In addiction forums, you will often hear that "relapse is a part of recovery." This is a true statement, but without the right context and training it can cause more harm than good. Many have this pie-in-the-sky idea of freedom, thinking that one day things magically shift and porn is no longer a problem. It rarely happens that way. The recovery journey is sort of like expanding a really tough elastic band. Lots of work in the early stages, but with time you are able to have longer and longer stretches of freedom. What enables you to have longer bouts of freedom is predicated primarily on how you handle the slips that happen along the way. Your response is make or break.
So how do you recover from a slip? A few things...
1) Kill Condemnation. This is arguably the most important step, especially early on. After a slip we tend to beat ourselves up for being a failure, not making progress, etc. It can become a downward spiral very quickly, but it doesn't have to be this way. In my recovery, I noticed that the kinder I was to myself after a slip, the quicker I was able to get back on my feet. As a result, my thought life was a lot better and I felt more in control of the situation, which eventually led to fewer slips. There is a little trick that helped me tremendously and it's called "Mirror Therapy." Essentially, it's looking at yourself square in the eyes after a slip and speaking words of health and encouragement over yourself. More on that one in a future newsletter.
2) Talk To Someone. The quicker you let people in the better. While do not count streaks at DeepClean, we do encourage everyone to be honest about the number of slips they had in between group coaching calls. Simply talking about it dissipates a lot of the lingering shame and sadness that often comes with a slip.
3) Remember The Big Picture. It is so easy to get caught up in a moment and draw false conclusions. We fall into this "woe is me" thinking or we feel like things will never change. Use these opportunities as reminders of the progress you've made. Take a look back and assess how much your situation has changed the last few months, years. Then, look ahead, and remind yourself of what you're heading towards and what life will look like once you are finally free. I can't stress this enough, keeping the big picture in mind keeps things in their correct perspective.
4) Learn From It. This tip will expedite your recovery process faster than anything else. Ask yourself, "What caused me to slip?" and then ask, "What can I do differently next time to prevent this from happening again?" If you can answer those two questions after a slip, I promise progress. Slips can provide invaluable insights into your primary needs and ideally it will drive you to find healthier options. For example, if you slipped because you were lonely, then maybe next time you're feeling that way you can reach out to a friend or engage in something social like playing a video game online.
Remember, once a slip has taken place you cannot go back and rewrite history. Instead, focus your attention on leveraging the slip to learn with the goal of preventing future slips.
Cheering you on,
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