A mother wrote to me: My son is still on the revolving road to recovery. He has been in detox three times, rehab – both inpatient and outpatient, in a sober house, involved in AA with a sponsor, and presently is trying the suboxone route with individual counseling.  My heart is broken, but I will find my courage. The words stagli vicino will be my mantra of hope.

My reflection: Relapse happens and happened often to my son. I learned more about relapse when my son wrote about a friend, “I know that place. He was in pain, and it was too much. He used to kill it. Then he needs to keep using because the addiction has kicked in. An addict loses all sense of free will; you’re thrown back into the space of obsession, of always needing something more. I’m sure he’s scared and confused.”

Today’s Promise to consider: Relapse is terrifying to those of us who love someone who is suffering and also to the suffering person himself. As much as I fear the pain of relapse and the consequences for my son, I will stay close with hope and faith. Though Jeff is clean and living a healthy life, we know that relapse is a perpetual threat. It’s only with vigilance that it’s kept at bay. Today I’ll support my addict in his efforts to stay clean while giving him space to steer his own program.

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Pat Nichols
5 years ago

Relapse is very common but what is not common is having a plan in place when this occurs. I studied the stages of relapse and could usually tell when my son was heading toward relapse. His emotional and mental state became altered and I would contact our counselor and he would help our family prepare. We were no longer surprised or fearful as we knew this was simply a part of his recovery. We were able to stay strong and stay close and be supportive through appropriate boundaries.

5 years ago
Reply to  Pat Nichols

Pat, This is brilliant! I wish I had done this. Dr MacAfee talked with us about this idea, but he came into our lives at the end of Jeff’s addiction. Your advice is pure gold. Thanks for sharing.