September 6, 2011

From a place known as Relapse..

"After I came back from Communication workshop, I felt in control. I was bouncing on non-feared words daily with strangers, sometime with friends and family members too. I was surprised that I was able to say even difficult words while talking to my friends. I was talking in class, outside, with friends everywhere- much more than I normally did. I felt very happy and in control of my speech- for the first time in life, it seemed. I was speaking normally...

But now, I dont know, what happened.My fears are back- I am blocking all the time- and dont know what to do.. My confidence has gone down- yes, back to square one.. No technique is helping me. I have stopped everything..."

This is a typical story of relapse and is as common as stammering. Two quick points to be made here, are: 1. It only shows that there is no cure and it is not "just a bad habit". Stammering is more than that and hence should be treated with due RESPECT!
2. You are not back to square one. You are never "back to square one". You have tried an approach- a self help approach in this case. You know what has helped you, even if temporarily. You know how it is to be done again. You have some experience and knowledge on your side. You are certainly better off than that person who is living in denial and suffering internally.

Why do we suffer a relapse? To understand this, consider following conditions wherein relapse is very likely to occur to an ex-alcoholic:

1. Being in the presence of drugs or alcohol, drug or alcohol users, or places where you used or bought chemicals.

2. Feelings we perceive as negative, particularly anger; also sadness, loneliness, guilt, fear, and anxiety.

3. Positive feelings that make you want to celebrate.

4. Believing that you no longer have to worry (complacent). That is, that you are no longer stimulated to crave drugs/alcohol by any of the above situations, or by anything else – and therefore maybe it’s safe for you to use occasionally (from this page).  Now, all the above can happen to the writer of the above email too:


1. Being in the presence of those people or situations or relationships, where you have tried to avoid or hide your stammering- all the old fears will likely return.

2. Feelings we perceive as negative, particularly anger; also sadness, loneliness, guilt, fear, and anxiety (if you subconsciously believe that eating non-veg is not good- and someday you do eat chicken with friends, you will suffer from guilt and that will lead to more stammering. Now, you will be convinced that you must become a vegetarian in order to be "cured").

3. Positive feelings that make you want to celebrate. {yes, positive feelings can also want you to give up all precautions-mindfulness- and celebrate (and talk) in the old way}

4. Believing that you no longer have to worry (complacent). That is, that you are no longer a stammerer. You are a normal speaker. You have been "cured". And therefore maybe it’s safe for you to give up all practice, all techniques, all attention - occasionally.

Here are the "relapse attitudes": attitudes a recovering alcoholic adopts just before relapse; Just see how each of these apply to a recovering stammerer as well (in bracket):

RELAPSE ATTITUDES

SOBRIETY IS BORING (speaking in this abnormal way is very boring!)
I’LL NEVER DRINK/USE AGAIN (I will never stammer)
I CAN DO IT MYSELF (I dont need a SHG)
I’M NOT AS BAD AS ….. (I am not as bad as sachin. Let him practice..)
I OWE THIS ONE TO ME  (I deserve a holiday from techniques)
MY PROBLEMS CAN’T BE SOLVED (If it is incurable, why bother at all?)
I WISH I WAS HAPPY (I wish I was cured!)
I DON’T CARE
IF NOBODY ELSE CARES, WHY SHOULD I?
THINGS HAVE CHANGED (I have been doing fine without bouncing. Let me stop it now)
I CAN SUBSTITUTE (I will try some new technique)
THEY DON’T KNOW WHAT THEY ARE TALKING ABOUT
THERE’S GOT TO BE A BETTER WAY (there has got to be a cure. TISA is not sharing it)
I CAN’T CHANGE THE WAY I THINK
IF I MOVE, EVERYTHING WILL CHANGE
I LIKE MY OLD FRIENDS (I must speak like my friends)
I CAN DO THINGS DIFFERENTLY
NOBODY NEEDS TO KNOW HOW I FEEL
I’M DEPRESSED
I SEE THINGS MY WAY ONLY
I FEEL HOPELESS
I CAN HANDLE IT
IF I HIDE BEHIND EVERYONE ELSE’S PROBLEMS, I WON’T HAVE TO FACE MY OWN
I CAN’T DO IT
WHY TRY

So, finally it all boils down to our temperament and commitment: Can we brace ourselves for a long marathon or are we good only at 100 meter dash? Can we accept once for all that we are born in a body that has an inborn tendency to dis-fluency? Can we accept that we are DIFFERENT from others and learn to be comfortable with that status? Having done that, are we willing to work for a long long time on our communication skills? Let us remember that we have gained proficiency in every worthwhile skill- writing, reading, languages, maths, singing, playing musical instrument, programming- only after many many months, even years.
So, when relapse hits you, grit your teeth and sit out the winter, with faith in the coming spring, in your heart..
Before I close, let me make one last point: Our mind has a natural rhythm of ebb and tide. Everyone feels high some days and "not so high" on some other days. This is the normal tendency of all human affairs. Nothing new or big about it. We just have to learn to deal with our moods. When you feel down- get up and do something intensely physical. Physical activity is the best antidote to low moods. Get in touch with your SHG; phone other pws; blog- do anything except throwing the towel in.


7 comments:

rahul raut dessai said...

SUPERLIKE.........:)

lalit said...

very true ...this is my third time when i again started bouncing techniques, i failed two time because of first reason "Being in the presence of those people or situations or relationships, where you have tried to avoid or hide your stammering- all the old fears will likely return"
but i really failed ?,i think no because in third time i bounce well in my comfortable zone with in 2 day practice and able to understand emotion changes inside my mind(or body) ..........
earlier when i started bouncing all my hard blocks converted into soft blocks and i was thinking that i got something which can cure me..and started craving for more like no more hard blocks but one day when i left bouncing in a party and attached by hard block and overpowered by negative emotion ,result stammering increases 2 time and left bouncing (unfortunately)
this time i am familiar with type of negative emotion one face when he get any hard block, or different emotion due to change in speaking pattern...SO THIS TIME I AM USING BOUNCING WITH MORE EXPERIENCE

J P Sunda said...

This is one of the best posts I have read in a long time!!

Er. Umesh said...

THANKS, THANKS AND THANKS Sachin sir...Same things and feelings start to disturb my emotions and bouncing. But on right time, your suggestion take me out. Now I start to do little work again on it. Nothing to worry,I will surely overcome it. Thanks again for writing this long "Thesis" on Relapses.

Ashish Agarwal said...

'Relapse' is a potential phenomenon anyone faces who wants to get rid of any habit.

Very knowledgeful & pratical write up.

Dhruva Kathuria said...

I think what we need to give our stammer is flexibility,I in particular have always been very rigid towards my stammering,it always had to be one of the two extremes when in reality the solution lies in the middle.

jasbir singh said...

Wonderful post on Relapse Dr. Sachin.

Always remember we all are here in this world for some special reason. So stop being prisoner of your past. Become the architect of your future.Moreover one of the keys to Happiness is a BAD MEMORY.