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Early Relapse: Orange County Drug Rehab Lesson

When I began my rehab work a number of years ago, well before the other work I do here at our Orange County drug rehab, I paid close attention to what my warning signs would be that might lead to an early relapse. As I did, I watched a number of people in my therapy group use and then come back. Each having their own reason for relapse. The most prevalent feeling I had was that I was missing out on something.

This is where my internal psychological struggle began with my addiction. My ego came into play and I kept thinking ‘I’m not like them. If I were truly addicted shouldn’t I be homeless, without a job, crazy, or at least physically struggling like ‘they’ are? Shouldn’t I be relapsing? Why do they get to have all the fun and then come back when they want to?’

Yes, you could say a resentment built there, but I learned to talk about it. I came to understand if I held on to these resentments I was going to use again. I knew if I focused on the ‘how much better my life will be if I remain sober’ as opposed to the ‘what I don’t get to do’ philosophy then I’d have a better attitude.

I am grateful my sobriety came the way it did. It wasn’t a cake walk by any means. In the beginning, I thought it would be easy to have a life without alcohol and drugs. I could just cut it out like it was never there, but it was more difficult than I ever imagined. Most of my social network of friends, family, and work were built around one substance or the other. So I had some major adjustments. My family I kept but my friends and work I had to change.

I still struggle with old patterns of behavior occasionally but I don’t obsess nearly as long about them, nor do I mask and dilute them with the drugs and alcohol.

Although I would love to believe that relapse is out of the picture after so many years, I know it is just waiting. I don’t worry as much as I used to though.