This entry was a long time coming and I hope I can do it without getting too personal.
This past month I experienced what can only really be called a personal setback. I was forced out of an unhealthy relationship that I’d been in for over two years. I was forced to see someone I loved in a light that was finally honest but unbelievably devastating.
I spent the past days going through all the usual stages of “Why me?” The crying, the cussing, the anger and the “I want every trace of him gone out of my life for frakkin’ good.”
Of course this reminds me of the stages of grief, not that I’m comparing this to grief because it’s not at all that serious. I realize that in life, stages are rarely happen in a straight line. This can definitely be seen in the conflict theme stages of Erikson’s Stages of Development. Yes, the stages are mapped out by ages, but because of what life may or may throw at you, you could be go back to young adulthood when you’ve been in middle adulthood for a while. The point is, you can’t always expect to be done with a certain part of your life because you don’t live in complete isolation or a bubble in which nothing is allowed to touch you.
And so that brings me to the issue at hand, so to speak, relapse prevention. You have to prepare for relapse because you are working with humans. Even if the person is perfectly motivated to change, there is a high chance that they will fall back into destructive behavior.
The habit I keep falling back into is being stuck in that spot on the balcony and looking at him while he coldly tried to excuse his behavior. I keep hearing the words repeated which of course lands me back in that dark emo place.
So to the relapse prevention part of the plan. The trick to them is to get the client to acknowledge triggers so that you can counter act them. For instance, I know that if I sit with those feelings for too long, I won’t allow myself to leave them behind. I’ll slowly put on the victim uniform and go down hill from there. In order to counter act that, I don’t focus on whatever I thought was happening. I focus on what I know was really going on and I call a friend. Kind of like an emotional sponsor to remind me that in the end, that while it does suck, I’m going to get through this. It’s difficult to live in reality but it’s worth the effort. OR I do something that makes me laugh. For instance, watching Picard clips, Community, or the three episode arc of Evil Willow on Buffy.
What happens if you relapse? You acknowledge it for what it is and make steps to make sure the chances of it happening again are less likely. Maybe you back to square one like in some programs, or maybe you just examine why you relapsed and designate a part of the plan that describes what you do next. There is always a “in case I do this” part of a well rounded plan.
Logically, this all makes sense. The hard part is putting it to action. It’s easier to make a plan for someone else than it is for yourself even though you know yourself better than you know your clients. It’s even harder because you know yourself better than you know your clients. You know how to create a plan that might set you up for failure or how to find loop holes.
In end, I know this part of my life will always have happened. I have to remind myself of that because I’m known for backing away from a hurtful situation and pretending that it never happened and the person behind it doesn’t exist. The past two and half years happened and no one inside the situation handled it well. See? You also have to take responsibility for your own actions.
And so ends what is possibly (hopefully) one of the only personal emotional posts you’ll see here from me.
Good night and good luck.