(This excerpt is taken from Addiction Saboteurs – Slips, Relapses and My Course Correction in Cultivating Love: Finishing Strong by Dr Ken McGill)
What follows are some suggestions for you to consider implementing if you have been experiencing slips or relapses in your life. Please, take what you can use and pass this along to someone who could use a hand – thanks, Dr Ken McGill
R Remember that Respect, Intimacy and Knowledge originate in the Hebrew root YADA. Growing in knowledge of yourself and your behavior facilitates self-respect and recovery.
E Exact examination of the problem(s) that caused your derailment is crucial. Getting “under the hood” quickly and looking at your head and heart is the correct move to make.
C “Commence the repair work on your Levees,” that is, begin to mend the breaches in your 7 Core Areas (Spiritual, Cognitive, Emotional, Physical/Biological, Sexual, Social/Relational and Environmental) where you experienced boundary failure. First things First, and this is first.
O Open up and tell friends and family exactly what you need and how they could support you. Taking personal responsibility for need fulfillment is yours, but it helps to have help.
V “Veterans” in recovery (Sponsors, Spiritual Directors, Pastors, etc.) usually have great insight and practical advice that could be helpful to you regarding how to refocus your life. See them, spend time with them and listen to them.
E Establishing how addictive behavior is harmful to you and the systems in which you live is a good second step toward making deeper and lasting changes that solidify recovery.
R Recovering people and Recovery meetings are crucial in your ability to stay sober. Having a healthy support network will prove to be beneficial and invaluable for your next 90 days.
Y Your inquiry and asking questions that help you to gain information and knowledge about your life and then applying this knowledge constructively lead to beneficial changes.
G Getting involved with the 12 Step Fellowship of your choice and attending as many meetings as possible in the 90 days after your relapse promotes connection with others and personal safety.
E Establish the habit of calling a friend in recovery every day. Whether you reach him/her or not, make sure you discuss or respond to the 4 areas in the sentence below this one:
T “Tell them what you are thinking, tell them what you are feeling, tell them what you are thinking of doing, and tell them what you are going to do (to protect your sobriety).”
T Take Personal Responsibility for your actions. If you request some form of behavioral change from others make sure you hold yourself accountable for changes you will make.
I If you are called by a friend who needs you, remember to be encouraging, inspiring, gentle but honest (Galatians 6:1). Your nonjudgmental care and support will be helpful.
N “Inventory” on a daily basis what your plans and needs are, what potential obstacles you may face and what strategies and approaches you will take to be safe in those situations.
G Going to a Physician or a Psychiatrist for a health or medicine evaluation could prove to be invaluable, as your neurochemistry and your body may need special care to get on track.
R Regular contact with therapists and groups is critical as you endeavor to remain sober. Engaging with them weekly for the 90 days after your relapse (and beyond) is crucial for your success.
E Integrate what you have heard from God, your Spouse/Partner/Friends, from Counsel, from the Truth, so that insight and functional recovery tools are part of your new behaviors and outcomes.
F Focus on solving your problem(s). Discuss with others what you think and feel about issues that are upsetting, and make sure you talk about some specific, measurable and concrete solutions that could resolve the problem(s).
O Offering any “Olive Branch” behavior that facilitates safety, amends, collaboration, restitution, empathy, sincerity and peace will go a long way towards relationship repair if your relationships have been damaged.
C Come up with an action plan to handle your urges, triggers and cravings. Include someone who you will talk with for insight, support, accountability on a daily/weekly basis. Make sure you follow-up with them.
U Understand how “Emotional Flooding” sabotages your ability to think and behave clearly, then implement strategies that help you to remain calm, honest, reflective, grounded and focused.
S Spiritual Disciplines (Prayer, Meditation, Fellowship, Silence, Solitude, Sacrifice, Study, Confession, Service) are always helpful and useful in times like these to help re-focus your life.
E Ego States and Victim, Rescuer and Persecutor are stances that prohibit you from taking Responsibility, Brainstorming Options and Negotiating “win-win” outcomes for yourself.
D Discipline yourself to hear from God, to hear what you need to hear, then say what you need say with others, and do what you need to do, to experience health and self-efficacy.
Thanks again for considering these suggestions. May God bless you as you get back on the road to recovery!