The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines relapse as to slip or fall back into a former or worse state. For the addict, this means a return to drug use and the destruction that follows. The question is, when the urge to use appears, why is it that the addict chooses drugs over recovery? Why is it that the addict chooses destruction over opportunity? When we think the world is being unfair and have lost faith in ourselves and others, why do we choose to fall backward rather than forward?
The ability to escape reality quickly is the attraction of drugs and alcohol. There is no denying the speed at which drugs take-away the sting of life is much faster than any tool or support group recovery might provide. Understanding this fact is key to understanding recovery. To find sustainable recovery, an addict must concede that the instantaneous relief that drugs and alcohol provide will never be replaced and that recovery was never designed to be that quick reprieve from the everyday problems of life. Like it or not, life is about experiencing and acting on the good and bad it delivers. As addicts, we never learned how to deal appropriately with our feelings and emotions. When problems arose, we found it much easier to avoid and blame. This stalled our maturity both mentally and emotionally. In recovery, we begin to relearn how to conquer those hurdles that get in our way. The more hurdles we conquer, the more confidence, satisfaction, and understanding for life we gain. It is this new state of mind that inspires us to take on the challenges of life responsibly; or fall forward. While there is no “correct” way to fall forward, there are several crucial components to it. You are unique, and how you take care of yourself is exclusive to you. However, these five requirements of falling forward must be part of your recovery plan – every one of them.
Accept that the immediate comfort drugs and alcohol created cannot be replaced, nor is the suppression of feelings ever a healthy solution. Falling forward means you learn to accept, understand, and process feelings and emotions in a responsible manner. Developing this ability provides the growth and maturity needed to become the person you want to be. Be patient and open-minded about how you choose to process the hurt, sorrow, pain, or joy you are experiencing.
Never isolate or fail to communicate the feelings that have been generated. Happiness, sadness, grief, pain, and every other emotion must be released in a healthy manner. There is no shame in showing emotion or releasing feelings; it is part of being human. The energy emotions create is very powerful, and if released correctly, they thrust your life forward in positive ways.
Use your supports! No one can treat themselves when life delivers a mighty blow. We need others to help us process the emotions life generates, and we often need the help of a professional. Isolating or failing to communicate will only fuel your addiction. Learning to communicate quickly and often when the desire to use appears is critical to falling forward.
Be honest and hold no secrets. The heart and soul are all-knowing and know when you are holding back. A lack of honesty weakens your foundation in recovery and strengthens your addiction. To fall forward, your foundation in life and recovery must be stronger than your addiction, and this starts with absolute honesty.
Understand that feelings are not facts. You want to distance the feelings generated by the situation from the facts of it. It is always possible to find a solution if you are dealing with the facts. Trying to solve problems that are based on emotion rather than fact, is very hard to do.
ABOUT CHOICE RECOVERY
Choice Recovery offers intensive outpatient and outpatient services to those struggling with substance abuse. Our addiction treatment programs are offered in the morning, evening, and via telehealth. We offer groups, individual counseling, case management, and coaching to clients. We are located in Mesa, Arizona near the Tempe/Mesa border and accept AHCCCS insurance. For more information, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call us at 480-527-0337.