Suggestions for Relapse Prevention and Recovery
DEFINITION re-lapse (verb)
We believe that our addiction is a disease; a disease from which we can recover one day at a time. As with any other disease, the potential for relapse is very real and deadly. The greatest difference between our disease and say, that of cancer, is we have a choice. It's with this fact in mind that we of Cocaine Anonymous wish to offer our experience as it relates to relapse - both prevention and recovery.
1) ABSTINENCE - We suggest that any person desiring recovery abstain from the use of any mind-altering substances. We have found that as addicts, we possess an uncanny ability to switch drugs. Again, addiction is not the drug, it is the disease.
2) TRIGGERS - Many of us weren't aware of those things that prompted our use. We view these as triggers, some of which are as follows:
PLACES - In recovery, we found it wise to be aware of our motives for being in certain places. Most of us found it necessary to stay away from clubs, parties, rock houses, pool halls and other places where we used.
PEOPLE - It's difficult to understand, but necessary to do, and that is to stay away from our using friends. We had to be mindful that they too are sick and at no time are we stronger in our recovery than they are in their disease. They have the power to trigger our relapse by and through their behavior.
DEALING - Here, many of us face a dilemma. We were addicted to the money and the excitement. We dealt for power and for control. Many of us relapse because we lost sight of our lack of personal power.
3) MEETINGS - We suggest a meeting a day for newcomers. We also suggest a meeting whenever you don't feel like you need one. We have found that WHEN WE DON'T WANT TO GO is WHEN WE DO NEED TO GO. Again, meetings are where our collective experience, strength and hope are shared.
4) KEEPING IN TOUCH - Keeping in touch with a sponsor or friend in recovery is an ideal way of keeping your focus on recovery.
5) HUNGRY - Don't get too hungry. While Cocaine Anonymous has no opinion on outside issues, we have found that it's difficult to maintain emotional balance without the aid of eating regularly throughout the day.
6) ANGRY - It is said that this emotion is best left up to those better equipped to deal with it. As people in recovery, we have found that lingering anger, whether justified or not, is better left to others. There is no shorter course to getting loaded than a run with anger and resentment.
7) LONELY - It's been our experience that an addict alone by himself is the worst possible company. Again, we suggest meetings and fellowship. For those of us who isolated behind closet and bathroom doors or tin-foiled windows, being around others is at first an unnerving experience.
After we tried it, and sincerely gave it some time, we found a new freedom and friendships that we never dreamed possible.
8) TIRED - It took some time for many of us to reach regular sleep habits. While it's not known of people dying of lack of sleep, we do know of many instances where a tired addict reached for that bump or jump-start and relapsed.
9) ACTION/WORK - Again, we say that it's a rare case where someone actually working the steps has relapsed. We have found that as long as our focus is on the steps and the action required to work them, relapse is a remote, rare thought.
10) PHRASES - These simple sayings or prayers have helped many of us through those times:
This Too Shall Pass
The Serenity Prayer
First Things First
One Day At A Time
Let Go and Let God
11) SIGNS OF RELAPSE - The following are some of the signs that have preceded relapses:
What if I do relapse?
1. Call your sponsor, helpline or other sober member of Cocaine Anonymous. Stay in touch.
2. Keep going to meetings. The only requirement is a desire to stop using.
3. Keep affirming your desire by getting newcomer chips.
4. Remember, no matter what... KEEP COMING BACK!
Allow us to love you until you can love yourself.
It does work!
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