It’s hard for anyone to admit that they relapsed. Recently we have had a few relapses in our recovery community online. Advocates are no different than anyone else, this shit is hard. One of the arguments that I have heard of “going live” is that eventually one of us are going to relapse, one of us might die. They say that most of us aren’t qualified to step out in front of a camera and tell people how to cook a steak much less how to recover. Yes, it is true, some will relapse and it’s possible that someone could die but that doesn’t mean we should stop. Those things could happen regardless.
After the past month, I have to admit that I have done exactly what everyone worries about. I didn’t take any drugs, but I still relapsed all the same. The type of relapse I am speaking of is an emotional relapse. That might not be the right word but all I know is that before I knew what happen I looked up and realized I have been crying for a month. All I was doing was self-loathing and punishing myself for things I didn’t do, couldn’t control and wasn’t really involved in. Thankfully, I decided to speak up about what was going on and showed my vulnerability, even if it came out in anger.
The reason I share this is simple. It doesn’t matter what your role is in recovery, how long you’re clean or how immune you think you are shit happens. There are different kinds of relapses. Of course, you can relapse by using, but you can also relapse by:
- acting out in relationships
- self serving
Some of these other relapses can be just as dangerous as picking up your drug of choice. Mental health is key to our recovery. If you see someone in recovery struggling with a mental or character relapse, take it seriously. There are many other ways that addicts die every day besides overdose. There are countless suicides daily that no one attributes to addiction. There are many addicts that survive these nondrug-related relapses but destroy loved ones and friends with their insecurities.
The biggest message is this. These so-called “leaders” in recovery are just addicts like you. They feel all the same feelings that you do. They have bad days and good days, but just like us sometimes they have bad months. If you notice yourself going down the path of one of these types of relapse speak out. The biggest lessons that advocates have to teach is that they are human. Humans make mistakes and as long as you are honest about them, you will teach far more with your mistakes than you ever will with your success.
Be good to each other and stand up when something is wrong. Sometimes we have to be “negative” to do what is right. Turning the other cheek is great for a while. After you get punched twice, its time to fight.