Relapse From the Other Side

Relapse should not only be associated with those with drug and alcohol behavioral issues. It can occur with those trying to provide help in some way because of love or fear of the outcome. Myself, I fell victim to anger and total misunderstanding of what addiction was with regards to drugs and alcohol. It can be as difficult to change action and behavior and may require as much recovery time and effort.

One of the major issues is that we try to pretend that it is non-existent to those around us. We continue life not realizing the behavior is like a slow growing cancer and unless treated can result with dire consequences. Relapse is almost a certainty if we are unwilling to change behavior and seek understanding of the disease. I have in the past explained my own failure. Having lost one son to drugs and alcohol, I choose the wrong path and saw a second son addicted to drugs as no different than the one lost. The damage done to myself was as devastating as the damage to the second son. The emotional, physical, mental and spiritual parts of my life fell aside along with my sons, both in this case.

My second son has been in active recovery for close to four years. Our conversations during this timeframe are more like friend to friend rather than father to son. I have been able to realize faults on my part that had a direct affect on how I viewed addiction. Occasions surfaced that made me step back and relook at my actions or reactions to the journey both sons elected toward healing.

I was guilty of various measures to catch them in a lie or just plain red handed in the act of using drugs. I reminded myself that I too did the same thing with my first son. I kept a journal which was an extension of where and what I was before. I recorded all the deceit, money dealings, stealing, evidence of drug use, passing out, arrests. It was a story of the deceased son once again. There was nothing going on that I had not been plagued with for so many years. I still had no understanding of addiction but stood back and let it happen. This is not to take credit for anything. This is not I told you so. I was loaded with anger once again and could only see a bad ending. I have no idea why I did not push earlier to get help. I guess I sat back and waited for what’s called desperation. My real freight was would it be in time. I did not have a clue what desperation was and how anyone but the Addict could predict when it would happen. I’ve learned since then with conversation with this son and others that it just happens. No real definitive or logical reason. It happens. That is scary. To think you return to sobriety and happiness is as much a mystery as death itself.

I was an all-out investigator waiting to repress my own son. I was busy looking to accuse and gain satisfaction knowing I was right. This is what a good father does? Where was love? Where was understanding? It surly was not inside of me. Where was my point of desperation? Was I waiting for a bad ending as before so I could live in misery for whatever remained of my life? Looking back is not normally a good thing but I think maybe in recovery such as mine, it might be good to see the way I choose to live. Take a good look at myself inside and out and see if you can find a person deserving any level of true happiness. I see a life concentrating on staying miserable. I’m grateful to those who repeatedly admonished me and convinced me to take action to go back and see what was going on in my life. I don’t see it as a bad thing to review past mistakes and see what lessons you have learned. Again it seems there is a need for some group or place that looks for reason and understanding of the second time around individual. There is a need to look at past and put it into the present situation and somehow fix both in order to save yourself.

Obviously subjects scatter about in my journal make no sense to someone reading my recorded thoughts but they are a record of my behavior and actions of a particular journey in my life. I can open it and read as a book providing me with more and more perception every day. It is a text book for me to study and grade myself on my behavior and am I getting better. Discovery is a major aid in learning about one’s behavior.

There have been far too many other events during this journey where my behavior and actions were not helpful to my sons or myself. Even today I still feel I’ve relapsed at times but because I keep an open mind and reach out to understand I regain self-assurance. I have confidence in my recovering son that he has the recovery tools to avoid relapse. Myself, I continue to learn and understand why my own behavior and actions kept me from enjoying life itself. I’m in a better place for seeking understanding not only the addict behavior but my own as well. I feel regret and pray for forgiveness from my deceased son. Not that I could have stopped him but for not understanding. Relapse does not have to be solely associated with drugs and alcohol. Fear of the outcome can be replaced with love and trust that tragedy can be prevented.

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