Let’s be honest, failing sucks. Regardless of what your goals are, it sucks to fall short. Everyone fails and though failure is never the goal, it can and should be viewed in a positive light.
Let’s take the struggling drug addict for example. It’s common to begin self-loathing after a relapse, but doing so isn’t intelligent. If you gave 110% and did everything you could possibly do to prevent the relapse there’s nothing to feel bad about.
Relapsing will temporarily set back your progress, but your brain chemistry will still have shifted towards that of a recovered addict. Even if you continue to fail on occasion, if you keep giving 110% every time you begin the recovery process you’ll eventually cease to be an addict.
Alternatively, if you relapse and you didn’t do everything in your power to prevent it, you still shouldn’t hate yourself for it. Self loathing will only diminish your self-esteem and steer you towards depression; both undesirable character traits for someone trying to recover.
In truth, the proper way to react after relapsing isn’t to be angry, or depressed. It’s to be driven. It’s fine to feel bad after regressing, but the focus shouldn’t be on the things you’ve done wrong. The focus should be on how you can make them right.
It’s during this time you should evaluate why you’re trying to recover. If you don’t have a powerful reason that drives you to be the best you can be possibly be, you’ll settle for mediocrity and continue to run in circles.
During this time you should also identify possible triggers. For example, if you’re an alcoholic, it’s probably best to avoid parties where alcoholic beverages are consumed; at least in the initial phases of recovery.
Another thing to do after relapsing is identify the causes of your disease. Often addictions are merely symptoms of a larger problem. Many alcoholics drink excessively simply because they don’t want to face the reality they’ve created for themselves.
The thing they don’t understand is that by denying their creation they’re only prolonging their suffering. If they were able to summon the courage to look at their realities and accept responsibility for their actions, their addiction would quickly diminish and cease to exist itself.
Recovery isn’t linear, but it should trend upward. If you don’t continue to improve over the long run you’re approaching some part of the process wrong.
It’s also important to realize that even if you’re stuck in a cycle of vicious behavior, you won’t be there forever. Regardless of your addiction, if people before you have gone on to recover and live lives of sobriety, you can too.
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