Let me start with my favorite place to start with almost every subject: Everything in the universe is made up of energy, even thoughts. Thoughts, when speedily moving in autopilot neural networks, build up momentum for a person, which they often lead to actions.
In the case of the addict (or alcoholic), the energy of thought patterns could be described and is often labeled in many recovery circles, as dis-eased. The neurons so patterned to respond traumatically to a wide variety of triggers, require a large amount of attention to heal and repattern both the brain and the psychosomatic system. In other words, recovery is a process that requires daily, if not hourly, if not minute-by-minute attention to what is occurring within an individual. Where awareness goes, healing follows.
Do addicts and alcoholics choose to sabotage their health and happiness for one more run, do they realize the impact of using again and blaze forward belligerently, with a big f*** you to the world? Rarely. No, this is habitual response slipping through, in a moment of vulnerability. Often relapses come from caring too much actually, too much about others, expectations, perceived obligations, etc. and not enough about one’s own well-being, in times of vulnerability.
Relapse is a byproduct of conditioned addiction patterns, pervasive in nature and magnetic in their hold of a person’s attention. They picked up a thought, not realizing the implications of continuing down a particular point of focus, enough energy was either spent in fighting, resisting, or focusing in opposition to recovery, that it manifested as a relapse, often unconsciously.
But much like a cancer patient attempting to heal through different modalities, sometimes a relapse, when paired with reformed intention, can lead to more powerful clarity around what works and doesn’t work for a person. In this article, I’ll explore some relapse prevention tips, some early warning signs of a possible relapse ensuing, and some tips to cope if a relapse has occurred.
Relapse Prevention Tips
One of the first prevention tactics that can be used to strengthen patterns of recovery and avoid relapse is to recognize mental and emotional relapse- signs that you are headed in a destructive direction, long before an actual substance is picked up. Some of the signs of emotional and mental relapse are:
• continuous anxiety, intolerance, anger, and defensiveness
• mood swings
• poor self-care habits
• thinking a lot about people, places, and circumstances you used to use around
• glamorizing the past
• consistently find yourself in a fight, flight, or freeze mode
There are many factors that play into the emergence of these signs; triggering circumstances, relationships, slipping into old ways of thinking, trying to rush the organic process of growth.
The most important factor in preventing relapse is to be aware of these guideposts that tell you that something needs attention. And how could you decipher what it is exactly that needs attention? Here are some processes to try, at the first sign of imbalance, that can significantly improve your chances of staying on track and growing the good stuff:
• Sleep, one of the most healing practices in the history of existence- drifting into dreamland, where rest that is craved is actually manifested. This includes sleep at any hour, including cat naps, as well as good long full nights of sleep. If anyone has trouble sleeping, I highly recommend searching for sleep meditations and binaural beats for sleep, as well as sleep hypnosis on youtube. These are magical aids for lulling to sleep those with troublesome sleep patterns.
• Move through things- process any energy that is arising- talk through it, walk through it, exercise through it, right through it, work through it. The more we allow life to arise and flow through us, the less shaken we become when it moves through more intensely.
• Distraction- there are so many relatively healthy means to distract yourself from any negative momentum, even if just for a small amount of time, to give your brain a break. Think games, videos, hobbies like making music or playing a sport, socializing with positive people. Anything that provides a little distraction can help give you a break from destructive thought patterns and provide a bit of respite for refocusing and allowing new inspiration in.
• Take it 15 minutes at a time. If you can wrap your head around a very small chunk of time, decide what you’re going to do and let yourself forget everything else, this can be a powerful catalyst for further presence, surrender, and all sorts of opening that allow greater divine assistance and recovery inspiration to flow.
• Make relaxation a part of your recovery- All the parts of us are connected; mind, body, and spirit. When we pay attention to relaxation, it can influence the state of our minds and spiritual connectedness. If you can prioritize relaxation as though equating it with a medicine that needs to be taken to clear symptoms, that would be very beneficial for addicts and alcoholics. So many of us used substances to relax. You can gradually repair the natural abilities to relax and let go, through practice and attention. With practice, you can allow the unconditional freedom to choose a better feeling state to be accessed and strengthened.
If a relapse does occur:
We are in an age in which the entire planet is rising in vibrational frequency. It is an intense time to be in existence, a bountiful time, a beautiful time, and a time with strong and fast currents of energy.
The powerful momentums, both of blissful remembrance, and unconscious patterning can sweep you up in a heartbeat if you don’t pay attention. Is this something to scorn ourselves for or ridicule those who have buckled under the pressure? Absolutely not, this is a time of compassion, of acceptance leading to change, rather than needing a change in order to accept things.
If you or a loved one has relapsed, don’t despair, you can grow your recovery again. You are just a few clicks away from getting help. Click here If you have survived a relapse and are needing support for your recovery. Click here to support your loved one who has survived a relapse. Everyone gets a new chance, every day, every moment where awareness is present.
The most important stance is love and encouragement to get back on the horse of freedom and recovery. This is not to encourage any sort of enabling or withholding emotion. There will be disappointment and frustration, and turbulence in relationships, most likely, but as soon as possible if we return to the knowledge that there still is hope for all involved and that there are always opportunities for further growth and understanding, then we can begin to allow the creation of an amended reality; A reality in which we are stronger, more aware, and more prepared to stay centered on the ever-evolving goal. With this mentality, we can foster freedom and thrive, in more and more circumstances, through whatever may come our way.