about hitting. But then what happens when I see a curveball for the first time?
I’d likely miss- who wouldn’t?!
This leaves me with a choice- give up and quit going to the batting cages, or get back in the game and learn how to hit he crap out of that curveball as well. Then, once I master that, I’m an even better hitter now because I can hit anything life throws at me.
Very simply put, depression is often regretting the past. Anxiety is worrying about the future. The best way to live life is to learn from the past, and to take action today towards a better future.
To conclude, the moral of the story is this…
A relapse is not the end. If your odds of remaining sober on any given day were at 99 percent previous to the lapse, that’s pretty good. But sometimes, life happens, and now, it’s up to you: View it as “all or nothing” and start at zero, OR, raise your odds of sobriety to 99.9 percent because you’ve learned and grown from this experience. Again, the choice is yours.
I hope that this post can help people-whether you’re struggling, thriving, or just seeking answers- to keep things in perspective as to what it is to be in recovery. If you or anyone you know is feeling suicidal, or even just feel like they need someone to talk to, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. If it’s substance abuse, call 1-800-662-HELP (4357).
Again, I am truly proud of all those who have the courage to reach out for support. I believe in you personally, and I believe in the miracle of recovery. Relapse is often just a small speed bump on a long journey ahead.
Life is a gift. Live it to its fullest.