The battle to sobriety is a long and tedious process which requires continuous focus and willpower. Many people have participated in the traditional rehab method, with an individualized treatment program and a lot of counseling. After all of the detox, months of one-on-one counseling, group therapy and many talks with family and friends, you are back on the road to success. You are also equipped with a new knowledge pallett and amazing life skills to continue the battle. Most likely, you attend regular meetings at an Alcoholics Anonymous/ Narcotics Anonymous club. They have taught you how to recognize your low points and instead of turning back to your poison of choice, you have found a healthy living habit or hobby that deters the itch to turn back. Great job, you have come a long way! This article is going to alert you to some not so common occurrences of relapses, how they happen, and how to prevent them.
Relapse Occurrences on your Birthday
It’s that time of year again, it comes around every year and it brings joy to your heart. It’s ritual to join in some sort of festivities in celebration of this special day; Yes, It’s your birthday. For those who have been battling addiction for weeks, months or even years this day can be a large catalyst for a relapse occurrence. This day often increases exposure to two things: an alcohol enriched environment and people trying to enjoy the alcohol enriched environment.
This can cause a lot of tension in your mind and wake up some dormant tendencies in the limbic system of your brain. The limbic system is the powerful reward system, which controls addiction and personal tendencies. When this system is triggered endorphins release throughout the body and the receptor to the trigger becomes stronger, thus causing a weakness towards whatever triggered the limbic system.
With that said, back to your birthday. Depending on the type of person you are, you could be hardworking and well deserving of a break or you could just be that type that takes any excuse to go out. Your friends and loved ones knows it’s your birthday and everyone seems to want to do something for your birthday. In the end, you and your friends go on some crazy escapade, going out to eat, going to the club or a nice lounge. Regardless, you might be in an area where alcoholic beverages or other controlled substances are readily available. Your friends might know about your rehab adventure or maybe they don’t. Maybe it’s a mixed crowd. Your peers begin to drink, and encourage you to drink; “It’s your birthday!” they say, “You can have one drink!” From that point the troubles start. The peer pressure is growing and lingering around, the limbic center is uncovering that lost addiction, and eventually you decide to take a shot or order a drink.
This is where the mistake happens. Your old destructive habit has just awoken. You take a drink. That first drink in months or years has now became a gateway to the next drink. From that point one of three things happen; These three things are completely dependant upon who you are and how devoted you are to your cause:
- You take another drink: From this point you take another drink and another. After a while you are drunk and nearly back in the situation that placed you in rehab in the first place.
- Over time you gradually start drinking more: After the first drink, you are able to stop. Over time you start to think about that incident and think you can control your addictive behavior, so you gradually drink. One glass a week, one glass a night, two glasses per night and the number continues to grow. Soon enough you find yourself an addict by habit. Rather happy or sad, it’s a tendency engraved into your mind.
- You enjoy the simple drink and you continue your relax happily.
If you are faced with a similar situation, Option 3 is the better choice. Of course, the best choice would have been to not take the drink at all, but in the situation that it does that is considered a relapse. You had your fun, but it’s time to get serious; Even more so than before. Now that you have awoken an old tendency, your willpower will be put to the test. The call to alcohol will spring again and it will be your responsibility to quell it. Try to stay busy and engage in more meetings. Enjoy your hobbies as you normally do, and try to reach out to your support about your the relapse.