Thursday, January 31, 2013

Does Relapse Mean Failure?

He relapsed, does that mean he failed? HELL YES, over and over the same old crap!!! Won't he ever GET IT???!!! Expressed by a father of an addict, me.

No, no, no, this isn't a rant of today. Everything is still good. These are the words that still echo in the walls of our home.

This is the question posed by another person I regularly read. Here is Joe's link: Changing Lives Foundation

We all evolve and learn in the process of parenting an addict. When I first entered this world my way of thinking was cut and dried. You either did it or you didn't. If you didn't you failed. Learning is hard. Conceptually we see it every day. Especially for you parents that are teachers in school. It's all so easy if they would only listen, all of it is so easy. Learning is not simply screwing off the top of a head and pouring the knowledge inside. Especially if you happen to be an adult trying to learn.

When the learning first involves unlearning what you believe to be true it is especially difficult. I struggled a lot. Most of you can see that in my archived posts. It literally took me years to understand what so many of you knew and told me over and over, relapse is a part of recovery.

Most people reading me for a while know I am fairly simple minded, some of you may substitute simpleton, that's OK too. But I have to break things down as I learn. How do my life experiences enable me to accept what I am told when I have a hard time relating it to what I have experienced and believe in my life?

I can remember sending Alex off to his first inpatient rehab. So easy it was, why didn't we think of this sooner? Send him away, write a really big check and he comes home cured. Boy was I dumb!

It didn't take long for the anger to surface, 2 weeks in fact. What the hell, 2 weeks and it's the same old thing except my bank account is minus $6000.

Fast forward through a lot of anger, time and way too many more dollars than I want to think about. Relapse is a part of recovery. I don't know the statistics about how many "get it" the first time but they aren't really relevant.

What I have learned is that recovery is a process that involves many things and many variables of which relapse is one component. That's not to mean I accept relapse because it is part of the package.

Does relapse mean failure? Failure is the act of not trying. I had to break it down in simple terms for myself. When I was younger I water skied a lot. The first time I ran a slalom course I fell, if I remember right it was on the first ball. When I tried to trick ski I fell on my first 360. Failure wasn't me falling, failure would have been if I climbed into the boat and never skied again. Failure isn't the result of not succeeding. Failure is the result of not trying or giving up. No matter how many times it takes.

(proof Darlene and I were young once upon a time)


Terri said...

I love this post. I will never show a picture of me to prove I was young once. I don't think that my hair would fit anyway! You know, the 80's and all.

Thank you for what you do!

Dad and Mom said...

That was the '70's for us

Annette said...

I love this post too. Just as our kids are evolving and are we. Relapse was a tragedy in my early years. In the recent past I am learning that is often part of the process and not the end of the world.

Barbara said...

Love the post but the picture is priceless! Oh my gosh. Tell Darlene I had that same bathing suit - but actually it reminds me of a "Danskin" thing I used to wear. You were quite the stud back then, Ron!

Erin said...

I agree with Barbara, the pic is priceless and I remember the Danskin things too. LOL.

Dad and Mom said...

That was when I was in shape and skiing competitively. 35 years ago and 70 pounds ago. What I really don't understand is how Darlene's hair color is the same but mine is all gray now.

And I don't know how I was walking around on that rocky ground barefooted. I'd be lame if I tried that now.

Annette said...

I wore those Danskin bathing suits too! Yes, the picture....very cute!

val paulson said...

Love the picture.. priceless !!!
I so much appreciate all the posts. I find them to be quite educational, it has made me realize there is not an on and off switch these addicts can hit to make things better. It is a horrible disease that has be worked through with guidance and support. I appreciate all who post on here.. somehow it brings me peace. I guess it is nice to know you are not alone in this awful journey.

Anonymous said...

Thank you dad and mom. I learn so much from these posts and they provide me with peace of mind and perspective. No one is born with this knowledge. One learns by experience and through good people like you. You are doing so much good sharing your thoughts and experiences. This is one of the most important lesson I am learning - relapse is part and parcel of recovery. Can recovery ever be fully secure? There is always the spectre of relapse.

Sarah said...

This is a great post. Your son is very lucky to have you as parents. A huge part of recovery is a strong support system and luckily he has you and your wife by his side.


Syd said...

Thanks for sharing the photo and the post. You guys look great!

Jarred Manasse said...

I thoroughly enjoyed this article. Relapse shouldn't be seen as a disappointment, but rather as a chance to better prepare yourself for the recovery road that lies ahead.

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