when life throws you lemons - Dealing with setbacks in recovery.

When life throws you lemons…

Dealing with Setbacks in Recovery.


Life is Hard, so is recovery. Setbacks happen, people lapse and or re-lapse. Noone promised a walk in the park. I always reinforce to people that a setback is only a setback if there is some learning in the process.


This is not granting you some sort of special permission to fail in your recovery. The person that’s ideally most concerned with you not experiencing a setback is (hopefully) yourself.


That said, statistics show that many people in addiction recovery DO suffer setbacks along the way ( I had my fair few that’s for sure).


So, let’s say that you got started in recovery, things are going well then….. you have a lapse.


What now?


How Not to Deal with a Setback


You have a lapse because of an unexpected event or consequence of your  past and react you in these sorts of ways:


1: Telling yourself another time to be sober would be better. Waiting for your planets to align is not a good plan—there’s no time like the present.


2: Blaming it on others. You might deal with your lapse by blaming friends,  family, partner/ex-partner, or just about anyone else that’s in the nearest 100miles.When you use blame you remove responsibility, convincing  yourself that it wasn’t you that CHOSE to use – you were “forced” into it.


3: Telling yourself that you “can’t handle” recovery. Urges cannot force you to addict yourself, and the reality is everyone is capable of recovery. Millions of people have recovered from all sorts of addictions, and you can, too. It’s less of a matter of if you can than if you will do all that it takes.


4: Telling yourself you’re not ready. If you’re already in recovery, it was probably for a very good reason. You may want to remind yourself of why got you into recovery in the first place, rather than talk yourself out of seeking freedom from your addiction.


5: Seeing your setback as an all-or-nothing disaster.Telling yourself that “I’ve blown all that sober time I had!” and believing you’re starting all over again will make your setback appear to be a recovery-ending event.  NOT TRUE. You’re not starting over, you just had a setback.


How to Deal with a Setback


1: Take responsibility. Don’t blame others or situations on what happened. For two reasons, First, blaming someone else can cause a relationship issue (if you’re interested in keeping a relationship), and secondly, it stops you from seeing your own involvement and decision making. It’s hard to correct your thinking and actions if you are busy blaming others.


2: Learn from the setback. It’s not a total loss if you learn something from what happened, and make plans to not have similar situations trip you up.


3: Don’t treat yourself as a failure. Lapses and other failures are events, and not indicative of who you are nor how things will eventually turn out. Learn, make adjustments  and move forward!


4: Setbacks  can create  clarity on what you didn’t see before.  For instance, if you folded under peer pressure, you may want to look to see if you carry around a habit of people-pleasing.


5: Get input from others. If you’re still confused by your setback, reach out to others.


Own it

Learn from it!


Head up & Chest out!

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