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Relapse Prevention

It has well been said that relapse begins days, weeks, months or even years before an individual actually returns to drinking and or using. If you remember that recovery and sobriety are much more than Just not drinking or using then this makes all the sense in the world. Sobriety and recovery are more than not using. Recovery is a new lifestyle – a lifestyle of being responsible, of doing the right things. Christ-centered recovery is a happy life filled with the freedom to do what is right.

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Certain areas of your life that need to experience changes have been pointed out concerning people, laces and things. You will experience a personal change as you continue your life in recovery. These changes are good and these changes are necessary. These changes will include placing and keeping your priorities in the right order, being on time, being faithful, having fun and having the right outlook on life among many other positive aspects of recovery. You do not want to lose your recovery. Christ-centered recovery is much too good a life to lose and you are well aware of how horrible a life of active addiction is.

You do not want to return to a life of active addiction but those f you who have relapsed know Just how it will all of a sudden seem to have happened. This is not the case. There are warning signs that relapse has occurred and that active addiction (using) is Just around the corner. These warning signs will present themselves. You have to train yourself to recognize them and get your life back on the right path – the path of recovery, before you slip back into active addiction. Let’s take a look at these warning signs, get an understanding of Just how you can be aware of them and what you need to do to get back on the path of recovery. Warning Signs Complacency Key Verse – 2 Samuel 11:1 “It happened in the spring of the year, at the time when kings go out to battle, that David sent Job and his servants with him, and all Israel; and they destroyed the people of Mammon and besieged Arabia. But David remained at Jerusalem. ” Complacency can best be defined as “getting lazy concerning the things you should be doing. ” There are several things that you need to incorporate into your life of recovery. When you neglect these things chances are it is because you are growing or have grown complacent concerning your recovery.

The things that o place in your life to help you maintain your life of recovery are not Just for a short time. You are an addict and as such at any given moment, if you let your guard down, you can end up right back in active addiction. There are a few key aspects of your recovery that you must not take for granted. Let’s look at these in an attempt to identify some important areas where you need not grow complacent. Key Verses -2 Timothy 3:15-17 “and that from childhood you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.

All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work. ” If you start the day off in the right manner then you stand a better chance of ending the day in the same way. It is important to begin your day with devotional reading. Develop your own manner of reading the Bible. There are also countless very good devotionals on the market today. You need to be in the habit of beginning the day by putting something positive in.

This is a habit that you should already have. A sure sign of relapse is neglecting your morning devotions. Recovery is a Spiritual program. When you stop feeding the Spirit the flesh is going to take over. You are no stranger to the things that the flesh wants. When you stop feeding the Spirit you are making provision for the flesh. When you make provision for the flesh it will not be long before you are once again feeding the flesh. One of the first signs that you are on the road to relapse is that you begin to neglect your daily devotional time. Stop Time Spent in Prayer Key Verse – Philippians 4:6 “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and application, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God. ” Key Verse – 1 Thessalonians 5:17 “pray without ceasing. ” Key Verse – Ephesians 6:18 “praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints. ” Pray. There is no excuse for not being consistent in your prayer life. When you notice that you are no longer spending quality time alone with God look out. Relapse is right around the corner.

This time is easily coupled with your devotional reading. Read and pray. Do not neglect to read and pray. It costs you nothing to do but when you cease you stand to lose everything. Do not grow or become complacent concerning your prayer life. If nothing else you can keep a daily gratitude list (you should be doing this anyway). Thank God for the blessings you wake to each day. Namely another day you have in recovery. Failure to pray daily is a definite sign of relapse. 0 Stop Going to Church Key Verse – Hebrews 10:25 “not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the Day approaching. When you find that you no longer have time to go to church you are close to relapse. It will get very easy very fast to not go to church. You will quickly find ways to Justify not going to church and when you find that this is happening you need to be very concerned. Whether you realize it or not the message you are giving to yourself is that you can do this recovery thing on your own. You cannot. 0 Stop Going to Meetings Key Verse – Judges 20:22 “And the people, that is, the men of Israel, encouraged themselves and again formed the battle line at the place where they had put themselves in array on the first day. Whether you are going to Celebrate Recovery meetings, AAA or AN when you cease to go to meetings you are on the road to relapse. Meetings are important. This is where you may find your best encouragement and accountability. Because of this accountability when you have subconsciously decided to relapse you will quit going to meetings. Going to meetings needs to be a standard that you set. When you decide to disregard this standard you are well on your way to relapse. 0 Stop Using the Telephone Sometimes the phone can feel 1,000 pounds but you must use it.

The habit of calling others in recovery must be maintained. The people you are going through this program with need to hear you and you need to hear them. This too, is a necessary arm of accountability. When you find yourself not staying in contact with your brothers and sisters in recovery you are not staying in touch for a reason. You are withdrawing and setting yourself up for relapse. 0 Stop Calling Accountability Partner or Sponsor Key Verse – James 5:16 “Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed.

The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much. ” When you no longer feel the need to call your Accountability Partner or Sponsor is exactly when you need to call them! This is the front line of accountability and it must be maintained. These are usually the first people from whom you will withdraw when your relapse has been conceived. 0 Stop Doing Service Work Key Verses – John 13:34-35 “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another. Key Verse – Romans 12:10 “Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another. ” Key Verse – Galatians 5:13 “For you, brethren, have been called to liberty; only do not use liberty as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve en another. ” You have to be involved in your recovery. It has been explained to you that a key to recovery is helping others who are in recovery as well as Just helping 0 All of the above are clear signs that you are growing complacent with and in your recovery.

You have to accept the fact that you are a drug addict and or an alcoholic. You cannot allow yourself to forget this and grow complacent. O Withdrawing Key Verses – James 1:14-15 “But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed. Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death. Key Verse – Psalm 34:18 “The LORD is near to those who have a broken heart, And saves such as have a contrite spirit. ” No, not withdraw symptoms but withdrawing. Pulling into yourself and cutting others out of your life.

Rebuilding the walls that you have worked so diligently to tear down and keeping those that love you the most at bay. This is what is meant by withdrawing. It is a classic warning sign to relapse. The worst place that you can go is back into yourself. Remember, it is you who took you into the depths of your addiction and it is only you that can cause you to return. You, your addiction and the enemy will lead you right back down the road of active addiction if you allow it. You are one of your worst enemies and you must understand this. There needs to be those in your life that you are close to even intimate with concerning your addiction.

You must find an accountability partner or sponsor and you must be honest with this person concerning everything. This will help you stay away from “you” more than anything else. Let’s consider the first places you will start to withdraw from and mark them as warning signs. O God Key Verses – John 18:16-17 “But Peter stood at the door outside. Then the other disciple, who was known to the high priest, went out and spoke to her who kept the door, and brought Peter in. Then the servant girl who kept the door said to Peter, Mimi are not also one of this Man’s disciples, are you? ” He said, “l am not. 0 God is typically the first from whom you will withdraw. You will begin to neglect your Bible and devotional reading. This will happen because you will tell yourself great lies like “l do not have the time” or “l will catch up on my reading tomorrow. ” These are lies from the very pit of Hell that you will begin to tell yourself and you will believe them. Before long these simple habits will be broken and not reading your Bible and or other devotional materials will Just be normal again. It is imperative that you not withdraw from God. You must work to keep your prayer life active.

It takes work to develop any strong relationship and the relationship you have with God needs to be the strongest in your life. God has given you a free will and God will allow you to go off to your own devices. He will always be there when and if you decide to return but you may not get the chance. It will also be easy for you to stop going to church. You ill tell yourself the same lies to Justify not being active in your church. This is Just another aspect of withdrawing from God. In order to beat this thing called addiction you must be willing to turn both your will and life over to the care of God.

This cannot need. Key Verse – Hebrews 4:16 “Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need. ” God is not only there but is willing to give all the help you need to get through whatever you are facing or struggling with. If you withdraw and do not ask He will leave you to do as o please and you are no stranger to where that will take you. 0 Accountability Partner/Sponsor Once you have made the subconscious or conscience decision to pull away from God, withdraw from others will happen in rapid and simultaneous fashion.

The first to go will be your accountability partner or sponsor. Because you have (hopefully) allowed this person into your life in an intimate manner they will know or they will be able to sense that you are bending in a wrong direction. You will stay away from them. You will not call or answer their calls. This is one of the most dangerous things you can low to happen. You have placed this person in your life for a reason and that reason, if you look real close, is to help save your life. You cannot keep all the things that go on in the mind of an addict to yourself.

They will eat you alive – in a very real fashion. The thoughts that you have whether they are yours or placed there by the enemy (Satan) must be run through another. It is important to realize that your best thinking allowed you to plummet into the depths of active addiction. Everyone needs accountability in their life but especially the recovering addict or alcoholic. One of the earliest signs of impending relapse is pulling away from your accountability partner or sponsor. 0 Church and Recovery Meetings. Another place that you will quickly find yourself withdrawing from is church and Recovery meetings.

Church is where you are going to get fed Spiritually and fellowship with other believers. Recovery meetings is where you are going to get encouraged and be encouraged by other addicts and alcoholics. No one, this side of Heaven, is going to understand your problems like another recovering addict. They will know first when you are in trouble or headed that way. When you stop going to hurl and recovery meetings, for whatever reason you tell yourself, you are headed for trouble. 0 Family and Friends. Your family, especially your spouse, is going to know you better than anyone.

They are going to know when you are not happy even when you are acting as if you are. For this reason you will often begin to withdraw from them when you begin to entertain thoughts that you should not be entertaining. This will be done in little ways at first. Perhaps you will stop going to bed with your spouse and decide to stay up a bit longer to watch television. This is often nothing more than making a way that o can Just sit and “get into yourself. ” You will begin to lose interest in children, if you have any, and irritable when you are around them.

These are classic signs of withdrawing from family. You may also begin to withdraw from close friends – the o You will know when you are withdrawing, you will begin to isolate. Isolation is devastating to your recovery. Too much time alone with yourself is not good. You will only begin to feed the wrong thoughts that you will have. The key is to, early on in your recovery; let those from whom you will withdraw know that this is a very real danger. Do not get defensive when they approach you about it. DO NOT ISOLATE YOURSELF! They love you and they care greatly for you.

Do not allow yourself to push them away. Anger and Other Strong Emotion Key Verse – Philippians 4:7 “and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. ” 0 Anger Key Verses – Ephesians 4:26-27 angry, and do not sin” do not let the sun go down on your wrath, nor give place to the devil. ” When you find yourself becoming increasingly angry at things that really should not bother you – watch out! The number one cause for this is that you are not spending quality time alone with God.

When you are in a close and vibrant relationship with God you will have the peace of God that is mentioned above. Without His peace you will grow angry and you will take this anger out on others. The first people you will target are the ones who are closest – the ones who love you most. Ultimately, this anger will lead to relapse. 0 Resentment Key Verses – Joana 1:1-3 “Now the word of the LORD came to Joana the son of Amanita, saying, “Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and cry out against it; for their wickedness has come up before Me. ” But Joana arose to flee to Tarnish from the presence of the LORD.

He went down to Kappa, and found a ship going to Tarnish; so he paid the fare, and went down into it, to go with them to Tarnish from the presence of the LORD. ” Resentments will eat you alive. Resentments must be dealt with. If you harbor ill feelings toward another you must deal with the resentment. When someone does you wrong Just remember all the times you were the one doing someone wrong. Ask God to take resentments away and pray for the person who has wronged you. Chances are the only thing hurt was your pride. Take time and try to see exactly what your part is in the problem.

Often you will find the real problem teems from you or something you did. Sometimes you will not be a part of the problem at all. You do however have to be the solution. It is also important to remember that what other people say about you is really none of your business. All you have to do is keep being responsible – keep doing the next right thing. Resentment will lead to bitterness and bitterness will destroy the soul. It will absolutely take all Joy from your life. Life in recovery should be “happy, Joyous and free” not filled with resentment, bitterness and defeat.

Resentment will lead you to hate and this is never good. You have to learn to forgive and realize that some people are Just going to do what they are going to do. When it seems impossible to forgive just remember all that you have been forgiven. Key Verses – 1 Kings 19:1-4 “And ABA told Siebel all that Elijah had done, also how he had executed all the prophets with the sword. Then Siebel sent a messenger to Elijah, saying, “So let the gods do to me, and more also, if I do not make your life as the life of one of them by tomorrow about this time. And when he saw that, he arose and ran for his life, and went to Brasher, which belongs to Judas, and left his revert there. But he himself went a days Journey into the wilderness, and came and sat down under a broom tree. And he prayed that he might die, and said, “It is enough! Now, LORD, take my life, for I am no better than my fathers! ” Allowing yourself to slip into depression is another warning sign of impending relapse. There are people to whom you can and must speak to about these feelings. This is the primary purpose for having an accountability partner or sponsor.

Yes, you need to be in the habit of praying – speaking to God, but you also need to be sharing your inner most thoughts with a trusted friend. There is great comfort in sharing your feelings with another. If you keep these feelings of depression to yourself they will lead to relapse. You have to remember that you are not alone; there is someone to talk to. You have chosen an accountability partner or sponsor for this very reason. Depression leads to feelings of worthlessness and aloneness. This is not how you are going to live “happy, Joyous and free. When you feel depression creeping in, you need to immediately call someone and talk about it. It is a sign of relapse. 0 Replacing Your Addiction Some of you will begin to spend all of your time in some activity. While activities are not bad they can become a sort of crutch that you lean on. Remember, you are supposed to lean on God. A sign that relapse is on the way is spending way too much time doing a certain thing. You have done nothing but replace your addiction with whatever activity it may be. Yes, you need to have hobbies and activities that you enjoy but not to the neglect of time spent with God and your family.

When an activity or hobby becomes the place that you run to when you are trying to escape problems there is a larger problem. 0 Rationalization Key Verses – Acts 5:1-5 “But a certain man named Manias, with Sapphire his wife, old a possession. And he kept back part of the proceeds, his wife also being aware of it, and brought a certain part and laid it at the apostles’ feet. But Peter said, “Manias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and keep back part of the price of the land for yourself? While it remained, was it not your own? And after it was sold, was it not in your own control?

Why have you conceived this thing in your heart? You have not lied to men but to God. ” Then Manias, hearing these words, fell down and breathed his last. So great fear came upon all those who heard these hints. ” Rationalization is when you come up with reasons to do what you are about to do or reasons to excuse what you have already done. One of the greatest and most dangerous is when you tell yourself “Alcohol was not my drug and never really my thing. I can have a drink or two and I will be fine. ” Perhaps alcohol was your drug, your danger may be “marijuana was not my thing.

I can smoke a bowl and I will be Remember, Just because it is alright for someone else to do something does not make it right for you. Rehearse your principles for Godly decision making. You know when it s wrong to do something so make the decision not to do whatever it may be. You are in control of your recovery and no one else. Relapse Warning Signs List Almost every person who relapses thinks that the sole reason they relapsed is that they stopped going to support group or other meetings. Certainly, this is a factor but in all cases the relapse process began before the person slacks up on meetings.

There were warning signs present that were negatively influencing the person which resulted in a decrease in the use of recovery tools I. E. Prayer, meditation, use of accountability partner or sponsor etc. Take the time and circle any of the relapse warning signs listed below that you believe could signal an impending relapse for you. 1 . Dishonesty a. Not being honest; lying b. Making excuses for behavior c. Rationalizing; deceiving yourself and others 2. Inflated Ego a. Feeling omnipotent; think you know it all b. Feeling powerful and in control (l can handle any problem) c.

Feeling different from others (l am not as bad as they are) d. Needing to always be right; fearing mistakes e. Being too stubborn to follow directions 3. Feeling Cocky a. Saying “I will never drink or use again” b. Feeling you’ve got it made c. Alcohol and drugs are the furthest thing from my mind” d. “Doesn’t even bother me to be around it” e. Been sober/clean for a while and begin to think you may not be addicted 4. Blocked Feelings Being a caretaker; avoiding emotional pain a. B. Not acknowledging the pain of past trauma and/or abuse . Take on more than you can handle and feel overwhelmed d.

Feeling empty inside Anger and Resentment 5. Not dealing with anger, resentment, guilt . Being unwilling to deal with destructive feelings Getting new resentments Having a serious conflict between you and another person e. Complacency 6. Taking your addiction lightly Forgetting about limitations . Having a false sense of security Hanging around people who drink or use self Pity 7. Feeling down and not talking to anyone Feeling sorry for yourself . Focusing on the negative Forgetting to be grateful Not enjoying sobriety . Wanting others to take care of you and to solve your problems g.

No one really cares about me or understands me h. Thinking you are too sick to get well Perfectionism 8. Working too many hours Not allowing yourself to make mistakes . Becoming fatigued Try to be everything for everybody and not take care of yourself 9. Things are not happening fast enough Wanting results immediately c. Always wanting it your way 10. Judgmental a. Being critical and Judgmental of yourself and others b. Setting your goals to high c. Being unrealistic in your expectations 1 1 . Communication Impatient a. Not being honest with yourself or others about your feelings b.

Being unwilling to share with others c. You face a loss and try to handle it your own way d. Not being honest with your counselor, accountability partner or sponsor 12. Isolation Isolating yourself and feeling lonely You have difficulty fitting in and you give up trying . Everyone seems happy but you Living in the past or future and not in the present a. Not taking responsibility for yourself and instead – blaming others b. Believing that if everyone else acted right that you would be alright 14. Relationships a. Hanging out with others who drink or get high b. Staying involved with a partner who drinks or gets high c.

Involved with people who are negative toward you d. Involved with people who do not support you going to meetings e. Involved in a new relationship early in recovery f. Jump into problems and make them worse 15. Romancing the drink or the drug a. Remembering the good feeling and forgetting the pain b. Life without alcohol/drugs will never be good” c. “Imagine Just how good it would feel to get drunk or high again” Relapse Story Getting Writing the story of your relapse is an effective way of seeing where you have gone wrong in the past or where you can potentially go wrong in the future.

You need to be as honest as you can be with your personal relapse story. This is not something you should take lightly. Being able to identify key aspects of relapse will aide you greatly in preventing relapse to happen. There are two different approaches to writing your relapse story. 1) If you have a history of relapse, write out your last elapse in narrative form incorporating the warning signs you identified on the Relapse Warning Signs List. Make it as lengthy as it needs to be. Use extra paper if you need to.

This is something you should take your time with – it may save your life. 2) If you do not have a history of relapse, you are being asked to write out a fictional story about, in the worst case scenario, if you were to relapse. What do you think your relapse story would look like? Use the warning signs you identified on the Relapse Warning Signs List as elements in your story. Shame You are an alcoholic or a drug addict or maybe even both. There is nothing to be ashamed of unless you allow your addiction to defeat you.

Many of you turned to your addiction because you have been living with some sort of shame. This is something that you definitely need to gain victory over. You have nothing to be ashamed of. Every person on this planet makes mistakes. You are not perfect and are not going to be. You are however, a child of God and as such there should be no “shame in your game. ” Do not live your life shame-based. A person who is shame- based often experiences life in negative ways. They become self-conscious, tense and


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