The Real Pain Caused by Relapse

How many of us try to minimize a relapse by calling it a "slip-up" or some other term. Are we perhaps minimizing our actions so much that we may be relapsing weekly with no real consequences. But in doing so we are being dishonest with ourselves and seriously hurting our loved ones.

The following are direct quotes from the Spouse and Family Support Guide.  This Guide and the corresponding weekly meetings are provided to help our loved ones understand that they are not at fault for our addiction.  And also to help them learn how they might better support us in our recovery.

Please read the paragraphs below from the "Support Guide" with an open mind to see how your actions might be affecting those you love the most.

Principle 11: Responding Appropriately to Relapse 

Relapse occurs when a person slides back into bad choices after partial recovery. Relapse is very common and may range from a single incident to a complete return to former patterns. Because relapse is so common, some may rationalize that it is part of recovery as long as they are doing their best. However, it is important to remember that relapse is not part of the recovery process. We should be careful not to condone our loved ones’ excuses or justifications for their poor choices. 

Chronic relapse indicates that our loved ones have not yet fully recovered. It may mean that loved ones need to make greater efforts and receive more intensive treatment. We may need to set additional boundaries or limits with them. If our loved ones try to minimize the seriousness of a relapse, our clear and honest perspective can help them see that they are deceiving themselves and need additional help.

It is important to respond appropriately to our loved ones’ relapses, not only to help us heal but also to help them in their recovery. Enabling or ignoring their behavior may perpetuate their behavior and increase our suffering. They need to understand that we love them but that we cannot condone continued poor choices and their rationalizing their decisions. We can lovingly and honestly respond to their relapse and rationalizations to help them understand how their actions affect us and themselves. We can support others with “love unfeigned” (D&C 121:41) while also clearly communicating our feelings of disapproval of their behavior “when moved upon by the Holy Ghost; and then showing forth afterwards an increase of love” (D&C 121:43).

It's important not to minimize a relapse.  It is harmful for us and for our loved ones if we continue to relapse and think it is somehow "normal."

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