“Relapse” Is Not A Bad Word

Buzz Aldrin was the pilot of Apollo 11, the first manned moon landing in history, and one of the first two men to ever step foot on the moon. A hero! You’d think such an epic feat would only change life for the better, but once his spotlight faded, Buzz struggled with heavy bouts of depression, addiction and attempts at rehabilitation for nearly a decade following his journey to the moon.  In 1978, Buzz finally got clean for good.

How’d he do it?

After his return to Earth, everything changed. The space industry advanced, new work disappeared and alcohol was comfort. Naturally prone to drinking, Buzz tried four weeks in a military psychiatric hospital, AA meetings and even month-long rehabilitation program… but nothing could help him long-term.

And get this: during the late 60s and early 70s, the notion of depression as a mental illness was unaccepted — and Buzz was one of the first internationally known public figures to admit to a mental illness. He continued to struggle with addiction and depression (or co-occurring disorder) while serving as a voice for this new brand of disease.

As I explain in my book, recovery is an ongoing process. It’s not uncommon for an addict to go through rehab programs up to ten times before long-lasting recovery! So here’s what you do: you keep trying. You don’t give up. You accept, and expect, slipups. That’s what recovery maintenance is all about, and it’s the final step in Believable Hope.

Buzz has been quoted as saying, “When I began to see myself for what I really was, and had a group of fellow travelers who knew me for what I was—and were not impressed—I began to take baby steps toward getting well.”

Buzz maintains the life he loves. It’s now been more than 30 years since Buzz Aldrin has had a drink. Relapses are now a part of his recovery story… and you know what? That’s okay.

If you follow the 5 Essential Elements, you will succeed at beating addiction. This is the solution. Let Buzz be just one example of Believable Hope.

3 thoughts on ““Relapse” Is Not A Bad Word

  1. Michael, I just started reading your book and am enjoying the content as well as the way it was written. It is really encouraging and non-technical in its language, which I think makes it quite appealing to the audience it was written for. I also just started to read your blog as a result of seeing the website listed in the book. As someone in recovery for the past 27 years, I can identify with the book and share many of the dame experiences and philosophies about addiction, treatment, and recovery. I’ll post more once I read more; thanks.

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