In real life, we can never get rid of the bad apples just like you can never get rid of all the weeds. To use a Jesus parable as a metaphor, we need to develop wheats that are strong enough to grow and multiply in spite of the weeds. To apply it to PP, the best we can do is to develop virtues strong enough to thrive in the midst of viruses and evils because of prior inoculation and immunization. – paul wong
One of the “blips” most difficult in the life of an addict and family is its association with relapse. You can’t help believing that sobriety is the goal. No matter how many times it is said, you want them to stop. Relapse is question most feared, so when the goal is stated as thriving rather than sober is hardly remembered. This is what makes Changed Life treatment different. The tension between the moral indictment of sobriety and the life coping skills and processes we teach are makes the process important.
In using positive psychology to treat patients we are very careful in how we use the language of blame. Afraid that the negative framing will simply break one of positive psychology’s prime tenets – build up and tear down. Relapse is typically defined as a recurrence of symptoms of a disease after a period of improvement.
The term relapse usually refers to drinking or using drugs again after a period of abstinence or trying to quit drinking/using and not being able to. Sometimes it is used interchangeably with the term blip. A blip is defined as a first sign of mistake followed by a renewed commitment to an effort at treatment and thriving. A Relapse is to fall back into a former worse state that is sure to lead to depression, anxiety and toxic relationships. At it’s deepest level, it is a sense of inner collapse, integrity – a loss of spirit, belief even hope.
Blip on the other hand is an unintentional and trivial mistake or testing error. We put ourselves as high risk of inflating blips into relapse if we let ourselves get overwhelmed. Relapses or blips can be related to getting overwhelmed due to death, loss, rejection, or other stressful events in our lives and projected on to the patient. We the family is a part of the addiction formula that building the patients strengths is a key element in what we see as thriving. The thriving person is both source and served in the family’s addictive processing.
Relapse or Blips are also more likely when people fail to nurture themselves on a daily basis, they suffer, isolate, or fail to ask for help with a crisis.
The purpose of this posting is to help the individual and their family (constituted in any way the patient sees the need to do so) to understand the tension between relapses and blips, with lessons on how to relieve suffering, and increase their happiness.
For example, an alcoholic who believes that even one errant sip will lead to massive loss of control binge drinking will do just that, whereas another person may believe that a blip is just a blip and that by getting honest with themselves and another person they can get back to their program of thriving. According to Seligman, “Optimism and hope cause better resistance when bad events strike.”
Clues or warning signs may relate to changes in behavior, attitudes, feelings, thoughts or a mixture of these. This does not mean that what the patient is experiencing indications of relapse, it means that all should be vocal is seeking awareness of changes that occur. What is important to remember is that changes or a combination of changes could indicate that your relapse process is in motion.