Sobriety a Journey, Relapse a Painful Chapter

February 24th, 2012 at 11:30 am

The sport columns are filled today with the news that Josh Hamilton has possibly had a relapse with alcohol.  A note of caution should be used that the facts need to be clearly known before it is assumed to be true.  Sobriety is a daily challenge and even more challenging when life is lived in the public eye.  However, the topic has opened up the door for an honest conversation about addiction and relapse.

Sobriety is a journey, and relapse can be a painful chapter for the person in recovery and their family.  Relapse actually begins with subtle changes that occur over a period of time.  It is referred to as the “stinking thinking” that starts to erode the foundation of sobriety and ends in the use of a mood altering substance. Attitude pays a big part, and AA talks about the importance of HOW which stands for honesty, openness and willingness.  When these attitudes start to falter then the beginnings of relapse start to work in a person spiritually and emotionally.  Additionally, AA emphasizes the need for a daily review of “character defects” and encourages changes in attitude to be dealt with immediately through meetings and work with a sponsor.

In recovery it is also important to limit high-risk situations that trigger the desire to use.

These situations can include a person or place that’s been associated with drinking or drug use, including any situation where alcohol or other drugs are available and high stress situations.  It is important for the alcoholic or addict to have a plan of support when they find themselves in risky situations. The support plan should include names and phone numbers of caring people that they can call for help and a plan to get out of the situation.

A relapse is painful, but it is important for the person to immediately be honest and return to a supportive community of friends, and go back to doing the steps and continue sobriety one day at a time.  Josh Hamilton has a tremendous impact on adolescents, young people and has been a role model for folks in recovery.  He now has a personal challenge to deal with and an opportunity to continue to be a role model by dealing with the relapse in a healthy effective way.  It’s important to pray for him and not “throw stones” as he walks through a difficult chapter of his recovery.

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