In recovery, we may encounter a challenging situation or time when we feel the need to return to substance use. And, sometimes, we do. Relapse can be an experience that hits us with feelings of guilt and shame. What did I do? What do I do now? Getting honest about your relapse is the first step in returning to sobriety. When you don’t get honest, you may fall into a spiral of guilt, shame, remorse, and anger that can further fuel your addiction. But, how do you get honest?
The Importance of Honesty
We cannot truly recover without honesty. Being honest isn’t just about telling the truth. Rather, it’s about being real and genuine with yourself and showing up authentically. Honesty in recovery from addiction promotes a sense of openness. You will also feel empowered as you show up consistently as your authentic self.
Dishonesty can trap you, especially once you have relapsed. Denial is common when you lack the motivation or encouragement you need to face challenges, such as getting honest about your relapse. It may seem easier to hide from this challenge than face it. However, it is difficult to make any progress unless you can openly recognize your challenges.
Honesty is crucial to rebuilding relationships. In recovery, you may have started taking the necessary steps towards rebuilding relationships with family and friends. You probably even made new friendships with other people in recovery. If you want to continue to rebuild and maintain healthy relationships, you have to get honest. Your family and friends can be devastated by your untruthfulness. Your sponsor or therapist may also have difficulty detecting progress and guiding you in the direction of healing if you continue to be dishonest.
Acknowledge Your Feelings and Emotions
Relapse can be a jarring experience, and that’s okay. It is common to feel emotions like guilt, shame, remorse, and anger after a relapse. If you experience these emotions, it is best not to avoid or ignore them. Suppressing or ignoring them will only lead to more emotional distress and pain. Instead of denying the presence of these feelings, acknowledge that they exist and respect the fact that they are affecting you.
Let Go of Pride and Ego
You cannot let your pride and ego stand in the way of you receiving the help you need. When you have an inflated sense of ego, it can be one of the most challenging obstacles to tackle when trying to get sober after a relapse. In recovery, you are supposed to take suggestions, meet with others in support groups, maybe go to therapy and go through the steps and listen to your sponsor.
Having a big ego and being full of pride, you may even think they don’t have a problem, let alone take advice and help from others. You may devalue others’ opinions and become critical of them. Ego simply makes you push people away and leaves you trapped in your selfish desires with a closed mind.
Humility counteracts ego and pride. Humility grounds us and opens our hearts to become more raw and vulnerable with others. Humble people find it easy to pick up new knowledge. They are always learning new and valuable things because they do not arrogantly assume that they already have all the answers. When you are coming back from a relapse, you have many things to learn if you want to build a successful recovery. Ignorance is no longer a luxury that you can afford.
Pick Up the Phone
When it’s time for you to get honest, you must pick up the phone. Your phone can feel like it weighs a thousand pounds at times, and it can be challenging to make that first call. However, you cannot expect to get the help you need without reaching out.
If it helps, you can send a text beforehand. Let whoever you wish to speak with know that you would like to tell them something important. Sometimes, it’s easier to pick up the phone when somebody calls us than when we are trying to call somebody. You can arrange a specific time to talk on the phone and let them know you need help with getting the phone call started. Most people will be happy to help in any way they can.
Ask for Help
It can feel humiliating to ask for help after a relapse. However, recovering from a relapse is hard to do alone and the best thing you can do is be transparent with those who care about you. If you are in a 12-Step program, call your sponsor. They may direct you to start your step work over, attend a meeting, or meet up with you. Your sponsor has most likely experienced relapse before–whether it was their own relapse or the relapse of somebody else. They will know the necessary steps to take to get you back on the road to recovery.
If you feel that you need treatment, don’t be afraid to ask. It can be challenging to go to treatment, especially if you have been there before. However, sometimes we just need a little extra help, and that’s okay. Treatment can remove you from your environment and from temptation to give you the best chance at sobriety.
Relapse in recovery can bring shame, guilt, remorse, and anger. Getting honest about your relapse is the first step in receiving the help you need. While it may be challenging to get honest, it is necessary. Dishonesty can trap you, especially once you have relapsed. So acknowledge your feelings, let go of your pride and ego, pick up the phone, and ask for help. If you are struggling with your next steps after a relapse, Hired Power can help. Hired Power is a dynamic group of recovery professionals that provide an empowering range of services in a compassionate and healing environment that gives people the best opportunity for long-term success and happiness. We can provide you with safe transport to treatment and meetings or a Personal Recovery Assistant to help you stay sober along your journey. For more information on our services and how we can help, contact Hired Power today at (800) 910-9299.