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Escape the relapse

I shadowed a psychiatrist during my undergrad, a short internship. This was a rehabilitation program for veterans who struggled with alcohol and drug addictions.

He had group sessions during the week and had been discussing with them how to develop a plan that intercepts or detour their urge for alcohol and drugs. Many of these guys developed a plan during the sessions.

One day after a week session about the triggers they could face that would cause them to relapse, the psychiatrist ask this question. “It’s one o’clock in the morning, you’re stranded, homeless on the river…you began to feel helpless and feel trapped as you try to figure out your next move… it’s raining and cold…your resources to escape the urge to take a hit of crack cocaine are closed, what would you do to escape this trigger?”

The room was quiet for a moment, as the men thought about it and stumbled with words trying to voice and figure out what they would do. One guy said, “I like to go bowling, it helps to take the urge away, and some bowling alleys are open late.” The psychiatrist answered, “The bowling alleys are closed…” others said “call a friend…” the psychiatrist said, “but the friend doesn’t answer.”  The room was quiet again as they realize their ways to escape may not be accessible during those vulnerable hours.

We as a people struggle with many addictions, via eating disorders, alcohol and drug use, pornography, compulsive shopping, self-image (plastic surgeries), compulsive lying, gossiping, social media addiction, and the list continues.

When we hear the word addiction, our immediate thought is drugs and alcohol, but addiction is anything that’s compulsive and habitual that causes trauma. Overeating causes health problems, pornography sexual assaults, rapes and murders, shopping debts, surgical improvement for self-image long term health issues, lying mistrust, and gossiping lies and misinformation which leads to hatred, separation and assaults.

Some addictions are physically recognizable, and some are hidden. The person puts on a facade as if things are good.

There is something I recognized and learned while observing that group. We are subject to fail during the process of regrouping, rehabilitation, and/or transformation. Learning to conquer and overcome those dark vulnerable moments takes strength and tenacity, redirecting and knowing how to interrupt our tiggers and thoughts.

And let me leave this here, the road is not easy… relapse does not mean you have failed, it’s awareness, you recognized and learned your weaknesses, the causation and effects. Why is this happening to me? What am I doing that’s making it happen? What resources do I need to overcome?

I cannot end without saying this, connecting with good counsel that provides wise natural and spiritual guidance is necessary.

A therapist said this, “the fact that a client comes to me is an indication that client wants help. Is doesn’t matter how severe the problem.” This sounds synonymous to God. During the children of Israel’s traumas and vulnerabilities, they would leave God to worship idols, and return when in trouble. God was there despite their conditions and traumas.

God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble,” (Psalms 46:1).

Find a good counselor and spiritual adviser.


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