I can't tell you how many times I've encountered people who admit they have relapsed from their alcohol free life, back to a bout of drinking. They come forth feeling shame, guilt and embarrassment, as if the slip they experienced was some type of failure, a let down or irreversible mistake. I'm here to tell you friends, this is not a contest or a race. This is your one and only life. It's a journey, and there are no trophies for winning.
I too, have experienced relapse. At the time I framed my non-drinking effort as either a diet or a fitness routine. I did this so I could put a time limit on things or because if I failed, I could say it was about food instead of booze… because I just didn't want to endure the feeling of failure that came with relapse.
Now I understand that relapse is simply a stage of change. It is actually a fantastic teacher, an impactulful learning experience. If you go back to drinking and decide it was a mistake you now have material to pull from to protect you from another relapse. You can ask yourself what triggered you to drink? What were you feeling at the time, what were the circumstances around it? Then, armed with this new information you can make a plan to alter your life, build resilience and get prepared for future stresses or pulls back to the drinking life.
Maybe it's day one for you and you are thinking about how you have disappointed other people you told you would never drink again. Maybe you are punishing yourself and adding to your sense of depression and anxiety that adds to the desire to numb your situation with a drink. Do yourself a favour and keep these two things in mind: 1) you quit drinking for you…other people don't care as much as you do about the quality of your life. Their opinion, if they even formulate one, doesn't matter. 2) Your opinion does matter. It is essential that you be your own best friend when building an alcohol free life. It takes a tonne of self love and respect to live your best life. So be kind and forgiving to yourself.
Day one is not a negative thing. It is a fresh, yet informed start to the next phase of your alcohol free life.
Talk to me about your experience. I am here to support you and tell you you are on the right track.