Addiction is a struggle that often tests the limits of one’s strength and resolve. It’s not uncommon for individuals to experience addiction relapses. These setbacks can be disheartening for the individual and family, but maintaining resilience can be a beacon of light in the darkest of times. Exploring how faith can help individuals not only cope with addiction relapses but also continue their path to recovery with unwavering determination is the focus.
UNDERSTANDING ADDICTION RELAPSES
Addiction is a complex disease that affects both the body and the mind. It’s marked by a compulsive need for a substance or behavior, despite harmful consequences. Recovery from addiction often requires periods of abstinence, self-discovery, and personal growth. However, relapses can occur when individuals return to their addictive behavior or substance use, even after making progress. While there are some warning signs that an individual can display, other times, it can come unexpectedly. Unfortunately, no one is exempt from the possibility of relapses.
THE ROLE OF FAITH THROUGH RELAPSE
Faith in addiction recovery can take several different forms.
- Faith in a Higher Power: Many individuals turn to their faith in a higher power as a source of strength and guidance during recovery. Believing in a divine presence can provide solace and hope when facing addiction relapses. At Second WakeUp House and Redemption Place, our higher power is Jesus and we believe this is vital and foundational to one’s progress.
- Faith in the Recovery Process: Trusting the process of addiction recovery is crucial. Faith in the effectiveness of treatments, support systems, and personal growth can bolster one’s resilience in the face of relapses. This blends well with the former, having faith in higher power, gives one more self-worth, in turn, faith and confidence in the process and hope of recovery.
- Faith in the Self-Transformation: Believing in one’s ability to change and overcome addiction is a powerful form of faith. This self-confidence is a driving force behind the resilience needed to confront and learn from relapses. This can be a deep-rooted struggle for some, but having conviction in one’s self-worth is key.
THE POWER OF PERSPECTIVE
Maintaining resilience is about how you perceive addiction relapses.
- Learning and Growth: Instead of viewing a relapse as a failure, consider it an opportunity for self-discovery and growth. What triggered the relapse? What can you learn from it? This shift in perspective can be transformative and help you be keenly aware next time confronted with similar triggers. We encourage our members to review the Faster Relapse Awareness Scale regularly as it can be revealing in behavior changes leading up to a relapse.
- Strength and Vulnerability: Faith encourages individuals to be vulnerable and seek help when needed. It takes humility and strength to admit a relapse and ask for support, and having faith in your resilience can make this process more manageable.
- Patience and Perseverance: Faith reminds us that recovery is a journey filled with ups and downs. Each relapse can be seen as a momentary setback, not a permanent failure. Patience and perseverance are essential to this journey.
PRACTICAL STEPS TOWARD RESILIENCE IN ADDICTION RECOVERY
Building and maintaining resilience during addiction recovery requires dedication and self-compassion.
- Mindfulness: Practice mindfulness to stay present and aware of your thoughts and emotions. This can help you identify triggers and stressors that may lead to relapses. Again, reviewing the Faster Relapse Awareness Scale regularly to identify triggers or mood changes.
- Support Network: Surround yourself with a supportive network of friends, family, or a recovery group. This has been tremendously proven at our sober living homes. Living in community can provide a space to share struggles and triumph that can help reinforce your faith in the recovery process. There is incredible healing in community.
- Self-Care: Prioritize self-care to nurture your physical and mental well-being. This can include exercise, healthy eating, regular hygiene, and engaging in activities that bring you joy. Consider journaling as a self-care exercise to help process feelings or progress.
- Reconnect with Faith: Faith in a higher power (whom we call Jesus) is an essential part of your recovery. Take time to reconnect with prayer, fellowship with other believers, and reading the Word. This is required in our program due to the tremendous healing and supportive results.
- Professional Help: We don’t recover alone so don’t hesitate to seek professional help from therapists or counselors who specialize in addiction recovery. They can provide guidance and support.
THE JOURNEY TO LASTING RECOVERY
Recovery from addiction is often described as a journey rather than a destination, and for good reason. It’s a long path that involves self-discovery, healing, and personal growth, with its share of wild twists and turns. Addiction relapses are part of this journey, but they don’t have to signal the end of the road.
With faith as your anchor, you can find strength to navigate these challenges. Faith provides a sense of purpose, a belief in the possibility of change, and the resilience needed to face setbacks head-on.
In the midst of addiction relapses, it’s crucial to practice self-compassion. Addiction can be accompanied by feelings of guilt and shame, and relapses may exacerbate these emotions. However, having faith in your own ability to overcome obstacles includes being gentle with yourself.
Recognize that addiction is a complex struggle, and relapses are common. Instead of berating yourself, offer self-compassion and reflection. Treat yourself as you would a close friend facing a similar challenge. This self-compassion can be a powerful tool in your journey to recovery, reinforcing your faith in your own resilience.
VALUE OF A SUPPORTIVE COMMUNITY
We cannot overemphasize community enough. Resilience in addiction recovery is the support of community. Whether through a 12-step program, group therapy, fellowship group, or sober living who understand your journey, having a support network can make all the difference.
Sharing your experiences, both the successes and setbacks, with others who have walked a similar path can provide validation and encouragement. It reinforces the belief that you are not alone in your struggles and that there are people who believe in your capacity to overcome addiction.
Our experience shows that people living in recovery housing with like-minded individuals and working toward a common goal, experience a much higher rate of success than those who return to their old environment.
When someone relapses at Second WakeUp House and Redemption Place, the individual receives support, understanding, and clear boundaries. They are asked to stay away for 30 days for the safety of the other members and for them to explore tools such as detox, treatment, etc. before returning back after a house member vote. We welcome them to continue to attend house meetings for community involvement, accountability, and ongoing support.
Relapses are challenging and can feel like insurmountable obstacles on the path to recovery. However, keep your chin up. Faith-fueled resilience reminds us that setbacks do not define our journey; it’s how we respond to them that matters most. Keep faith in a higher power (whom we like to call Jesus), trust the process and know that you have the ability to get through it. This can be the driving force that helps you navigate addiction relapses with grace and determination.
Recovery is not a linear process, relapses are part of that journey. With faith as your anchor, you can find the strength to learn from relapses, seek support when needed, and continue on the path to lasting recovery. Your faith, combined with resilience, can be a powerful force for healing and transformation, leading you to a brighter and addiction-free future. Embrace your faith and sober community, and let it guide you through the challenges, always remembering that recovery is possible, one step at a time.