By Martel Bird
The common story in recovery from addiction and alcoholism is that it may take more than one go at it. There are those in the 12 Step meetings who are sometimes called the, “one chip wonders,” a term which refers to somebody who took one and only one stab at the recovery process and didn’t pick up a drink or a drug again. These examples did not, in the accepted terminology, ever “relapse.” These cases are usually few and far between.
So what goes wrong for most folks the first time around, or the second, or the third? Typically, what happens is distraction. Often one will hear of someone who focused on the material things, someone who got hung up on that great fast-paced job they acquired. They became more concerned about work and money than their recovery. In Florida especially, one might hear about someone who became obsessed with image, going to the gym to sculpt that perfect bod for the beach.
Most often of all, one will hear about those poor souls who fell hard for that special someone in the inevitable, unavoidable, compulsory “rehab romance,” so many find themselves in.
It comes up all the time, that couple that met in detox and suddenly they’re engaged to be married. It seldom ends well and it seldom ends with both parties finding lasting recovery from addiction.
Unfortunately, more often than not, an addict/alcoholic will have to be beaten down into total submission by the sufferings of their disease, to the point where and when they are one hundred percent willing to take all of the suggestions they are given by their mentors, even that well-known and unpopular suggestion, “don’t get into a relationship in your first year of recovery.”
Not all the time, but a lot of the time, an addict/alcoholic will recollect over the course of their lives a feeling of discomfort being inside their own skin, thwarted at first by the synthetic ease and comfort that comes after a drink or a drug. The drink or the drug in effect becomes the solution to the aversion one has to live their lives on life’s terms.
An addict/alcoholic may well be in full flight from who they are. They may not have the slightest idea who they really are. This is why it is so important, not to try and make a relationship with someone else, but to foster a relationship with yourself while you’re getting the hang of facing up to real reality, without giving in to the impulse to escape from it.