Addiction has always been a disease that involves secrets and lies. Once you start your recovery process it is essential that you begin to learn that being honest about your struggles is the best way to continue living sober. Unfortunately there are some struggles that aren't so easy to be honest about.
After I decided to get sober, detoxed from Heroin
and finished rehab, I continued to go to Narcotics Anonymous meetings. Something I remember hearing in rehab and in these meetings is that sometimes relapse will be a part of an addict’s recovery. This sounded crazy to me at the time. I didn't understand how a relapse could be a part of anyone's recovery, and I was very sure that it would not be a part of mine. As it turns out I was wrong.
Once a person has been sober for a period of time it can become easy to forget how badly drugs affected their life. The disease can begin to cloud their reality and convince them that this time could be different, that this time they'll be able to use just once or twice without any consequences. If you are an addict, no matter how long you have been clean, these thoughts are dangerous. They can show up when you are under stress and need a “break” or show up when everything is going really well and you need a “reward.” These thoughts alone are not necessarily what is so dangerous, it's when you keep the thoughts to yourself that you begin to play a risky game.
Hopefully, when thoughts like these begin to appear, you have a friend or a sponsor you can go to and be open and honest with about your struggle. You may be surprised to learn how common these feelings are among your fellow addicts. When I first felt tempted a mixture of emotions arose. A part of me could focus on my disease and I would tell myself that these thoughts were to be expected, but at the same time I also felt ashamed that the thoughts were there. The mistake I made was letting my shame about these feelings overpower my need to be honest with the supportive people surrounding me.
After choosing to let my shame overwhelm me, rather than talk with anyone, I made my next choice, which was to get high. Once I had gotten high the shame doubled and then tripled because I had used. There are several choices that can be made after a “slip” and one of those will always be to just give up and give in. You know you've done something you can't take back, so it is easy to feel embarrassed and continue using to numb those feelings in the same way you may have numbed your feelings in the past. Another choice, one that may be harder but will be the best for you, is to pick yourself right back up. Don't let a bad choice ruin your recovery. You can walk back into your meetings and be honest. Remember to take it one day at a time. Recovery is all about deciding to make the next right choice. A Conversation With 10 Recovering Drug Addicts Philip Seymour Hoffman Talks About Drugs and Rehab