Relapse is Part of the Addiction Recovery Process
Relapse is a very common phenomenon in addictive behaviours. In fact, relapse is part of the addiction recovery process. It doesn’t mean something is wrong or that the thing you’re trying isn’t working or that you can’t be successful, it most often means that you’ve forgotten your new tools, or still need education in how to use them and so you’ve naturally defaulted to what is familiar in your approach to deal with stress or painful feelings at that time.
It takes time to develop the familiarity and trust required to implement new methods of coping.
In time it will be natural for you to respond rationally and reasonably to stressful situations rather than reverting to your old coping strategy.
But until you have the strength and trust in yourself to cope effectively in the new way, you will often utilize the coping strategy which has worked best for you in the past, even if you have a strong desire to behave differently.
What is most important is that you appreciate that relapse is to be expected and welcomed because it provides you with clear information about the situation at hand.
The process of recovery is going perfectly if, when you default to old coping strategies like drinking or binging or dieting you stop and take the time to identify what triggered you and take action to resolve that trigger. There is no need beat yourself up – in fact that just makes you feel worse and leads to greater stress and more likelihood of abandoning the recovery process all together.
You must remember that you use your coping strategy to cope with stress and until you have other more effective ways of managing stress and you also are able to greatly reduce the overall stress in your life you will naturally need your coping strategy.
So, cut yourself some slack. When you find yourself binging or getting caught thinking about how quickly you can lose weight just remind yourself:
“That’s my coping strategy and that means I’m stressed. What, separate from my coping strategy is stressing me out right now and what can I do about that?”
True, lasting recovery is build on solid self-esteem and clear, reasonable thinking. And you don’t get that by beating yourself up for using a coping strategy.
If you’re ready to change and you want to make is simple and fast, reach out and let me show you how we can help.