Recovery is hopeful, life giving and life changing. Relationships can be restored, trust rebuilt and fragmented lives integrated. Recovery works if you work it. There is of course no one who works recovery perfectly. Relapse is a part of the recovery journey. Relapse happens. What do you do when it does?
When relapse occurs it is clear the stage has been set for deeper healing but the pain of relapse betrayal must first be addressed. “I thought you were getting better.” “You told me you would never lie to me again.” “After all you have put us through.” Wails the twice betrayed spouse. Nothing seems to assuage the pain of double wounding in the initial stages of relapse discovery. More than before, the not knowing what to trust becomes problematic. What the addict says matters considerably less than what he does.
Both the addict and the spouse find themselves wondering if there is hope. Both find believing harder. Blame can become bitter. If after the great risk of trust and forgiveness and the price in dollars and time of the recovery journey, there is then relapse, is there really honestly any good reason for hope? Yes.
Virtually always the circles of truth telling have to be expanded. What worked before must be worked again. What was not addressed must be explored. Often the reasons for relapse seem more apparent than they are. Yes, sometimes the answers are simple but more often healing was arrested and needs to begin anew. The recovery journey is not flawed but those of us on the journey are. When the causes are discovered and the immediate crisis abates the addict must humbly acknowledge his guilt and become ever more vigilant on his recovery journey. The addiction which has deceived him again can be met with renewed recovery.
If relapse is properly handled it can become the platform for the deeper healing the thirst of the addiction sought to fill. Many who have experienced relapse attest to the fact the relapse when discovered was the catalyst for more significant and lasting change than their early recovery.
Go to Finding Help and begin investigating the roots and solutions to the remaining power of the addiction, find soothing grace for your wounded hearts and make advances on your journey you had not made before. You deserve the healing which was available the first time. It is still there for you. You are still worth it. You will still find grace.