Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Combating Relapse For the Holidays!
By Peter S. Lopez ~aka Peta


Update: December 25, 2007 ~ Christmas Day
Main Entry: 1re•lapse
Pronunciation: ri-'laps, 'rE-"
Function: noun
Etymology: Middle English, from Medieval Latin relapsus, from Latin relabi to slide back, from re- + labi to slide -- more at SLEEP
1: the act or an instance of backsliding, worsening, or subsiding
2: a recurrence of symptoms of a disease after a period of improvement
The real reason for the Christmas Holiday season is to celebrate the birth of Our Lord Jesus Christ of Nazareth, not for corporate profits and drunken parties. The Holidays are a special time of the year, starting up with Thanksgiving in November, celebrating Christmas time in December and then ending with New Year’s Eve. It should be a joyful season for spending quality time together with family, loved ones and close friends, not fist fights and going to jail behind DUIs.

The Holidays can be dangerous tough times for recovering drug addicts working an honest sober recovery program designed to overcome the deadly disease of substance addiction. These times usually involve home parties with lots of alcohol being served and other harmful drugs going around. Some who are not drug-alcohol addicts may indulge themselves and that is fine for them, but not for those of us in recovery. Smart hosts of these holiday affairs should have plenty of non-alcoholic beverages available, such as, water, soda and fruit juices, and not insist on having a guest take an alcoholic drink and unwind because, after all, it is the Holidays and they should get into ‘the Holiday spirit’. Some sober fools who are suppose to be in recovery still exhibit an addict’s mentality and think they can take a break, indulge in their poison of choice and get back into recovery after the Holidays. We cannot afford the luxury of a holiday from recovery and expect to just casually pick up where we left off at after the holidays.

We must not forget that we are suffering from the evil effects of substance addiction, especially in early recovery when our resistance to our habitual drug of choice is weak. It is imperative for us to stay sober one day at a time and continue working our program no matter what time of year it is or what is going on around us. The Holidays come and go, but the spiritual struggles of living sober in our continued recovery go on all year around.

The affliction of chemical addiction is a progressive disease that only gets worst over time as it increases in amount, damage and severity from casual use, to chronic abuse and then full-blown addiction. Our recovery should be positive, productive and progressive as we stay sober, get healthy and move forward as mature functional adults. We need a progressive recovery program to combat a progressive deadly disease. It’s that simple!

We must stay on guard and be extra careful in our comings and goings in order to avoid any sudden slip that can easily lead to a severe relapse back down into the darkness of our disease. After being in a ‘dope fiend’ life-style the ‘stinkin’ thinkin’ and destructive impulsive-compulsive behavior typical of the drug addict still stays with us for a long time even though we are sober in the physical sense. We must remain conscious of our being involved in recovery as recovering addicts. Drug addiction is a three-dimensional disease that impacts on our bodies, minds and spirits, in fact, our entire being. Recovery is a wholistic lifelong healing process whose ultimate aim is complete liberty from the affliction of addiction, not simply sobriety. Over and over again we must remind ourselves of the three (3) key elements that should be present in a strong recovery program:

1. A conscious contact with Creator God as a result of a true Christian spiritual conversion;

2. A good 12-Steps home group where we attend meetings on a regular basis, work the basic 12-Steps and carry the Message to others;

3. A recovery support network of allies who support us in working our recovery program, including a sponsor or guide.

Recovery is a medical term when one goes into treatment program in order to get well from a disease, illness or injury. When we have 'made a decision' to remain abstinent ~ stay clean and sober ~ we must work on our recovery as a key part of our sanity, serenity and spiritual growth. Sobriety gets us to the starting gate and working a strong recovery program on a daily basis keeps us going. If one is not working a program and only faking it, then, if he indulges in his poison it is not a real relapse in the clinical sense, but only falling back into the same old sick self-destructive suicidal behavior as before. Ultimately we need a true Christian conversion to create a strong spiritual foundation for our progressive recovery and avoid relapses.

In our recovery we must not get nostalgic and long for past times of partying, boozing and doping, not sink down into dark moods of depression and not wander around without a set route and positive plan of action for the day. We must stay alert, stay alive and be on guard when we are out and about.

If one does suffer a relapse, then comes back to our recovery meetings and has decided to get ‘for real’ about the serious business of recovery we should warmly welcome him back as a wounded casualty who needs our loving help, group support and personal understanding. At our meetings, beyond war stories and sob stories, we need to engage in constructive criticism and honest self-criticism for us to learn lessons from our experiences and stay involved in the lifelong spiritual healing work of progressive recovery from substance addiction.

Remember: Jesus Christ is the real reason for the Holiday season. The Holidays should not be a year-end annual excuse for getting drunk into oblivion or stoned out of our minds and becoming a nervous wreck. After all, the best gift we can give our family and ourselves is the gift of sober recovery!
Ephesians 6:12 ~ “For your conflict is not only with flesh and blood, but also with the angels, and with powers, with the rulers of this world of darkness, and with the evil spirits under the heavens.”
Related Link:
Relapse Prevention: Dual Recovery Anonymous Online Resource Center
  • CASA 12-Steps Blog

  • CASA-12-Steps Yahoo Group
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