Wisdom from Ervin

Ervin, a man in long term recovery also works part time for REAL LIFE, has always been known to be a straight shooter. He knows what it takes to get clean and stay clean. He has worked for years to share his insight and to help others get clean and lead a fruitful life.

In a recent group he led on Facebook live, he focused on relapse and recovery. During this time of quarantine, it is as important as ever to discuss such a topic to ensure people are grounded.

He prefaced the group with a particular quote that compared a learning and willing experience.  A learning experience is intertwined with a willing experience – meaning that you have to be willing to learn first before you can actually take in any information. This rings especially true for those recovering from addiction, Ervin shared.

Surrender. To get rid of something. Throw your hands up and give it all up. Another necessity to be successful in recovery.  This does not only mean giving up drugs or alcohol, but surrendering everything. There are reasons behind addiction and one must surrender fully in order to move forward. As the literature says, we “come to understand that whatever we are using is a symptom of our behavior.” A symptom could be denial, anger, or even needing to be right. These can all be attributed to a person’s past issues and traumas, mental health, or even the thrill that certain behavior brings. To actually feel better, you have to “surrender” every day.

Ervin touched on being locked in close quarters during quarantine. Emotions can come out, which means mental relapse can happen. Mental relapse is what puts someone in the mindset of a physical relapse. When someone stops their addiction to substances, they are left with what caused them to be addicted. Addiction only covers the short term, not the long term. There are means to lessen the ways in which mental relapse can affect someone: staying positive, thinking before you act, and changing your environment.

Remember to take time for yourself.

While relationships can help, it is only when they are reciprocal and healthy. Sometimes relationships can be stressors, so make sure you are giving yourself the time you need before jumping in one.

Ervin also put the emphasis on how many people coming out of addiction “don’t want to admit opposition,” meaning they come in thinking that once they are off drugs or alcohol, then they are “cured.” WRONG! You can always learn and improve. And, getting off of substances is only a small part of the battle – then you are left with dealing with the behaviors and attitudes. That is where the real work comes in – do not forget that or underestimate that.

When in recovery, you have to be open-minded to all the possibilities. Ervin suggested to “let someone guide you.” Some people come in and look at the physical attributes of a person like race or gender, but through recovery let someone help you – even if they look or sound different from you.

And remember, the only way to get out of a hole is “stop digging.”