I Learned How Easy It Can Be to Relapse
A young lady was having a wonderful last day at Cottonwood Tucson’s Rocks & Ropes Program. She was attempting climbs rated with difficulty levels of 6.5 and 7. She had completed 5 climbs and was very sure of herself. She told me she wanted to try a Level 8 climb. We found one and she started climbing with me belaying. As she climbed higher she said “the handholds are too small and too slippery.”
She continued climb and with some effort she got two thirds of the way up the wall where she got stuck. After several attempts to complete the climb she finally asked to be lowered. From being happy, self confident and self assured, in just 10 minutes she had become fearful, angry, sullen, withdrawn and depressed.
After a few minutes we discussed what had happened on the wall. She said, “I am very judgmental of myself. When I came to Cottonwood and when I couldn’t do something I would give up on everything. At the end of that climb I went right back there. I learned how easy it is to relapse.”
We then discussed that recovery is a process and not a terminal event, and the importance of having a plan to handle setbacks, be they family, school, social or recreational in nature.