When you slip up, you may feel like your world - the new one you've been working so hard to build - has gone down the toilet. Perhaps you're telling yourself you'll never be free of your habit. How can you be if you slip after all this time?
The fact is, you can find healing and live a life free of addiction. Mistakes are a part of life meant to challenge and teach us new things about ourselves. We grow through our mistakes.
As you continue down your path of improving, there will be slip ups, both in the beginning and later in your life. The question is, how are you going to handle them when they arise? If you take a moment to understand you made a mistake, you'll be more open to learn and grow from it.
2. Accept that you messed up
Mistakes are part of life. Don't beat yourself down. The recovery process is not easy; you're going to have good and bad days. There are things you can't change, and holding on to your resentment, shame and guilt isn't helping you or your loved ones move forward in the healing process.
Forgiveness is an important factor when it comes to your recovery. Remember - you're human, and humans make mistakes. If you messed up, call your therapist, someone in your support group, a spiritual leader or trusted friend and recommit to your goals. Sometimes discussing the mistake and what caused you to slip up will help you recognize triggers, and will prevent it from happening again.
3. Notice the hard to face facts
How many times have you known deep down in your heart that something is true, but ignore it? Perhaps you know you're insecure about not being good enough for your spouse, but you blame your mistakes on your spouse for not being there for you more.
Whatever your excuse is, whatever caused you to slip, now is the time to acknowledge the facts and start healing from them. If you're putting the blame on someone else, you're giving away your personal power.
Instead, take responsibility for your life, actions and choices. This is not always easy, and it's often painful. Reclaim your life each day and choose healthier habits that support the new life you are trying to create for yourself and your family. The reward will be immense when you are no longer a prisoner of your past mistakes.
Now that you've recognized and faced the facts, learn from your mistake. What can you do better next time? Who can you speak to if the situation arises again? How are you going to hold yourself accountable?
Each mistake is a chance to learn more about yourself and why you've fallen in the addiction cycle. Use this time to understand what your triggers are, and learn. The more you understand about yourself and your addiction, the better you'll be able to identify your triggers before you spiral down the path of addiction.
"When you find your path, you must not be afraid. You need to have the sufficient courage to make mistakes. Disappointment, defeat and despair are the tools God uses to show us the way." - Paulo Coelho
Once you identify and learn from your mistake, let it go. You're not doing yourself any favors by beating yourself up over it. When the mistakes of the past surface, use them as a reminder of what not to do. Each hurdle you overcome, every mountain you climb, is one step closer to beating your addiction and living the life you've always wanted.
While you're moving forward down your path of improving, you're going to make mistakes. You'll have moments where you feel disappointment and even defeat, but don't give in. Each step towards recovery is teaching you a lesson, building confidence and opening new doors.
Commit to your recovery every day and use your toolbox to support you in your healing. Remember each hurdle and challenge that comes up is a lesson to help you grow.
Mother Teresa once said, "I know God won't give me anything I can't handle. I just wish he didn't trust me so much." Keep that in mind while you move forward in your recovery to push you forward and help you take back your life.
Dan Gray (LCSW, CSAT) is the Clinical Director and Cofounder at Life Star Therapy. He has a master’s degree in social work and is a CSAT (Certified Sexual Addiction Therapist). He is also certified as an addictions counselor with the National Association of Forensic Counselors.
He has co-authored and edited two books: Confronting Pornography: A Guide to Prevention and Recovery for Individuals, Loved Ones, and Leaders and Discussing Pornography Problems with a Spouse: Confronting and Disclosing Secret Behaviors. Dan is married and the father of four.