Why do I have dips in my recovery and sink back to old habits for a day or so?
Last Updated: 02/05/2019 at 3:44am
Melissa Hudson, MS Ed, PhD(c), LMFT
Marriage & Family Therapist
I work with clients of diverse backgrounds on a multitude of concerns. My approach is, at times, directive, yet always curious, nonjudgmental, collaborative, and validating.
Top Rated Answers
The mind likes to enact what it knows and has felt comfortable doing for so long. So, with more practice of recovery the better you will get at being fully recovered. Old habits die hard but new habits are born strong!
It's completely natural and it's important you're not too hard on yourself, because recovery takes time and patience and self-love. Since you have to recover, it means you've been suffering somehow before and that has left a mark on your brain, so just like that took time, it will take time to build self-love and become mentally healthier.
Ideally the trajectory of recovery would be a linear slope, each day getting a little bit better than the past. Unfortunately, recovery is far from this. Throughout this process we experience both good and bad days in reference to our feeling, behaviors, and urges. Oftentimes this "dip" is referred to a lapse in recovery. A lapse is a temporary use of behaviors without the intent to continue them. Although sometimes it appears that an urge or behavior may come "out of the blue," there is often a trigger that may be the cause. A trigger is something that causes a person to retreat back to an earlier stage in recovery, whether it be in their thoughts or actions. A trigger can be a person, thought pattern, event, memory, or anything that produces a negative thought that can contribute to a particular negative behavior. This "dip" in recovery is nothing to be ashamed of. It is a very normal part of recovery. I would encourage you to see if you can identify any triggers that became present before using the behaviors and see if there is a way to avoid the same situation next time. Best of luck with your recovery and thank you for sharing with the 7cups community!
That's completely normal. The "dips", "slips" and "lapses" are all part of the process of recovery. You need to learn from them and not allow them to become a "full on relapse".
Because change is hard! It takes time, energy and resources to break out of an existing cycle. Its natural that every now and then to return to that which you know or are used to. But you've been able to do it once. I have faith you'll do it again when your ready too
This is natural for almost any habbit. It's like an addiction to alcohol. If you're used to it, it is going to be hard to just stop on a limb and be clean the rest of your life. You have to allow yourself some time to heal and accept that no matter how long you've been clean of the habit, it may still creep up here and there. :)
I find the word "recovery" somewhat deceptive because life is not "black and white" and so there is no "relapse" and "recovered" in a wholesome sense. Once you realize that everyday is an active process toward a better healthier self (psychologically and physically) the less you will conceive "lapses" as failures and keep actively pressing on toward the future. Just remember, everyday is a new day and it still calls for as much active resources toward recovery as the last. This becomes easier with time.
Part of recovery is relapsing. Unfortunately it's not a process where one can suddenly decide it's time to get better and then, well, be better. Its a roller coaster ride of ups and downs, good days and bad days and the trick is to fight through those bad days and do your best to resist falling into those old habits.
The short and simple answer to this question is because you're human. Recovery is not a straight line, it is more like a rollercoaster. It has ups, downs, twists, loops, parts that are grinding and slow while others speed everything up. Recovery is, in some ways, as slippery a slope as developing the issue was. The biggest difference between the two is which way you are traveling, and when you're in recovery, you're placing spikes, ropes and platforms along the way so you don't fall all the way down again. It's important to forgive ourselves for these imperfect moments and to recognize that they are a normal part of getting used to a new life. It may not be easy but try to look at these moments as an opportunity to see how far you've come and how much value there is in keeping yourself there. We all have our slip up days but as recovery progresses, they should get easier to recover from in themselves. If you take the time to pay attention to smaller successes, I think you'll find that you come back from these day or so moments much faster than you could before recovery began.
Habits are the hardest to get over, it takes some time. Its good to start step by step for example start by cutting off the habit bit by bit rather then the whole thing. You are more likely to fall back into the habit if you cut it at one go rather than when you cut it bit by bit.
Recovery is not easy. Just like trying to walk up a steep hill, you may stumble and fall back down several times. The important thing is to keep getting up and moving forward, and ever upwards.
Having dips like that and even relapse are part of recovery. You have relied so long on your addiction that your body really misses you know what you were doing to your. So course you're going to have urges like this where you just fell down. So just move on find things that you're thankful for and be thankful for your recovery and your sobriety.
Recovery doesn't usually go in a straight line. It's a journey with lots of obstacles and challenges along the way. Overcoming these things may seem overwhelming at times, but go at your own pace and don't give up!
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