Both Recovery and Relapse places a stone in the foundation our addicts are building. These stones are the tools they gather along the way. Some of the tools our addicts will be given are the “12 Steps”.
A number of years ago I did a 12 Step based program called “Making Peace with your Past”. It was hard work. It included a lot of self discovery and working through some tough memories and emotions. It took me a good 6 months to complete working through it week after week with a counselor, and then a number of months after for me to really start implementing the steps.
I know just how hard it was for me getting through those 12 steps as well as the work it entailed and I was not an addict. Adding that (addiction) to the mix can only add more time, anxiety and work. For some of our addicts there has been something in their lives that they desire to cover over. Some emotional pain, some difficult trauma they prefer to forget, that sets them on the path to addiction. If they had the coping skills (tools), trusted someone with the pain who could have afforded them the guidance (stones) to overcome they may have never ventured down the path that is so hard to come back from. I know this was true for my son (and for my sister).
Learning these skills, acquiring the tools, placing the stones in the foundation is hard work.
The work recovery takes can be daunting, painful and humbling… And there will be times that something will come along and crash down a stone or two, or ten. A tool they have learned will get misplaced.
And relapse will happen.
A new skill can be learned from the relapse, so don’t discount the time of relapse as not being a part of the recovery. It takes great strength to come back from a relapse, and that strength was gained during the previous run of recovery. I have heard so many stories of addicts that the relapse to recovery time gets shorter. (My son included) Those tools and stones that have been placed in the foundation are still there, and it will be those remaining stones that hold them up and get them to the next run of Recovery.
When the foundation is complete and cured (a concrete term), then a life free of addiction can be built on it. Nicks and cracks will come, but the tools they have acquired along the way will become the mortar that fills them in.
Rushing the process will only produce a faulty foundation, similar to the biblical story of the foolish man who built his house on the sand… It takes wisdom to build a house on a rock, and that is what the work of Recovery is for.