Relapse Elegantly


“What is, in other words, conflict at one level of magnification, is harmony at a higher level. Now could it possibly be then that we, with all our problems, conflicts, neurosis, sicknesses, political outrages, wars, tortures, and everything that goes on in human life are a state of conflict which can be seen in a larger perspective as a situation of harmony?” ~ Alan Watts

1) Always engage in positive self-talk and find the silver lining:

When you relapse, it’s easy to feel negative or use your guilt and anger to scold yourself saying things like “I’m such a loser!”, “Why can’t I even last x days!?”, “I’m too weak for this” etc… Sometimes we may also feel that it’s right to feel negative because that will motivate us to do better next time around. But research on addiction recovery shows that it is positive thinking during times of relapse that helps one do better next time around. Negative self-talk increase one’s risk/frequency of a relapse. Next time you relapse, say things like:

“Wow, I’m glad I stayed strong for x days. That’s awesome! I will do better next time!”

“I learned about some new triggers that led to my relapse, and gained a lot of insights about myself”

“I’m strong, I can do this!”

“This relapse was necessary to build my humility and grow my wisdom”

“I have become a better person because I attempted to challenge myself and push my comfort zone”

“I have the ability to get back on track quickly and start building a positive momentum”

“As long as I don’t binge, I’m still making great progress towards recovery”

“My performance is lot better than last week/month/year”

2) Use relapses as a chance for deep self-reflection

Usually, after a relapse, you feel a sense of deep relief/satisfaction because your brain got a huge blast of dopamine. The craving then subsides, and you’re temporarily given a brief window of opportunity where you’re free from compulsion. With the help of positive thinking and compassion towards yourself, use this time to record your thoughts and insights in your journal like a scientist. Record things like:

  • What day did you relapse?
  • What caused the relapse?
  • What protocols and precautions will you abide by the next time around?

The key is to behave like a scientist so that every relapse offers new insights. Although easier said than done most times, try to make sure that no 2 relapses are a result of the same behavioral pattern. You want each relapse to be a surprise and you want a detailed report of each relapse that you can review regularly to keep yourself on track.

3) Realize that you’re supposed to fail, and fail often

Don’t take this as an encouragement to give in and relapse, what I mean here is that all of life is an exploration and an adventure. If you were shown the future or consequences of all your actions, you would definitely live “a perfect life”, perfect based on your current desires and memories but you would be living a predictable and boring life. Like watching the same movie again, you saw your life’s movie by looking at the future, and now you’re living that same movie, there are never any surprises or plot twists. But I think life is more interesting because of its surprises. We all are in a scenario where we’re given a free-will related test first, and then the lessons on how to use our free wills moving forward. The failures are essential to appreciate success one day. Failing often only makes the eventual success even more glorious. As long as we’re learning and maturing, there is no reason to feel bad about relapses. The entire population is failing daily regularly, it’s just how life is designed. It’s a consequence of doing anything that’s challenging. No one is guaranteed a life free of bumps and bruises. Remember you fell over and over again until you finally learned how to walk. So have that perspective of a child learning to walk when trying to transcend your addictions.

4) Realize the big picture behind all forms of self-mastery

If you look into all the challenging activities you’ve ever engaged in so far, studying for a test, graduating from school, learning a new skill, etc, you’ll realize that all these challenges have also helped you mature as a person, and understand life. You learned about the value of patience, humility, determination, persistence, strength, wisdom, etc. You learned about your unique talents, personality type, preferences, and the kind of person you wanted to become. You gained so much all in the process of just trying to achieve a goal or overcome a challenge.
In a way, it’s not the goal that matters in the end, it’s how the pursuit helped you become a better person that matters.

Similarly, It’s not just about overcoming an addiction, it’s all about becoming a better and happy human being as you navigate through life. No matter what you want to achieve in life, the intention behind all actions is to maximize joy and minimize suffering. But the most fundamental component for optimizing that is being a good human being that brings positivity and light to your life and other people’s lives. If you’re a good person, others will appreciate you. If others appreciate you, then they will help you and bring more happiness to your life.

So streaks and relapses are all contributing towards helping you become a better person. Trust the process, and relapse elegantly. Become a person that shows grace and elegance in defeat; humility, and selflessness in victory.


Very inspiring, thinking positively and recording your journey through this war within one`s inner world is really fascinating but also very challenging. I hope everybody that practices this philosophy conquers their demons.


Thank you very much, i cant keep making excuses and giving this addiction reasons.