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Changing Our Emotional Response to Relapse

How we respond to the challenges that arise in our recovery, such as relapse, can make all the difference in whether we stay on track with our sobriety goals or continue to fall off the wagon. Our emotions play a huge role in our behaviors. When we’re shaming ourselves for relapsing, for example, we’re much more likely to want to numb our pain, distract ourselves from our issues, and self-medicate, in order to cope with the additional pain we’re piling on top of ourselves. When we inundate ourselves with shame, embarrassment, disappointment and judgment, we make it that much harder to want to motivate or uplift ourselves to get better. We’re fighting not only our addictions but our own inner critic as well. We can’t withstand such intense self-disparagement. Our self-esteem suffers. Our mental health issues are exacerbated. Changing our emotional response to relapse is one of the best things we can do for ourselves to prevent ourselves from continuing to relapse.

We are no strangers to the overwhelming nature of addictive urges and temptation. For much of our lives, we didn’t feel strong enough to withstand them. Now that we’re in recovery, we’ve found ourselves better able to overcome our urges and stay focused on our sobriety. We may, however, slip up at times. Let’s stop shaming ourselves when we do. Let’s instead focus on all the progress we’ve made. No matter how small each step may feel, let’s congratulate ourselves for every incremental change we make – every time we choose not to resort to our addictive behaviors, every time we change our lifestyles to prioritize good health, every time we withstand the burdensome weight of an addictive urge. Let’s remind ourselves just how strong we actually are, how capable we are of putting ourselves first, how committed we are to our recovery. Let’s give ourselves the emotional support we need, the motivation and encouragement, the self-love and acceptance.

Let’s not panic when we get off track. Let’s not beat ourselves up. Let’s mindfully work with our emotions, so that we can pick ourselves up, strengthening, encouraging and uplifting ourselves. Let’s focus on self-correcting and doing better for ourselves, rather than remaining stuck, burying ourselves in our disappointment and shame. Changing our emotional response to relapse can make all the difference in whether or not we continue to make the same mistakes, or find the strength within ourselves to change course and keep moving forward.

Origins Behavioral Healthcare is a well-known care provider offering a range of treatment programs targeting the recovery from substance abuse, mental health issues, and beyond. Our primary mission is to provide a clear path to a life of healing and restoration. We offer renowned clinical care for addiction and have the compassion and professional expertise to guide you toward lasting sobriety.

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If you or someone you love has a substance use or mental health disorder, Origins Behavioral HealthCare can help. We will work alongside you to provide the most comprehensive treatment available.