relapse

If You Fall Off, Get Back Up

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Recovery Is a Lot Like Learning How To Ride A Bike – It’s a Learned Skill That Takes Practice

Relapse – Do you remember when you first learned how to ride a bicycle? You most likely had someone holding on to the back of your seat, running behind you and pushing you until you could learn to steady yourself. It took a whole bunch of tries before you were able to get your balance and learn how to ride. You probably fell off a hundred times, scraping your knees and elbows in the process. But….you were determined to learn how to ride a bike because you knew the freedom it would give you and the places it would take you.

Well, recovery is a lot like riding a bike. Recovery gives you freedom and it takes you places you’ve never been before. It carries you away from your comfort zone and moves you into unfamiliar territory. The thing is, you have to learn how to do it. It doesn’t just come naturally. Like riding a bike, recovery is a skill you have to master, and you start out with someone pushing you.

Relapse Is a Lot Like Falling Off Your Bike

Many people relapse when they first get sober. Although relapse doesn’t have to be a part of your recovery story, it might be. It is estimated that as many as eight out of ten people who commit to staying sober after they get out of rehab or go to their first 12-Step meeting will relapse after giving recovery a sincere try. Why? Because recovery isn’t easy.

Staying sober demands commitment and hard work. Like riding a bike, it may require many tries before you get it right. Unfortunately, you may have to fall off a few times before you find your balance and learn to navigate. 

Think about early relapse as it relates to when you first start riding a bike. You courageously climb onto your seat. You’re ready to tackle the task at hand and you desperately want to ride towards freedom. With your sponsor holding onto you, you begin to take off. At first, you think you’ve got it. You are so excited about what lies ahead, you go a short distance, not realizing you are shaky and wobbly the entire way. You awkwardly pedal and try to steer, but you have no idea what you are doing. Soon, you lose your balance and fall off.

And, that’s okay.

If You Fall Down, Get Back Up And Keep Moving

When you were a kid learning to ride your bike, you didn’t quit trying when you fell off. You dusted yourself off, picked yourself back up, and got back on that bike convinced that THIS would be the time you would get it right. You were determined to learn how to ride your bike, no matter how painful the process was. Recovering addicts should approach recovery with the same level of willingness and can-do spirit.

If you relapse – if you fall off your bike – just get right back up. Don’t stay down. Don’t stay on the ground feeling sorry for yourself. Get on and start pedaling. This might be the time that you get it right and ride towards freedom.

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Anne -

Anne Lazarakis joined the DARA Rehab team from Sydney, Australia. She writes about addiction and mental health on a global, local and community level. She also relays personal accounts of substance abuse and recovery through the stories of our clients, their families and our own team members.

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