What Do You Do When You Screwed Up and Relapsed?

What Do You Do When You Screwed Up and Relapsed?

You are working your program of recovery to the T and are regularly attending 12-Step meetings, and you have replaced the people, places and things that had kept you stuck and sick in addiction. You are doing all the right things and are genuine in your journey to stay clean, but in one moment of weakness you tumbled down the slippery slope and back into substance use.

It can feel like the world has ended and the shock of having to pick up the pieces can leave you feeling overwhelmed. Where do you begin? What in the hell are you going to do know that you have relapsed?

If you have been in the unfortunate situation where you have relapsed, your brain and conscience are both in overdrive. You mind is replaying the events leading up to the relapse on infinite repeat and at the same time your inner dialogue is engaged in full shame mode. You may say things like

Feeling shame in this manner is normal. You have worked hard to maintain recovery and you did the unthinkable and relapsed, and now you have to start from square one. While feeling shame is normal, it is important to know that shame can also keep you stuck and getting back on the proverbial recovery horse becomes more difficult.

Why is that? At its core, shame is the underlying belief that you are unloved and unworthy of love. When you say things like you are a failure, a fraud or aren’t good enough in the context of addiction, you are painting yourself in a corner or putting yourself in a box with little or no way to get out.



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