Dialectical Abstinence and Lapsing

Dialectical abstinence outlines that while full adherence with a meal plan is the goal every day,  and that lapsing from your plan is inevitable. 

Because holiday weekends can be rough for issues with food and weight, we’re going to talk about the white elephant in the room. You know, what you don’t want to talk about because it brings up shame or maybe because you think if you talk about it you will catch it like a bad cold.  The evil “L” word… LAPSING.

It’s a sad thing to me that people don’t talk about this, but the dirty truth of this path e are on together is that according to Dialectical Abstinence, lapses are a part of the journey.  They most definitely happen.  Sometimes in really big ways – like big, planned, self-harming benders.  And sometimes in little “termite-ey” ways like eating more “healthy food” than you wish you did, or being less careful when ordering your dinner, or not planning before the barbecue you have to go to tonight or tomorrow 😉

Now, don’t run to the cupcake shop with this information, please and thank you.  Just because they are happen doesn’t mean they are okay or endorsed  It doesn’t mean that we get a “cheat day” or that we shouldn’t be careful to have them happen with less frequency, intensity and duration. It just means they happen. Are you picking up what I’m putting down?

To quote Paul Simon, “Breakdowns come. And breakdowns go. So what are you going to do about it? That’s what I’d like to know.”  Paul Simon is such a Beacon Buddy… Well Paul, lapses are simply problems to be solved. Here is what we are going to do about it…

  1. You can be doing something at 4 in the afternoon and be doing something entirely different at 4:01.

    Which is to say that lapses get tricky when we continuously repeat the behavior. That is, when lapses become RELAPSES – which is something we try to avoid.  So try very very hard to ACT differently than you are feeling when lapses happen. And, for what it’s worth, you can even repair a long long long relapse.  It’s just easier to stay in recovery than to get back into it.

  1. Dialectical Abstinence says that having a relapse does not mean that recovery isn’t for you. 

    Let’s not play that old tape again. Failure is a figment of your imagination – or at the very least an opportunity for growth. No, seriously, Stop rolling your eyes at me.

  1. Which brings us to: What doesn’t kill you really DOES make you stronger. 

    #truestory. Let’s take this opportunity to see what you can learn from your experience. Can you use it to grow?  Make sugarfree lemonade out of lemons?  I bet you can.

Lapsing in recovery can shake you to your recovery bones. Take a breath and remember that dialectical abstinence is a framework to combat shame and normalize that lapses happen and do not define your recovery journey.