Thursday, September 26, 2013

Let's Talk About Relapse - Day 18 - The Gifts of Relapse!

We have spent the past 17 weeks discussing relapse!  Wow! Every time I have sat down to write, I think to myself, "What I have to say today about relapse is so important! I hope I choose the right words, and I hope I get the message across!" Most importantly, because of our shared suffering from relapse, I also hope these blog posts have been a positive contributor to your recovering process by imparting healing principles and tools. And, as we bring this discussion of relapse to a close, for now, I hope you will take some time to reflect upon this final lesson - The Gifts of Relapse.

The Gifts of Relapse

It is often said,

 "Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, expecting different results."

Over the past several months, we have discussed the anatomy of relapse. We named and pealed away the layers of shame and we tenderly addressed the inner core of shame; we thoroughly identified internal and external triggers and assessed their impact upon us; we confronted the masks of denial, disguise, and detachment and learned how to remove them while reclaiming our truths in the process; and we revisited the practice of forgiveness - internal and external - and reminded ourselves of its necessary ongoing implementation. As we have done this difficult and demanding work, we have acquired The Gifts of Relapse - insight into ourselves and opportunity to redirect our lives.

If we want to experience different results and embrace physical, emotional, and spiritual renewal from relapse, we must learn from our past and we must implement new patterns of thinking, behaving, and feeling.  

What are your gifts?

When I look back at my relapse episode, I am so grateful for the gifts I received. Although there are many, I learned that when I am triggered, I often rush from one unhealthy behavior to another to avoid the pain I am feeling.  Relapse taught me of my need to slow down, to be quiet, and to be still.  I need time by myself to reflect and regroup.  Another gift of relapse is that I relearned the importance of trusting in my levels of healing and strength and of readjusting my boundaries and expectations when necessary. I also reaffirmed my right to protect myself and always to reassess my exposure to unhealthy people and environments. Relapse re-gifted me with the peace of mind that recovery is a process - with ebbs and tides- and that I am to remain open to it and trust in it.     

Depending upon our life experiences, each of us will receive gifts of relapse which are applicable to our healing journeys. However, what is most  important is that each of us takes the time to reflect upon and conduct a deliberate inventory of the lessons we have learned about ourselves. 

Some questions to ask and to address are the following:
  • Are you taking time to be still - to think about yourself and your journey? What are your areas of strength or of vulnerability? 
  • Are you giving yourself time to cultivate healthy ways of being? What patterns of behaving, thinking, or feeling are you readdressing and reworking?
  • Are you healing one step at a time - one day at a time- one breath at a time? How are you working your program of recovery?
  • Are you keeping a pulse on your current levels of strength and consistency? What is that teaching you? 
  • Are you assessing your choices of environments and reassessing their levels of healthiness? What are you learning and how is that helping you?
  • Are you recognizing setbacks and making adjustments where necessary? What are they and what changes are you making?
  • Are you taking ownership for your choices - both healing and harmful? What are they and what are you learning from them?  
As you ponder these questions and others, think about what you now know about yourself and your relationship with relapse.   Claim these lessons - Claim these gifts - And remember...

Claim your lessons - Claim your gifts - Do this now...

"Deep down inside, each of us knows what our truths are.  It is forgivable to lose them; it is unforgivable not to reclaim them." 

Until next time, be well...

Special note: Starting Wednesday, October 2nd, 2013,  I will be hosting a weekly radio show - Holli Kenley - Keys for Recovery - on W4CY Radio and the Intertainment Network at 12:00 pm ET. I hope you will join me as we bring you informative and restorative information on many different topics!  We will start with the topics of bullying and cyber bullying. Please email me your questions or share your stories or concerns at

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