Bad News Travels Faster than Good News
Fighting an addiction is a never-ending battle for most addicts and one of the hardest parts to the whole process is the perception you earn in the eyes of your friends and family. It’s all too easy to sit back in judgment of something you’ve never had to experience yourself and far too many people are eager to cast judgment on you for any little slip-up along the way. As with anything, bad news will always travel faster than news of your continued sobriety.
Many alcoholics find that they can go for months of sobriety without a single word of encouragement or congratulations from those around them but as soon as they relapse and tumble into a difficult stretch, folks practically line up to tell them how they screwed up and need to get their act together. This is hardly a fair balance of praise and criticism but that’s the nature of people.
If you’re a recovering addict or alcoholic, keep in mind that the battle you’re fighting is yours and yours alone. Those who haven’t walked the path of addiction recovery won’t be able to relate the way you want them to. Don’t take their ignorance personally, as it often comes from a place of “trying to help.” They’re more eager to offer corrective advice than ongoing praise for maintaining your sobriety. Just keep rolling with it and the good days will soon outnumber the bad days.
If you’re someone with a friend, family member, or colleague who is working through recovery and sobriety, take caution with your words. Discouragement breeds relapse and if you care about a person’s recovery, it’s important to lavish them with encouragement during the good (sober) times and avoid being too hard on them when he/she stumbles and falls into a relapse period.
Relapse is a part of the process of recovery, unfortunately, and it’s the job of those around the addict to help them get back up and keep moving on with a life of sobriety. Make an active attempt to spread the good news of continued health and sobriety over the nasty gossip of relapse and embarrassing mistakes.