I am not an expert or a psychiatrist but a plain alcoholic, have been an alcoholic since I think beginning of time; if I were to jog along my memory lanes, I can clearly recall that I had first tasted my poison at the age of 18 .I had just started college, it was an era of independence, fun and liberation. By the time I became 30 I was a mess .I had gone through a lot of turmoil in my life from being fired, to broken relationships, to being tried for a credit card lawsuit. This was the path of destruction I had chosen.
But fortunately for me I had parents who still loved me in spite of all my follies. Their effort to save their son’s life got me in a rehab. I received treatment and was discharged after 3 long months of imprisonment. I was under an illusion that now I was sorted and this was it. I took my sobriety lightly and hence the forecast of my relapse came true. The second time around I could see my problems clearly. It was disease which I was in grip of. Disease which is sitting dormant right under your nose and one wrong step and you had it. It comes back with a vengeance. I know we addicts are living a delusion, that we can control our substance abuse and we know it all but that is not the case. I wrote this information from my ongoing efforts to remain clean.
Addiction is a disease, from which recovery is difficult but not unattainable. The road to recovery is bumpy with lot of obstacle. After years of sobriety a person can have a relapse and get back in the vicious cycle of addiction. A person in recovery has to take his sobriety seriously and make a conscious choice to work in a positive direction with one aim in mind.
The craving for substance persists long after patient stops using. He may get tempted on more than one occasion to go back to his previous life of intoxication but there are few recommended changes if a person can bring to his life probably the risk of a relapse can become minimal.
- Never to take your sobriety lightly.
- Never get into a denial mode regarding the disease, as addiction is a disease of relapses.
- Attend AA meetings regularly.
- Never miss an appointment with your therapist.
- Moment there is temptation or craving to use don’t shy away from seeking help, talk to your counselor or your sponsor immediately.
- Don’t visit places or people that are related to your substance seeking and obsessive use of substance in the past, as these places or people evoke old memories.
- Spend time with your family and friends who have helped you to achieve recovery, talk to them honestly about your feelings.
- Replace the stimulus for your reward circuit from substance use to exercise, meditation, sports or other leisure activities.
- If there is an associated mental problem don’t ignore and continue taking treatment, if it resurfaces so can the substance abuse.
- Do not be overconfident, experimental or challenge yourself to test whether you can drink normally or socially after being abstinent for a while.
- If the person starts getting irritable, depressed or there are mood changes this may be a signal of an impending relapse.
- Don’t ignore relationship problems with spouse, parents or children.
- Do not set unrealistic goals for your self
- Holding past resentments, anger or grievances can trigger a relapse
- Engaging in other obsessive activities like gambling, work holism are a precursor to relapse.
These points have helped me to remain sober and I hope they will benefit my friends on path to recovery.
Author: Aniket Sharma ,a patient at Tulasi Health Care in Delhi.