Relapse during recovery doesn’t happen overnight. It happens over a period of time and can be as sneaky and insidious as the disease of codependency itself. It requires an awareness and a dedication to WANTING to stay well.
It ain’t easy. I came close the past week myself.
Tools to help aid in relapse prevention include all but are not limited to the following:
Meetings: This I can’t stress strongly enough. One of the first signs of relapse, for me, is wanting to isolate. I missed several of my regular meetings this past week, and I’m feeling it. I feel blah, stressed, “out of it”, not connected (oh really?), alone, lonely, and resentful. I know exactly why I started isolating, but that doesn’t make it any better. The only solution is to GET MY BUTT to a meeting, which I did yesterday, and am doing again tonight.
Meetings provide a much needed connection so we know we are not alone. They provide structure for us to share our stories, and get strength and hope to carry on. We can fellowship with other members before the meeting or after for coffee.
When I DON’T want to go to a meeting, that’s usually mostly when I know I NEED to get there. The urge to isolate is strong within me, and I have to fight it tooth and nail. Once I get there, I know I’ll feel better. It’s like – like an umbrella in the pouring rain, or that first cup of java in the morning. Nothing compares. 🙂
Sponsorship: It’s important to find the right fit in a sponsor, and there’s nothing wrong with having a temporary one, or even firing your first sponsor when you feel s/he is not right for you. “Fire” is such a strong word. When I ASK someone to be a sponsor, I don’t feel I have the right to FIRE them. But that’s the terminology.
Keeping in touch with my sponsor, whether it’s by phone or email, is crucial. I usually see her at meetings during the week, and we get together on Wednesday, except I begged off this past week (again, ISOLATING).
Literature: There is so much recovery literature to keep a person connected in between meetings. Between the Big Book of Al-Anon, Hope for Today, One Day At a Time in Al-Anon, and Courage to Change (just to name a few), there is absolutely no reason to fall into a funk of old ways and old thinking.
Telephone: Self-explanatory. Pick it up. Use it. Use the phone lists you have from meetings. I don’t use this when I isolate, and that’s a big mistake.
One day at a time. Right?
Peace out. 🙂