Why is it so easy for us to fall back into the trap of alcohol after we seemingly escaped for a time? And does that mean our success up to that point doesn’t count? Annie answers these questions with her message of “no judgment, pain or rules”. She reminds us that everyone’s journey is different and provides some great tips for how to avoid future relapses. She also explains why all success, even seemingly small success, should be celebrated.
What causes relapse?
Have you ever pondered relapse? What causes it? How do you deal with it and how do you prevent it from happening again? Do you think you have to reset the clock and start from day one when you relapse or does all your sober time consecutive or not count towards being sober?
I came into this writing my own book, based on my own journals, putting it out into the world and then I was introduced to this whole entire movement of recovery, which I hadn’t been aware of before. There are so many differing opinions and so many people who make you feel a certain way or as if you’re not doing something right. I think that’s really sad. I am of the belief that there is so much good in this movement and there is so much health. We should just really focus on loving and accepting each other despite our differences and beliefs. We will never all agree on what causes relapse.
My belief may very well be different than what you have believed but you have to find your own path. The last thing we should be doing is judging each other for whatever they’re doing in their personal life. We don’t understand so we can’t judge, and we just need to be here for each other supporting at all costs. So even my opinions, you know, take them with a grain of salt. All personal breakthroughs, all change in your life comes from a change in your belief systems and you believe that something’s not right and you have to change.
There isn’t a formula or a template and it’s certainly not somebody else telling you what’s right for you because that only goes so far. You know somebody can tell you their way of doing stuff and you can follow them to a point, but ultimately in your heart and your soul, in your decisions for your life, you need to change what you truly believe. The thing about beliefs is that when you form beliefs, you form them based on your experiences and your assumptions. They become something that you don’t question. Beliefs by definition are something that you don’t question. And the key to changing any beliefs is you have to start to doubt them. This is even true when it comes to your belief on what causes relapse. So, you change your beliefs by either creating doubt in the first place and then you associate what you want to change with something extremely pleasurable or many pleasurable things or something extremely negative and a huge amount of pain.
I think that while pain is probably one of the most effective ways to change because if it’s like a change or die situation then you will have all sorts of motivation to change. It can also fade when the pain goes away because a few months later you’re sober. Your life has started to get better. You’re starting to improve all relationships in your life, all aspects, your self-respect is coming back, and the memory of pain can fade away. I mean think about a time when you were really ill. It’s really hard to remember what exactly that felt like when you’re not actually in it.
I’m so thankful every day that I didn’t experience some tragedy because of my drinking or some deep rock bottom. Equally, I began to see and really convince myself and change my beliefs, create enough doubt that drinking wasn’t serving me to say okay, I want to reach a point in my life where I just don’t have time for that shit. I don’t have time to put that in my body. I have other things to do where alcohol becomes small and irrelevant and insignificant. You know there are some of the greatest, most inspiring, most influential people, in our country, in our world, they don’t drink. Why? Because why would they? Why would they do that to themselves? Why would they purposely ingest something that’s going to make them sick?
I think you can also really associate pleasure to this new life that you’re given, and I think it is a little bit more of a path that takes work because there’s a lot of mind thought that goes into it, a lot of consciousness, a lot of very quickly flipping your decision. It’s possible, but ultimately, I think it’s going to be a combination of the two. The path there is not linear and very often if you’ve stopped drinking and you’re starting to receive all of the benefits that that entails, and the pain can very quickly fade and drinking again usually quickly brings that pain back. Usually there is a huge amount of guilt. There’s a lot of self-loathing.
Listen to the entire podcast to really delve into what causes relapse and why counting days can be counterproductive.
Special music thank you to the Kevin MacLeod Funkorama (incompetech.com)
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