Monday, March 28, 2011

Stop carrying a tortoise for relapse prevention!

Saturday the 26th of March 2011, was the second fortnightly Family Counseling and Meeting of the month. The topic of the day in continuation to the last family counseling and meeting was ‘relapse prevention - characteristics and factors’.

During the pre-counseling meeting, at Ranjan Ji’s seat, there was a frenzied discussion going on as to what the family’s role should be in relapse prevention. Shipra Ji and Sangeeta Ji were, as usual, thoroughly discussing as to what they were supposed to speak during the counseling. It was said that families always look for a specified set of roles to prevent their ward from relapsing. However, they need to understand that no such book has been written which can stop your loved one from a relapse. As Ranjan Ji said, ‘how many roles can I write down? I cannot stop Mrs. XYZ from bringing his son’s favorite tortoise to the meeting. Although, he has ruined his own life and never cared for his parents but all his parents can think of (even in a treatment center) is enabling him by bringing his favorite one to meet him’.

During the counseling that day, only the characteristics of a relapse could be discussed. It was told that just like treatment, relapse is a process as well. It never happens that a person gets up one fine morning and starts drinking. A relapse is always indicated by gradual changes in the behavior of the individual. A person starts getting irritated, gets up late in the morning, becomes irresponsible and so on and so forth. And, this is the very point where the family needs to come into action. This is where they need to start confronting their loved ones and holding them responsible. Families need to remember always, that it is the individual who is in the process of relapse and the only thing that can stop him is his immediate family with their adequate support system. The family’s role is the most vital during the initial relapse process.

I wasn’t able to make it on Saturday, but can very well comprehend the level of conference amongst the family members (thirty in number) and the councils of Shafa. Being a recovery addict myself, I am getting to know what all is needed to be in recovery and that why the families need to stop carrying the tortoise for relapse prevention. 

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