RELAPSE & STEP FOUR

RELAPSE SUCKS BUT THERE IS A WAY TO QUICKLY CLEAR THE EMOTIONAL WRECKAGE.  I DIDN’T MAKE IT UP ITS RIGHT OUT OF THE BIG BOOK.

This article has some really helpful (step) writing exercises to get past the horrible feelings that come along with a relapse and trying to step back into the rooms of AA or NA with a clear head and free heart. We who are returning from a relapse are no worse or better than the man with 20 years sober, just in a different place. As people we are all equal but just because our head knows that our heart condemns us and wants us to beat ourselves severely. These feelings can prevent us from re-entering the rooms and making another attempt at sobriety. Our head tells us “what’s the use we will just screw up again?” NOT TRUE because this time we will use the steps and rely on AA to stay sober rather than ourselves. Once we realize it’s the program and our Higher Power that keeps us sober rather than ourselves we can walk with confidence that the program works. All we need do is work it.

Relapse Feels Horrible here is a great solution for the remorse.  It’s one little assignment that is tried and true…if we can just pick up a pencil and paper to do it!!!    Relapse brings up a lot of guilt and shame which sucks, however it is the perfect time to get some serious baggage off of our heart.

AFTER WE WRITE OUR FEAR LIST with our short explanation of “what happened and how it made me feel”  WE ASK GOD TO REMOVE ALL THE FEARS AND CHARACTER DEFECTS WE HAVE CONFIDED IN OUR HIGHER POWER.  We share our fear list with an empathetic listener who will relate to us and NOT INVALIDATE OUR VALID EXPRESSION of fears.  Women are usually more empathic than men.

 Building self-esteem happens when we take one right action at a time.  First thing, write core feelings.  Write the self-loathing and the feelings of utter worthlessness which addicts feel after a relapse.
Example: I feel like a failure, I hate myself for the things I have done to me and others (children especially).  Write the fears associated with thoughts like: I let down my fellows, what will they think of me now?  I want people to like me but now they will know I am a failure.  Write all the society fears associated with relapse.  Write the shame of re-entering the rooms after a relapse and what that does to your reputation and how it makes you feel.

Our head will tell us this exercise is just making matters worse.  Our head will say “why should I replay this it just causes pain?”  But this exercise should feel yucky!  It goes against our very nature to hide away and repress feelings of inferiority.  Then cover it all up with a bow of character defects and blame everyone else.  Well that does have it’s uses but it will never get me well.  And the feelings I hide will come out sideways eventually at those I love most.  So if we are going to feel like shit anyway we may as well feel like crap on our way to getting better than feel like crap on our way to getting sicker.  Your choice.

GET TO THE CORE FEELINGS THAT MOST EVERY RELAPSER FEELS UNLESS THEY ARE A SOCIOPATH or can’t get honest.  These admissions of feelings and fears WILL cut the ego to the quick!  These core human emotions, when addressed & processed will set the addict free from anxiety if done thoroughly and regularly.Next write all the fears about security.  I lost my house I am scared shitless, I am ashamed I now live in a trailer.  Write: I maxed out my credit cards, how will I ever pay it back?  My life sucks now financially, all that money I spent, regret, regrets regret!  I am afraid I will be homeless!  Don’t just write it like your balancing your check book or something, no!  Write an expression of emotion straight from the core of your heart words that would embarrass you thoroughly if anyone read them.
On a Fourth Step let’s face it folks; if we only write what we are comfortable sharing with others we won’t get a damn thing out of the step work.  Write the stuff that you want hidden, write the stuff that makes you squirm at the thought of anybody seeing it!  Write the stuff that you have hidden for years!There is a reason that we talk about the three fear groups.  Sex, society and security are mankind’s main concern, not just the addicts concerns.
When we get into fear 99% of the time it’s about losing our security in one or more of these areas.  Therefore it makes sense to write these fears like it instructs us to in the fourth step Big book.After we have expressed our feelings on paper and have listed our fears we re-visit our third step.  We remember that God has our back in all these areas and we ask him or her or it to remove all the fears we listed.
Next we confess our fears and feelings in a meeting or to our sponsor.  We do the fifth step on the worst of these fears and they will lose power over us!It’s easy for other people to tell us to “get over it”.  But that’s easier said than done, we can’t take our heart out and put it in the dishwasher with the dirty dishes.  Sure some things we can just shrug off but other feelings need a little work to help us process and get out.
The people who say “get over it” are often the ones who repress so many emotions that they are one heart-beat from a break-down.  We came to AA to learn how to deal with our emotions not how to shut them down and get sicker.  Always pray before any step-work so your recovery gets the supernatural kick-start that it needs.
  AFTER WE WRITE OUR FEAR LIST with our short explanation of “what happened and how it made me feel”  WE ASK GOD TO REMOVE ALL THE FEARS AND CHARACTER DEFECTS WE HAVE CONFIDED IN OUR HIGHER POWER.  We share our fear list with an empathetic listener who will relate to us and NOT INVALIDATE OUR VALID EXPRESSION of fears.  Women are usually more empathic than men.

Author: Lori E.

I love to write. I hope recoveryfarmhouse makes somebodies day a little brighter.