About Relapse and Addiction: You are not your addiction. Your addiction is a condition that affects your brain.
About relapse and addiction. Your brain is the organ that takes up most of the space in your head. Along with managing the basic functions of your body that keep you alive and moving, it also generates thoughts. Your brain is presenting you with thousands thoughts continuously throughout the day. When your brain has been altered by the condition of addiction, many of these thoughts will be dangerous lies that try to convince you to take more drugs. These thoughts will rationalize and convince and try to motivate you to take complex actions that involve finding, buying, preparing and consuming drugs. Think of all the work it takes to do all of that, just to get more drugs into your body. It takes a lot of work to poison yourself.
When your brain lies to you, you want to believe it.
It seems like the easiest path to follow. You want to sink into the satisfying feeling of getting high one more time. But, after falling for these lies over and over, you start to see them for what they are. You know that it is not going to be OK if you take more drugs and that you are going to suffer again. You also know that you won’t be able to stop until you hurt yourself or someone stops you. And, you know that starting again could end with your death.
It is helpful to be aware of what your brain is doing.
This is called mindfulness. Quietly observe the thoughts that come from your brain and let them go. Don’t hold on to them or obsess over them. Your brain thinks just like your heart beats. It is just what it does. You don’t have to act on dangerous lies that are produced out of the sick part of your brain. Let these thoughts go. Don’t entertain them. You might feel physically sick at first. You may think you need to follow through with it to feel better. Don’t do it. To read more about mindfulness, I recommend this book (click here). This book is not specifically about relapse and addiction, but it explains much about mindfulness.
Relapse is common.
People with the disease of addiction relapse all the time. In the long run, it might help to have one more story of suffering to hold on to when those addiction thoughts come up again. When your brain says you should go get high, you can tell it to remember the last twenty times you tried that and each of the disasters that followed. It never ends up good. You know that. The problem with relapse is that it could very well be your last relapse. No one goes into a relapse with a plan to die. Everyone starts a relapse with a plan to just get high one last time. The people who die only planned to get high just one more time.
As you stay clean for longer periods of time, the addictive, dangerous thoughts will subside.
You will have less and less of them over time. It might not seem like it in the beginning, but it makes sense. If you don’t feed the addiction, it gets weaker and nearly dies. It never goes away completely, but it will get easier over time to live with it.
It is important to always remember, that if you get high again, you wake up your addiction again and it comes back at full strength. It’s like working hard for years to climb out of a deep hole and then jumping right back in again. Going to a therapist regularly and going to group support meetings can help to remind you that even when things are good and you have put your drug using way behind you, you still must remain vigilant.
If you do relapse, don’t think that it is the end and you might as well keep going, using drugs, until the end. It is never too late to stop using drugs and try again. But, before you decide to relapse, remember what you are getting yourself into. Remember the suffering from all of the other times. Use those memories of suffering to help you to not fall for the lies of addiction.
I recommend, for further reading, look up the chapter in the NA Basic Text on relapse. You can pick up a copy in a local NA meeting or you can find it on Amazon (click here).
If you would like to learn more about relapse and addiction and opioid detox from drugs such as heroin and pain pills with Suboxone, medication assisted treatment, call Mark Leeds, D.O. today at 954-776-6226 in Fort Lauderdale and Broward County.