I can’t count the times I’ve heard shares in various fellowships like this: “I just had one beer, but I figured since I’d slipped anyway I might as well have another.” (Substitute pertinent acting out for “beer”.)
All too often, these sorts of remarks are heard from folks who were “out there” for much longer than just an evening or a couple of days, most often for months or years, and they all say it got worse than before. Because the next morning the addict shame, remorse and self-recriminations set in — the very same feelings that kept us using for so long to start with — and we’re likely to go to the old solutions to ease the pain.
It’s vitally important for us to understand and remember that relapse occurs before the “slip”. No one decides to act out on the spur of the moment. There is always something that leads up to it, usually failure to work on the basics of recovery:
building and/or using a network of supports,
making phone calls,
getting a sponsor,
working the steps,
developing a spiritual practice, and so forth…
Recovery doesn’t happen in a vacuum, only in a program of substance. When we have that going for us, we’re unlikely to slip. If we do, we have the tools to get back on track. Otherwise, we may have to wait and see if we survive.
As they say in the rooms: “If you have a flat tire, you change the tire and keep on driving. You don’t run around the car slashing the other tires.”