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I (Dr. Ted Roberts) had the privilege of serving as a safety officer in several squadrons. Part of the job
involved investigating aircraft accidents and discerning what had taken place and why. At times, it was a
gruesome task that deeply challenged my problem-solving skills, but the struggle was always worth the
effort. The lessons learned in the process could save lives in the future.
Like with crash site investigations, I have come to the realization that to help individuals stop the
insanity of continual relapsing, they needed training in how to do a thorough investigation of the crash
site in their lives. A relapse can look and feel a lot like a smoking hole in the ground of an aircraft crash
site. At first observation it seems like there are no clues as to what might have happened. It can feel like
part of you has died. There is the acrid smell and taste of shame in the air, and you can feel hopeless!
Yet, if you start carefully analyzing the wreckage, it will tell a very clear story of cause and effect. The
crash and the relapse didn’t just happen. There were decisions made, attitudes embraced, boundaries
violated, and thoughts tolerated that were in place long before you slammed into the ground. There
is also a cause for the relapse, and if you examine the crash site, you will see a very strong underlying
pattern driving the downward spiral!