Fortifying Your Strength Against Relapse by Batista Gremaud
Part 1 of 3: Relationships
Relapse in recovery is common. It happens in stages, often beginning with unresolved issues that lead to uncontrollable negative emotions such as anger, anxiety, fear, and resentments. Temptations often emerge out of nowhere. Unforeseen pressures, psychological and circumstantial, may build progressively and then unexpectedly combine to drive a person over the edge. Having lost tremendous functional strength through an addictive unhealthy lifestyle, he/she is often unable to think things through and make healthy decisions.
In the next 3-part series, I will address three of the most common triggers to relapse; relationships, stress and emotional / physical pain. In this issue, we’ll begin with relationships. Relationships
Resentment is considered one main offender when it comes to relapse. A foundational concept to acknowledge before going on, is that all relationships begin with the relationship with ourselves and our own ability to love and forgive ourselves first, then forgive others and let go of resentments and regrets. Since the addict’s emotional growth was stunted when the active addiction started, they face many challenges for healthy relationships. Some factors may include fear of rejection, fear of intimacy and/or poor self-esteem. Constantly caught between thoughts and feelings, he/she is vulnerable to relapse if rumination continues without taking any action.
The most commonly adopted methods to address this phenomenon in recovery are based on intellectual knowledge through the medium of workshops, support groups, therapy etc. Those methods are valuable, however much emphasis is placed on the social, psychological and emotional causes of the disease via intellectual data, while little attention is placed on grounding the information into the physical body which is where information is housed. When it is all said and done, at the end of the day, the fact remains that addicts and alcoholics, are by nature uncomfortable in their own skin; always seeking to escape that feeling of being present — lacking the desire and ability to be grounded. This results in the inability to set healthy boundaries, which is a key factor in relapse.
Every action creates a reaction and every motion creates an emotion.
Physical strength training is a specific action that can be taken immediately to provide an instant increase in functional strength and begin to change one’s habits to a generate a more positive mind-set. It provides fast measurable results, and rebuilds the alcoholic brain by increasing neurogenesis. It offers an avenue to blow off steam (so to speak) and quiets the mind. It also allows a safe place to let go of negativity, and distance yourself from undesired situations. When done properly, strength training also presents off the chart health opportunities for men and women.
When you start feeling better in your own skin, you will automatically begin to make new relationships that support your newfound self-esteem and healthier lifestyle. Men and women who have grown up believing they are victims of everything from their mothers to the foods and the drinks they consume begin to experience a new sense of self-confidence and self-respect, feeling powerful, competent and capable of taking charge of their bodies and their lives.
Written By Batista Gremaud