Sometimes our complacence in recovery comes from our success. We’ve successfully managed to get sober. We’ve been regularly attending therapy sessions and support group meetings. We’ve stayed in contact with our sponsor. We start to think that because we’ve been doing so well, we can afford to let ourselves relax. Some of us may even be tempted to reward ourselves for all of our hard work by easing up on our strictness and allowing ourselves a drink, or a night out, partying with friends. We might think that because we’ve been doing so well, we can ease up on ourselves and stop being so diligent in our work. We quickly find ourselves falling back into old patterns of engaging with people we know are toxic for us, drinking or using drugs again, starting up old harmful behaviors we worked so hard to stop. We might stop going to therapy or group meetings. We might lose touch with our sponsor. We stop holding ourselves accountable, we stop counting sober days, and we’re no longer keeping ourselves on track with our goals.
The disappointment, shame and regret that return are feelings that are all too familiar for us. We might feel even more urgency to turn to our drugs of choice to drown them out and avoid having to feel them all over again. Our inability to stay dilient with our recovery program has now resulted in catastrophic consequences – the pain of relapsing and further hurting ourselves and our loved ones. We have to pick ourselves back up, and recommit, once again, to our sobriety. We can help ourselves stay on track with our sobriety by making a concerted effort to be fully involved in our recovery.
Full involvement means tackling our recovery as if it were a full-time commitment, as if our life depends on it, because it does. Our health, our well-being, our happiness, our safety, our future are all contingent upon our ability to stay sober. Being fully involved in our recovery means continuing to go to therapy even when we’re feeling as though we’re doing fine, even when we’re having more good days than bad, even when we feel like every last issue has been resolved. There will always be factors that might trip us up, triggers that might cause us to feel more anxiety than normal, or things that might contribute to our depression and our addictive urges and compulsions. There might always be people in our lives who get under our skin and make us feel like we need to drink or use in order to cope with them. There might always be tough life situations that feel unmanageable that we’re tempted to use our drugs of choice to manage. We might always have mental and emotional pain that we want to escape, distract ourselves from and numb ourselves to. Our patterns of self-medicating have been going on for so long, and are so ingrained in our subconscious minds, that it doesn’t take much to make us fall right back into those old self-harming patterns that we might have thought we had moved past but are always lurking right under the surface of our consciousness.
Staying fully involved in our recovery means enlisting the support of other people to help us stay accountable, to them but most importantly to ourselves. It means asking our sponsor to check in with us if they haven’t heard from us in awhile. It might mean asking friends and family members to help us keep substances out of our homes, and to help us stay away from people who aren’t a good influence on our sobriety. It might mean continuing therapy long after we don’t think we need it anymore, or going to meetings even when we’ve been sober a long time. It takes our full commitment to our recovery program, and our total involvement in the work we’re doing, to battle such a formidable illness as addiction. We owe it to ourselves to give it our all.
Riverside Recovery is a drug and alcohol treatment center offering a full continuum of care for people suffering from addiction and co-occurring mental health disorders. Call us today for more information: (800) 871-5440.