Once a month on our blog, we will be featuring Q&A’s with Rhyll Croshaw. This content was originally found on our sister site, rhyllrecovery.com, but will now be a part of our Women’s Discussion here.
Thanks to Rhyll for her insights and willingness to share her strength, hope, and experience with all of us. Please let us know if you have more questions for her.
Q: Is relapse an expected part of recovery?
There are those who minimize their behavior by saying they can’t be expected to “just stop” porn and masturbation and other acting out behaviors. In this case, they are giving themselves a pass and want others to let them off the hook. Giving them a pass is enabling.
Relapse is a part of the addiction cycle, not a part of recovery. A relapse occurs when a person is in the addict cycle (preoccupation, ritualization, acting-out, shame and despair). We could replace the word “acting out” with relapsing. The person may have long stretches of white knuckle sobriety, but every relapse does not indicate recovery starting again. . . it indicates a pattern in a cycle.
If the pattern continues to be the same, 3 weeks, 3 months, or even 3 years- THAT is not progressive victory over lust. My husband could be white knuckle sober for 3 years. That is not recovery, it is staying in the addiction cycle. He recognizes now that he was not in recovery, but most of the time was somewhere in the addiction cycle. There can be long periods of time with either shame and preoccupation with no acting-out. In this case, the individual is not in recovery; they are merely white knuckling.