Addiction, they say, is cunning, baffling, and powerful. THEY are RIGHT! But since they are so right, why is it so hard to grasp the seriousness of relapse? People work extremely hard in programs, rehabs, and even in the detox levels of recovery. Their loved ones sometimes, are working with them mostly from a distance, and have expectations that there will be a new person arriving when the time has come. Deciding to get sober, doesn’t land you on an easy road. The journey begins with so much insecurity, many people that have stepped on the trail, step right back out as if the road were made of hot coals. They just aren’t willing to handle all of that yet. There is much work that goes into being abstinent from a “drug of choice.” A lot of addicts tend to make the road harder than it has to be. Addicted people hit that road running, but are carrying selfishness, manipulation, trauma, unsettled fears, mental health issues (either pre-active using days or a new disorder brought on by using), physical and emotional pain, anger, and other behaviors or attitudes that tend to be barriers. On the other hand, sometimes, they’re just not ready to let go of the demonic hold of drugs and alcohol. In their minds, at least when they use, they it is familiar. They know what to expect.
The folks that are prepared to fight the battle, because they’ve been fighting a battle much worse, are still walking on shaky legs. The ground underneath them does not feel firm, but they’ve had enough so much that- anything is better than what they’ve already put themselves through. Once that battle has been won, and the treatment has begun, hope arrives. Faith showed up in the smallest amount, and hope came tagging along. With those two things together, a person seeking help and a new life can begin to gain courage. Courage isn’t easy to have. Courage comes like muscles do when an athlete commits to a training program. Courage is built as one commits to a program of abstinence. Commitment is everything. And acceptance is the cherry on top.
Making sure to adhere to some simple measures can help save a sick and suffering addict. First change or simply stay away from, people, places, and things. Yes, that’s right! Birds of a feather, flock together. It’s true. If yoy hang around long enough, things don’t seem as harmful. Don’t use anything that is mind or mood altering. Don’t switch one habit into another habit. And most importantly, go after sobriety as if your life depends on it, because it does! Some people feel invincible if they have never experienced an overdose. But they shouldn’t be fooled. I’ve met many that forgot once they left a program of recovery, or a treatment center, or sober home, the amount they used to get high prior to treatment, is not the same amount now required to get high– and some of them OD’d. God bless their souls and their families, but people aren’t always willing to listen, or ready to quit. If you know someone, don’t be discouraged. It can get better, if they truly want it to. And don’t forget, that as badly as you want them to have a healthy and happy life, you cannot fix them.
Remind your loved ones that are fresh on the recovery journey, to “take it easy.” Tell them to take care of themselves– by eating right/healthy, getting enough rest, doing maintenance to stay “recovery fit.” Suggest that they get in touch with sober supports possibly through AA/NA or CA groups. It wouldn’t hurt for the involved loved ones to join a Codependency group (yes, they have those too) or Al-Anon. If you are close to the person suffering with the addiction(s), you may truly need to seek help and support for yourself. If they have had traumatic experiences, encourage your loved one to take care of their mental health. A bad mental health day can turn into a bad relapse or mental breakdown. You don’t want to preach or chase anyone away, but you also don’t want them to go back to using right away. If they stay sober for a little while early on, they may like it and actually do what it takes to remain sober. This is for all of you family members, spouses, children and friends. We know you all are affected by the disease of addiction as well. You are there.