The world of addictions and mental health should rethink the ideas of relapse and recovery. People recognize that relapse is a part of recovery, but there still remains a lot of shame in a relapses. Relapses seem like a setbacks in recoveries. The idea of recovery is overrated too. What are we trying to recover? Are we looking to get back to some state before problems existed? If that is the case, then we are looking at reawakening.
When we relapse on the road to recovery, we have actually taken a step forward. If we have been accumulating skills, knowledge and awareness and we engage in a harmful habit that we’ve been trying to break, we have put our training to the test. The skills and knowledge that don’t work for us can be rethought. When we learn what works we can teach others our tricks.
When the Buddha experienced enlightenment, he spent the rest of his life becoming enlightened again and again, to help others see the Way. As we continue on our life journey, we can relapse, recover, rethink and discover. In that process, we become beacons to light the Way.