Sweatpants Against A Wall

Moving Forward In A Relapse

A relapse in whatever battle you are facing, whether that be mental health, addition, or a mix of the two, is a place we often fear to be in. Life gets hard, our mind gets jumbled, and we fall back into places where we sought comfort. If you are in this place right now, I am right there with you, and we are here to hold hands through it.

In this situation, the worst thing we can do is talk negatively about ourselves and our position. “What is wrong with me?” “I deserve this” and “I’ll never recover” are all common thoughts to have in this state, and all are pushing a black-and-white, all-or-nothing, mindset. Having these thoughts only pushes your mind and body further and further back, when in reality, a relapse is simply a new beginning and a new place to start.

Here I’m sharing some strategies given by my therapist that I am going to share with you so we can walk through it together.

  1. 1. Take A Deep Breath

    woman stretching in bed

    First and foremost, take a deep breath. You are not alone in this, and you and I are going to get through it together. Tell yourself that this is okay (it really is), you are okay (you really are), and where we are is a new beginning (doesn’t that sound good?). No one is ever going to judge you as harsh as you, and taking a deep breath and thinking those three things will allow you to step out of that judgement for just a moment.

  2. 2. Forgive Yourself

    Black girl magic photo

    Self-forgiveness is crucial when in a relapse mindset. It allows you to feel your feelings without criticizing yourself, and instead with an acceptance. Forgiving yourself means accepting what has happened, and giving yourself permission to grow through it. It allows acceptance of your experiences and of yourself. Hold your own hand and find that forgiveness for yourself.

  3. 3. Develop New Tools

    woman reading a book on a couch in a library

    Start new hobbies, do things you enjoy, go outside. During my first relapse, I took up swimming as my new hobby. My therapist told me that when I swim, imagine the water that runs off my back is the negative thoughts and emotions that run through my mind. The same idea can be applied to any number of hobbies. The feeling of having something physically pushing that idea really helped get me through my first relapse. Recently, I have taken up embroidery because it is a mindless task that takes time and is fulfilling when I finish. For a hobby like this one, my therapist says to imagine weaving your emotions into every stich and seeing the beauty of it in the end result. This strategy can also be applied to other hobbies as well.

  4. 4. Make Short-Term Plans

    An example of this is something like “make the bed today” or “wash your hair;” these are small tasks that can be seen as large feats when you are in a relapse. Being able to complete one of these things a day can help you feel more fulfilled and motivated, and eventually we will be able to do two things a day, and so on until we are back to our regular routines outside of relapsing.

  5. 5. Don't Lose Sight Of The Big Picture

    three women stand together outside. the one in the middle is throwing up a peace sign.

    You have dreams, you have goals, you have your whole life ahead of you. Don’t let this moment in time define you. Set your small attainable goals and you will still get closer to your big goals (even if you just get out of bed that day). Each step counts, big or small.

  6. 6. Know There Is Hope

    image of black woman amongst flowers

    There is a light at the end of the tunnel, people are cheering you on, and I am right here with you, holding your hand as we get through this together. Recovery is a rollercoaster of a journey, just as life is. We are in this together. We are a community that stands together.

Whatever it is you are going through, know you are not alone. Relapses happen, but they are a moment in time and a new beginning. You have a unique story to tell, and a new chapter to write.

We are in this storm together, but after every storm, there is a rainbow.

Let’s share this moment together and walk it alongside each other.