Since I’ve gone to treatment I’ve had many Healthy Relationships (friends in sobriety) relapse. Numbers are out there and they’re not in our favor. Relapse happens whether you like to talk about it or not. Problems arise and people isolate, they dig themselves in that trench of shame, resentment, guilt etc… Hell I’ve even relapsed in the past.
I was seeing this girl that started back in 2005 and by 2006 in October we had a daughter. Was I ready? nope…. Was I scared? YES!! I was young as well. I was 23 and I was not equipped. I didn’t want to be the first out of our house hold of boys that would have a child but fate had other plans. I am not saying that I don’t love my daughter with all my heart, I was just young and scared. Back in 2007 things had gotten pretty bad between my girlfriend and I and we were fighting a lot. She was a nursing student that latched on to an emotionally unavailable person like myself and I was taking advantage of her willingness to help me and we forged our relationship on that basis. It wasn’t gonna work out without realizing a few key important things and they would never be resolved until later in life. It had gotten to the point that she was moving out for opportunities in schooling in Prince George, she obviously stopped because our daughter happened and I knew she wanted to get back to it. What I didn’t know was that it was her way out of this relationship. I had to do some drastic changes to better myself so I quite drinking and started to go to AA in the small town where I lived. She then moved to Richmond with my daughter giving me no say in the matter, I really had to step up in working in myself. The thing was I thought that if I quite drinking long enough for her to see I was making an effort, that she would come back with my daughter. That was the mistake in my sobriety at the time, we can all see it. I didn’t do it for “me”. She never came back and I never got to see my daughter again. I relapsed because I thought what was the point anyways? I don’t usually talk about my daughter because of all the shame, grief and abandonment that surrounds this whole idea of her. I was shameful that I couldn’t be a decent father, there was no manual and I felt like I was doing everything wrong. The abandonment was her mother taking her away so I felt it in a way I was left high and dry and that hurt considerably to my core. The grief I didn’t realize ’till I went to treatment was the not seeing my daughter again, 12 years and counting and I know how I dealt with it. I drank, I lashed out or silenced when her name came up to make people know I didn’t want to talk about it. I manipulated those around me to not speak about her or they would pay the consequences and that’s just not right, at the time its all I knew.
So I know how it feels like to relapse, its shame for those around thinking that I had turned my back on myself. Its unbelievable shame towards myself, its the pity pot that we dwell ourselves in, its just not a good feeling cause so much around it comes crashing down in an instance. I really feel for those that are going through it cause what it means, hope is lost in ourselves.
So if the numbers are against us in recovery than what can we do? We build numbers in support which includes healthy relationships, counseling, family encouragement, friend encouragement, bosses and work places that will encourage, Plan B for every outing we consider going to that would involve drinking or using around it, phone numbers, self talk, and what I use….Going back to the basics of why I quite in the first place. We have ample opportunities in giving ourselves a chance.
What about our ego/pride? This is a tricky one for myself because I hold on to a lot of pride, this would be a learning thing. Learn your not alone in your story, there are many like your story and many before you have come out on top. Fellowship is a great way to listen to others talk about what happened to them and how they dealt with their own. Learn that ego and pride will let your self down fast and by letting it go, your bettering your chances to be able to reach out for the help you need. Reach out even when it feels uncomfortable, I can not stress this one enough.
Those are a few that I can think of that are big ones and I felt the need to write about this because I have had people around me relapse. They cannot know that it ends like this and that there are options. Knowing what comes from the other side, I do not want this to happen. I was telling my buddy I have 9 months behind me and getting here was hard enough. I don’t think I’d ever come back out of that shame talk to myself. I would obviously but I don’t want to walk that road in my mind yet because I’m so stubborn that relapse is not an option, I ripped that page out a long time ago. I am grateful for the struggles in my journey cause they’ve taught me a lot and relapse is not a struggle, its a choice. I really feel for those around me that have to go down that road, it was their higher power that needed them to see that and that’s their journey they must take. life is a teaching lesson, we don’t learn my doing right all the time.
Lastly I have an article in my room that I’ve kept from the mens shelter early last summer. It reads Relapse is part of Addiction. For a time I believed this cause it teaches us. I was far from wrong….. It was a Wednesday that we graduated and parted from Round Lake treatment Center, a beautiful late summer afternoon in September with all the good byes and fare wells with other peers that we had shared so much with in our 6 week endeavor. We would call, text and Facebook each other if anything happened and remain friends for a long time. The stories we heard from each other, being vulnerable and open was a test that we all validated and shared with each other. My friend lasted 3 days and when I found out he had relapsed I was torn emotionally feeling like I was floating like a ghost, I didn’t matter and I didn’t want to be seen. My friend left behind their friends and family. This was tragic and uncomfortable for the rest of us because it brought out how real this addiction was, it was in our face and now we really knew the consequences. I pray for him and his circle all the time still and I pray for my fellow treatment friends everyday so they may walk the red road or get back on the red road to recovery. I don’t believe the article anymore, I took it down cause its false hope for people thinking one more time couldn’t hurt. It can change everything…..