Recovery and breaking the cycle of addiction require adopting a number of principles that test the human condition: the courage to face your fear of a life without substances, open-mindedness to try a new way of life, and faith to trust that the path you are on will take you to a better life. Getting sober takes everything you’ve got, and when you get through the rough beginning, it’s beautiful. However, once you’ve maintained sobriety for some time, there’s a new principle that becomes vitally important, particularly for relapse prevention: consistency.
Consistency and Relapse Prevention
One skill that every person in recovery has to learn is how to be consistent; how to do the work of recovery throughout your life. To stay sober, you have to keep doing the things that got you there – day in and day out, week, after month, after year. For many people, this means going to meetings, working steps, working with your sponsor, applying the tools you’ve learned in your life, and more. The greatest relapse prevention is to keep “moving your feet.”
If hearing that you feel overwhelmed, please don’t be. This is why we do things “one day at a time.” It sounds like parental nagging, and for people who like to live outside the lines, it can feel claustrophobic. However, coming from fellow people in recovery, let it be all the more proof that it only takes “a little laziness” to be pulled back into the storm of addiction.
“Laziness” Can Happen Naturally
It’s very easy and happens almost automatically. In active addiction, you are hounded constantly by the need to use or drink. It hangs on you as the day goes by, guiding your thoughts and decisions. Even in your sleep, it echoes through the rough-edged dreams, the constant hustle to and from. It is a special kind of misery.
Mercifully, when you do the work of recovery, one day at a time, shifting the weight of your attention from the disease to healing, finally, one day, maybe while eating lunch, you realize you have not been thinking about altering your mind in any way with substances. This is an incredible feeling and a blessing. It is hopefully the beginning of a long, fruitful recovery that progresses ever further from the pain of addictive thoughts.
That’s When You Need Relapse Prevention
But that’s the rub – you are no longer in constant pain, and you have finally gotten some peace. You can sleep through the night. We start to enjoy things in life again. At this point, it is easy just to kick back and enjoy being obsession-free.
You’ve worked hard; now it’s time to enjoy your accomplishments. Maybe you can, for a while. The problem is that doing these things – going to meetings, working with the therapist, talking to your sponsor – is the strange (but miraculous) reason your obsession has abated. If you stop taking action, at some point when your guard is down, it comes back. When that happens, if you haven’t stuck with the program, you are defenseless.
Ever wonder why relapse rates are so high? This is certainly one of the reasons. When you are no longer in pain, it’s natural to stop taking your medicine. This is particularly true when that medicine isn’t just swallowing a pill but requires you to attend meetings regularly, do the hard work of self-improvement, and face your fears. When you begin to feel too confident that you’ve “got this,” you might be in trouble.
The Work of Recovery Is More Than Just a Treatment
Recovery is a lifelong journey. A rule of thumb to consider: they say you should spend at least two-thirds of the energy on recovery that you spent pursuing substances. For many people, that adds up to a lot of action. This is beauty in this fact, though. “The unexamined life is not worth living” is a quote attributed to the greek teacher Socrates, and it resonates in the life of someone in recovery. So much of recovery involves living the examined life, taking the time to appreciate what you have, and identifying the ways you can be better.
Everyone would benefit from the work people in recovery do for themselves. The only difference is if people in recovery want to stay healthy, they have to do it. If you have ever heard someone say, “I’m grateful to have been an alcoholic,” that’s what they mean. It forced them to experience life on a deeper level, and part of that is the consistency they have in their lives now. That’s a true gift. So how do you make sure you don’t lose your way?
Destiny Recovery Center, Relapse Prevention, and Aftercare
At Destiny Recovery Center (DRC), we know how important it is to remain active in your recovery, but we also know how challenging it can be. We work with each client, incorporating their needs and life situation to build the treatment and aftercare plan that works for them. With our help, clients make the connections they need to build a life that works with recovery, not against it, tailoring treatment from detoxification to sober living.
We know what it’s like to have life pulling you in different directions while trying to focus on recovery. That’s why we make things as easy and doable as possible. We believe in the idea that anything you put before your sobriety, you will lose. That said, we also know that losing a job or a place to live is counterproductive. Striking the right balance of life and recovery takes expert planning. Fortunately, at DRC, we can provide exactly that.
Everyone in recovery loses focus from time to time. It’s only human. People with happy lives in recovery are persistent, not perfect. Recovery is often a journey of getting on the right path, losing your way, realizing your mistake, and returning to what works. The important thing is not to try and do it alone. At Destiny Recovery Center, we are always here to help. If you or someone you love are struggling with drugs or alcohol, there is hope. Our only goal is to help people change their lives for the better. Don’t spend another day thinking there is no way forward. Reach our today and call (909) 413-4304 for more information.