Sherry Gaba LCSW, Psychotherapist, Life & Recovery Coach is featured Celebrity Rehab on VH1. Sherry is the author of “The Law of Sobriety” which uses the law of attraction to recover from any addiction. Please download your copy of “Manifest Holistic Health” from Sherry’s Enrich Your Life Series. Contact Sherry at firstname.lastname@example.org for webinars, teleseminars, coaching packages and speaking engagements.
One of the warning signs that you may be relapsing is starting to think of your sobriety as a burden or a punishment, rather than as the blessing it truly is. It’s easy to remember how good your substance of choice (alcohol, drugs, sex, gambling, food, shopping) made you feel and forget how much trouble it caused and how much bad feeling that trouble brought into your life.
This kind of selective memory about addiction is not uncommon. But it is dangerous. When sobriety starts to feel worse than addiction, relapse is just around the corner.
Why does this happen? Everyone has a reason for their addiction. It may be a dysfunctional childhood, a traumatizing experience, an inability to cope with adversity, a genetic predisposition, or a combination of several factors. Whatever the reason is, you can imagine it as a stain on the nice, clean carpet of your life. You wake up every morning and see that stain. It’s ugly and you can’t bear to look at it.
Your carpet would be beautiful if only that stain weren’t there. So you try to cover it up. You throw your old newspapers over it, but you still know it’s there. So you pile up your dirty laundry on top of it as well.
Eventually, you can’t see the stain, and you may be even forget it’s there. But now you’ve got pile of trash and dirty laundry in the middle of your room, and you have to bend your whole life out of shape to navigate around it. That pile is your addiction.
When you’ve finally had enough of living with that pile, you clean it up. You wash the dirty clothes, fold them, and put them away. You dump all the old newspapers into the recycling bin. That housecleaning is your rehab. Now your house is clean—you’re sober.
The problem is, the stain is still there in the carpet. It felt good to clean up, but the reason you created that pile in the first place hasn’t gone away. The only way you’re going to feel truly at peace with your sobriety is to get out that bottle of psychic stain remover and clean the carpet. If you want to live a sober life, you can’t cover it up anymore.