No matter the length of time of active recovery the reappearing “rabbit hole “never seems dormant. Just as the one struggling to maintain sobriety stays focused, those affected directly or indirectly must struggle throughout as well. The human and spiritual emotions have been severely damaged when substance abuse and mental disorders are introduced into our everyday lives. We are not prepared nor understand how to face this abrupt hurt from someone we love and care about. Years of love and care are as if they never existed. The first thought is that we can mend this hurt in some manner but before long we see we lack the tools needed. At this point, it’s seems best to take our own journey to saving any part of what was before this daemonic force entered into our lives.
Even with multiple years of active recovery on the part of the user, the reappearing “rabbit hole can surface from time to time. Over time the hole will become smaller but until then we have to avoid falling into the hole but rather find a means to jump over it. Even very minor events during the initial recovery can trigger thoughts of behavior as it was during active addiction. We are unguarded as everything is still in somewhat of a chaos based on the hardships and heartaches up to this point. After years of lies and failures it is easily seen how those caring so much may fear a return to active addiction.
I myself have a number of times started toward the “rabbit hole” without fully understanding just how easy it is to persuade yourself that failure is always present. Trust has always been difficult to regain in so many situations aside from addiction, but addiction seems to be much slower in terms of healing. I think we learn along with the one in recovery that complacency must be avoided at all cost. My son, having multiple years of active recovery is quick to point out that the battle will be there for him the rest of his life. As such, I must realize he knows this and as such I must accept that I must learn this as well. I need to see clearly his strength in acknowledging that he battles the “rabbit holes “each and every day. I must do the same. Several times over the years I’ve found myself, as a parent or spouse would, seeing what are sure triggers. The disagreements come out in our conversations and even so we end up with a ‘I love you”. I’ve found this last phrase has saved me from returning to doubt or disbelief. I go back after a few minutes and return to the conversation and apologize for my own failure to believe he is already so much stronger having fought this disease. He apologizes as well knowing we both are traveling together. As he has told me many times unless I was an actual addict I will never fully understand. I believe this completely. I’ve seen it so many times that chasing rabbits adds nothing to the path to sobriety.
I wish it was a simple task to jump the rabbit hole. It is not, but time and belief that your addict has much more knowledge of what addiction is and what pitfalls surround his or her daily living will become part of your own journey. The triggers presented to your active user or active recovering addict cannot be controlled by your thoughts. Prayers will always help but realizing the actual escape from the “rabbit hole” is the sole obligation of the user who has the tools needed. In recovery the user has hopefully been taught how to deal with the emotional, physical, mental and spiritual parts of these frail bodies.
Accepting and understanding how we react to things we cannot control and realizing you are a piece of the journey and your part is believing. The “rabbit holes” may never completely close but over time you may find you can jump many of them