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Disassociating Relapse with Failure

Many of us recovering from addiction, and especially those of us who have relapsed, often associate the pain of relapse with having failed ourselves and the people we care about. We feel embarrassed, ashamed and disappointed in ourselves that we’ve failed at reaching our goals of sobriety. We feel we’ve let everyone in our lives down. Our sense of failure hits us hard and stays with us for quite some time, feeling like a weight we carry around and can’t seem to unburden ourselves of. It might help us to get back on track to stop associating relapse with failure since the heaviness, sadness, and shame of having failed seem to hold us back more than they serve us.

When we beat ourselves up for having failed, we’re doing the opposite of motivating and uplifting ourselves. We don’t feel encouraged. We don’t feel inspired to try again, to work harder or to make the necessary changes in our lives. We feel down on ourselves. We feel inclined to want to give up. We feel exhausted and depleted of our energy and motivation. We’re treating ourselves with harsh judgment, criticism, and condemnation. We’re putting ourselves down rather than lifting ourselves up.

When we make a mistake or do something wrong, our instincts are often to find fault, assign blame and then punish ourselves. We might serve our recovery much better if we instead looked for solutions to the problem rather than piling on more difficult feelings on top of an already growing list of painful things we’re dealing with. We might feel much better if we brainstormed action steps to get back on track with our recovery goals after relapsing. We might feel stronger and more empowered if we gave our energy to figuring out how we can get ourselves out of this predicament, and to find preventive measures to ensure another relapse doesn’t happen.

Thinking of ourselves and our relapse as failures only cause us to feel worse about ourselves, and as addicts, we often will turn to our drugs of choice when we’re feeling down, insecure and ashamed. We seek comfort and solace in the very things we’re trying to quit. That is one of the reasons why our dependence is so strong because we’ve been relying on our drugs of choice to soothe our emotional pain, our broken self-esteem and painful feelings of inadequacy and unworthiness. Let’s give ourselves a better chance of staying the course in our sobriety by being kinder and gentler with ourselves, by offering ourselves more compassion and understanding, and by showing ourselves more patience. Addiction recovery and the pain of relapse are complicated and difficult. Labeling ourselves failures for having relapsed only compounds and exacerbates our pain. Let’s love ourselves more instead and cheer ourselves on. Let’s affirm that we’re getting stronger, that we’re empowering ourselves to make healthier choices, and that we’re growing in resilience and willpower to become our best, healthiest, happiest selves.

At The Guest House Ocala, you will be treated with dignity, respect, and compassion. Call 855-483-7800 today for more information on our treatment programs.