Monday, May 26, 2014

Lapse, Not Relapse

Relapse isn't something that just randomly happens.

There's a whole cycle the addict brain goes through before actually committing a relapse. It goes something like this: 

1. Trigger
2. Pre contemplation
3. Contemplation
4. Action

My brain has been going a million miles an hour the past week in full relapse mode. Today, I wrote down each trigger that got me all the way to step 3 over the weekend. To the point that I had a plan in place to take action and fully relapse. I began to be stressed. Then easily irritated. Then withdraw. Then feeling like I am living in secret or moving into my old double life. Then, making myself physically sick. Then wishing that I could escape the pain in my body. This cycle can make a person crazy. It actually makes me begin to judge myself for relapsing, even though I haven't even taken action. It takes me to a dark spot. A dark place in my memory that I used to be familiar with every single day last year. I hate that feeling. I hate feeling trapped by drugs that I haven't even taken since last November. 

I feel so lucky that I can now catch myself. Trace my steps. Stop myself before I actually act. Understand that I am literally fighting my own biochemistry. That's why treatment is so important. It teaches me how to work with myself. I have learned to ride through the waves of the relapse cycle, rather than be swallowed up by the familiar tsunami of a full relapse. I can catch myself, and take the steps necessary to prevent further action. Instead of feeling out of control of my actions, I feel completely in control by taking the action to prevent relapse. 

The thing that's hard for me is to realize that a lapse is perfectly normal. A lapse is something that I am still learning to work with and forgive myself for. It's crazy how quickly I begin to speak negatively toward myself and treat myself as if I have relapsed. A lapse is when my I am fighting my brain chemistry through the steps and stopping before action. Relapse is action. Even if I had used, there's a huge difference between lapsing and getting back up before it gets any worse, and fully relapsing to the point where I am no longer in control.  I am still trying to teach myself that talking negatively to myself won't get me through the relapse cycle. It's the positive self talk and motivation I can give myself that is going to give me freedom. This quote is a great quote for recovery and life in general: 

"A negative mind will never give you a positive life."

The mind is a powerful thing- for good or for bad. I just need to learn how to treat myself better and positively talk to myself when I am fighting my own brain for days or weeks at a time.

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