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The RELAPSE System
Section 2: Tools for Recovery

from Low Self-Esteem
Self-Esteem Seekers Anonymous -

The SEA's Program of Recovery
By: James J. Messina, Ph.D.

RELAPSE - for overcoming relapse 
In recovery from the behavioral consequences of low self-esteem, the Self-Esteem Seekers Anonymous Program recognizes that relapse into old behaviors is a reality. The goal of the SEA's program, however, is to help you so that the incidences of relapse become fewer, that a greater time span occurs between each relapse, and that each relapse lessens in intensity over time. To help you to deal with the reality of relapse in your recovery process, utilize the SEA's RELAPSE system.

            R Recognize
       E Escape
    L Learn
A Act
       P Protect
        S Support
         E Evaluate


R - Recognize
First, you need to recognize that you are in relapse. You need to admit to yourself that you have fallen back into old patterns of thoughts, emotions, and/or actions which are unhealthy, irrational, or unrealistic for you. You need to accept that this is a relapse and use the TEA system of recovery to identify what is "sick'' in your current thoughts, emotions, or actions.

E - Escape
Second, you need to use the ALERT system to assess, brainstorm, organize, relax, and take action to escape from the current relapse of "sick'' thoughts, emotions, or actions.

L - Learn
Third, once you have escaped the relapsed thoughts, emotions, or actions, then you need to look carefully at the relapse event to learn what were the variables which led to it. You need to be honest with yourself as to how thoroughly you have integrated your healthy, rational, and realistic thinking with your emotions and feelings. You need to identify how authentic or real your actions are. You need to identify if your wellness or recovery is really "faked wellness'' because you have changed your behaviors based on the knowledge of what is correct or healthy but not with changed feelings or emotions. You need to identify if your feelings are not in synch or harmony with your thoughts and actions. You need to learn what is out of step in your own TEA system.

A - Act
Fourth, once you have learned what was out of step in your TEA system, you then need to make plans and act to modify your current efforts at recovery. You need to fine tune your thoughts, emotions, and actions so that they are more consistent, healthier, more rational, realistic, and supportive of your efforts to grow in self-esteem.

P - Protect
Fifth, once you have developed plans and actions to alter your recovery process, you need to protect yourself from a repeat relapse by developing new self-affirmations and self-scripts which recognize that it is human to fall back into old habits of thoughts, emotions, and actions. You need to be easy on yourself and not fall victim to the need to be "perfect'' in your recovery. You need to protect yourself from the belief that "since I've already failed or fallen short, there is no sense in going on.'' "If I can't be perfect in recovery - why try?'' is a dangerous trap. You need to protect yourself against it after each relapse event. The human condition is not a perfect one. The only perfect being is God. Be easy on over condemnation and self-punishment after a relapse incident. Remember that relapse is an expected part of recovery. Use the SEA's ALERT, ANGER, CHILD, and LET GO systems if you experience panic, anxiety, or stress as a result of a relapse and are blocked in pursuing future efforts at recovery.

S - Support
Sixth, as added protection to help you through the process of getting "back on the wagon'' of recovery, seek out the support of your Buddies at Sea. Your network of support available through the SEA's program or any other peer support system, is critical to surviving a relapse event. Reach out and contact a support person to help you use the TEA, ALERT, ANGER, CHILD, and LET GO systems to sort out what this relapse event means in your recovery. Review with your support person what you learned from the relapse event. Tell your Buddy what your plans and action steps are to modify your recovery efforts as a result of this relapse. Ask your Buddy to help you protect yourself from quitting your recovery program as a result of this relapse. Give your support people permission to "call you on it'' if they see you regressing into old "sick'' patterns of thoughts, emotions, or actions so as to help you prevent a repeat of this relapse event.

E - Evaluate
Seventh, once you have gotten back onto the wagon of recovery, you need to continuously evaluate your thoughts, emotions, and actions for any signs of old "sick'' patterns. You need to closely monitor your self-scripts, feelings, and behaviors for any signs of potential relapse so that you can rectify them immediately. To assist you in the evaluation of your progress, utilize the SEA's program's Twelve Steps and the Tools For Coping Series books by Jim Messina, Ph.D. The SEA's program and Tools For Coping materials are all based on the belief that recovery from low self-esteem is a lifelong process, that old habits are hard to change, and that as humans we will fall back into old "sick'' ways unless we keep vigilant and alert for signs of potential relapse.