Relapse is a sign that we have a reservation in our program.” Narcotics Anonymous, Basic Text, p. 76
A reservation is something we set aside for future use.
In our case, a reservation is the expectation that, if such-and-such happens, we will surely relapse.
What event do we expect will be too painful to bear?
- Maybe we think that if a spouse or lover leaves us, we will have to get high.
- If we lose our job, surely, we think, we will use.
- Or maybe it’s the death of a loved one that we expect to be unbearable.
In any case, the reservations we harbour gives us permission to use when they come true – as they often do.
We can prepare ourselves for success instead of relapse by examining our expectations and altering them where we can.
Most of us carry within us a catalogue of anticipated misery closely related to our fears. We can learn how to survive pain by watching other members live through similar pain.
We can apply their lessons to our own expectations. Instead of telling ourselves we will have to get high if this happens, we can quietly reassure ourselves that we, too, can stay clean through whatever life brings us today.
Just for today: I will check for any reservations that may endanger my recovery and share them with another addict.
Narcotics Anonymous, Basic Text pg. 51.