Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Relapse Part II

A little over three years ago I wrote a post on relapse. At the time, it was difficult for me to accept the common phrase, "relapse is a part of recovery." By thinking I was allowed to relapse, that meant I was setting myself up for failure. Now that I am a few years down the road I feel a little silly and naive thinking I would never relapse. It was a good thought at the time, but sadly, the majority of us are unable to flawlessly make our way through our first attempt at recovery. My younger self was expecting and hoping for perfection; yet I am human and the furthest thing from perfect. 

To pinpoint an exact moment when my relapse began is impossible. However, there were several red flags that I chose to ignore. Looking back, the list of relapse red flags is quite extensive:

I stopped seeing my therapist.
I bought a bathroom scale and was weighing myself regularly.
I began drinking regularly and in secret.
I became codependent in a relationship.
I was constantly wearing a happy-face mask while longing for true connection on the inside.
I was comparing myself to my peers.
Sneaky, manipulative, and perfectionistic behaviors returned.
I began relying on external things for self-acceptance.
I became numb to my emotions.

The list goes on and on.

Before I knew it I was slightly below my weight range and was either drunk or hung over every single day. Although my weight was not drastically below where it needed to be, I began relying on calories from alcohol rather than food to maintain my weight. I thought if I painted a perfectly put together picture on the outside, nobody would catch onto my inner demons. It worked for a short period of time and honestly, I never thought I would fall back into old habits. However, not only did I fall back, I fell into a deeper hole than ever before. I had completely lost myself.

Relapse became a part of my recovery.

Luckily, however, I can now view relapse as the biggest teacher in my recovery. I like to think of relapse as a seed; it has planted a lesson within me and I can use that lesson to grow greater than ever before. The truth is, sometimes we lose battles as often as we succeed. The key though, win or lose, is to never stop fighting. 

Usually if something hurts, it is a teacher. Pain has been a consistent trend during the past twelve months of my life. But I think I have finally reached a point where I can use those feelings of sorrow, fear, shame, regret, and anxiety as fuel. If I allow myself to be teachable, these past twelve months could easily transform from the most agonizing to the most significant and empowering months of my life.

Relapse can be a part of recovery.
And today I am learning to not only to be okay with it, but more importantly, use it to come back stronger than ever. 



  1. Hey Kelsi,

    I've been following you since 2013 when I recognized my own eating disorder and was looking for support in my recovery. Your writing has always meant a lot to me because of your willingness to be vulnerable and candid. Now, all these years later, I have to tell you how proud I am of you. Admitting to substance abuse problems is so humbling, and seeking treatment is powerful. Never apologize for your story and your path, because it will serve as a lesson and a message to yourself and others who are struggling. Love you girl, you're in my thoughts and prayers.

    1. Thank you SO MUCH, Alaina. Your comment meant so much to me! I hope you have found peace in your own life and recovery. You deserve it! <3

  2. Hi Kelsi,

    Always happy to see you here and there. Thank you for sharing your recovery journey. It is a gift to many of us. xoxo

    1. It's always great to hear from you! We should catch up soon :)