There is a great saying the recovery community.
Addicts are like pickles, they can never become cucumbers again.
Meaning, certain predilections are never out of our lives completely. We take ourselves with us everywhere we go. Genetics combined with environment says that any one of us could relapse into old patterns that diminish what we are in our best moments.
Here is a morbid way to think about it.
It’s like an old stalker who doesn’t know that you changed your address. And so, you think you’re in the clear, until one day, years later, the doorbell rings, and he’s standing there saying, remember me?
But this experience is not specific to addicts. Nobody is immune from the things that frighten, tempt or bully them into their lesser selves. We all have our own version of relapse.
The scary part is, it’s very insidious. Our seeds of relapse are planted long before the actual event. And because we overestimate our strengths and underestimate our weaknesses, it’s often too late before we realize just how much we have backslid to old habits, outdated patterns, unhealthy coping mechanisms.
Occasionally my workaholic tendencies will resurface during times of loneliness, which leads to drowning myself in tasks without stopping, isolating, resenting loved ones who interrupt me, and distorting work by impatiently demanding it gets completely immediately. It’s scary.
What’s your version of relapse?
Look, everyone has their own addictions and weaknesses and unhealthy behaviors. But no matter how much work we do on ourselves, sometimes it still feels like that stubborn candle on the birthday cake that never goes out no matter how much we blow on it.
And that’s okay. Some things never go away.
But what we can do is plan for relapse in advance. We can anticipate our lesser moments when we’re in a calm, cool state, and that way we can execute when the pressure is on.
Even if that means setting a timer to go off every sixty minutes to prevent you from overworking until your jaw hurts.
LET ME ASK YA THIS…
What unhealthy actions do you revert to in a state of fear?