DEFINITION: re-lapse (verb)
To fall back into a previous condition, especially after a partial
recovery from illness.
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
The following suggestions have been invaluable to the prevention
of relapse by those of us in recovery in Cocaine Anonymous.
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
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
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) PHRASE - These simple sayings or prayers have helped many of
us through those times:
This too shall pass
It's difficult to remember, but in daily recovery, whatever the
feeling or problem is, it will pass on.
Serenity Prayer: "God,
grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot
change, courage to change the things I can,
and wisdom to know the difference."
This prayer is not designed to make a problem disappear. Its purpose
is to bring peace to the user.
You can only do what's in front of you.
Not for the rest of your life. Focus on staying clean and sober
for this day (or hour or minute) only.
Do the foot work but leave the results up to your Higher Power.
11) SIGNS OF RELAPSE - The following are some of the signs that
have preceded relapses:
deny my fear.
convince myself that "I'll never drink/use again."
decide that "not using" is all I need.
try to force sobriety on others.
become overconfident about my recovery.
behave compulsively... I overwork or underwork, I overtalk
make unrealistic or haphazard plans.
live in the "there
start daydreaming of failure.
view my problems as unsolvable.
avoid having fun.
become irritated by friends or family.
am easily angered.
begin blaming people, places, things and conditions for my
develop an "I don't care" attitude.
using "friends" and
your sponsor, hotline or other sober member of Cocaine Anonymous.
Stay in touch.
going to meetings. The only requirement is a desire to stop
affirming your desire by getting newcomer chips.
no matter what...
Allow us to love you until you can love yourself.
It does work!
Literature. Copyright 2003, Cocaine Anonymous World Services,
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