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Old 07-15-2009, 07:13 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Relapsing after sobriety.

Just been thinking about those people who relapse after a considerable amount of sober time....not even sure what 'considerable' constitutes.

This is what I'm wondering, those people who relapse with lengthy sobriety.....I wonder if they go back to drinking the way they were, or if they are able to have a couple of day binge and come to their senses, soon?


Thoughts?
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Old 07-15-2009, 07:30 PM   #2 (permalink)
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I broke down on Friday and drank until last night. I felt so exhausted as if my body wanted to shut down, I was depressed and ashamed and here I am sober as a jay bird again. The more times I see how I feel and act sober, the less times I have these stupid lapses. Honestly my body can't take them. On the one hand its kind of scary that I have lapses. On the other hand I haven't had any long lapses because I start feeling crappy and tired and horrible(blood sugar issues). I suppose if all I had was a slight headache in the morning I'd be drinking away!
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Old 07-15-2009, 07:45 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Hmmm...
I consider 5 years to be "considerable" but have no idea why.

From my observation as an active AA member of over 20 years
some do quit again quickly....some do quit again eventually
and some never stop drinking.

From what I hear people share ...their downhill slide
begins with a mental obession...quickly restarting
physical dependancy.

I'm not giving hard facts....just saying what I hear.

When I kept returning to drinking...it was during the
first 4 years after I decided to quit. Not after
any long time sobriety.

Vigilance is the key for recovery.......
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Old 07-15-2009, 07:59 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Hmmm...
I consider 5 years to be "considerable" but have no idea why.
I just read somewhere that people who pass the 5 year mark are extremely likely to stay abstinent and recovered for life. So that seems like a pretty good marker for "considerable" to me. I feel like that is when recovery has probably completely sunk in.


I think because I haven't been in recovery that long and because I am not part of AA or a similar group, I haven't known that many people to go back out.

I just wanted to mention something that I only realized recently when it was taught to me in a class about relapse after long term sobriety. People on this board and in general are often talking about the risk of death in going back out and how fatal alcoholism is. I always thought, well sure, I guess, but I sort of thought it was scare tactics, and that things were being exaggerated. I think though that was me being naive. What I didn't realize is that often when people relapse after long periods of sobriety they go back to drinking like they did just like did before at the exact same amounts and after sobriety their bodies can't handle it. Therefore that puts them at much greater risk. It is such a scary thing. And that makes total sense to me. If I relapsed today I am sure I would go on a bender and drink like I used to. Totally, totally scary. And so sad. One more reason not to relapse and a pretty good one. Unfortunately, rational doesn't really work for preventing relapse.
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Old 07-15-2009, 08:06 PM   #5 (permalink)
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for myself.. back in jan 91' i drank again after 17 months sober.. i was only 25 years old at the time. my alcoholism progressed from bad to worse and i never put together more than 6 months sober again till i almost drank myself to death.. i have been sober about 2 and a half years now.. ODAAT!
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Old 07-15-2009, 08:27 PM   #6 (permalink)
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After two years of sobriety, I relapsed in March of this year for three weeks ending April 7 (been sober since). It was horrific for me and I almost died. I found that my relapses got fewer and farther between but EXPONENTALLY worse each time as far as physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual damage is concerned. The extreme suffering from withdrawls gets longer (4 days) and much worse too.
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Old 07-15-2009, 08:37 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Thanks for sharing everyone Its good for us newcomers to hear about the negative effects & possible ramifications of a relapse.

Take Care,

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Old 07-15-2009, 08:43 PM   #8 (permalink)
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If I relapsed today I am sure I would go on a bender and drink like I used to.
me too - and I'm pretty confident that would kill me - and pretty quickly - no scare tactics involved.

D
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Old 07-15-2009, 10:56 PM   #9 (permalink)
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I've heard it said in meetings that while we sit in the rooms, our disease is out in the parking lot doing push-ups. I could work myself up by getting all in my head & my will, but chances are, if I go back out, it's still gonna kick my a**. So why bother? People don't come in to the rooms and say "it's fine out there guys, come on out!" We sit there with our tails between our legs because no matter what, the bottle always wins. The only solution for me is to attempt to live a life based on spiritual principle and to find a higher power that I can put all of my faith and trust in. Like the big book says-- there may come a time when all that stands between us and a drink is our higher power.
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Old 07-16-2009, 12:54 AM   #10 (permalink)
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me too - and I'm pretty confident that would kill me - and pretty quickly - no scare tactics involved.

D
Me three. I wouldn't last long I am sure. Step one. Sanity!!!!

I heard from people who know about this stuff that even while we are not drinking, our disease progresses like we were. That means that people who go back drinking, quite quickly find themselves way worse than when they stopped.
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Old 07-16-2009, 01:14 AM   #11 (permalink)
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I stopped drinking end of April (when i joined SR) stayed sober for about two weeks and then "relapsed" and had a bottle of wine.

Then I would instantly stay sober again another week and then yet again a bottle of wine repeat repeat repeat
In fact what I have been doing is prolonging unnecessaritly that awful first week of sobriety-because i've been doing my "first week" repeatedly since then
So for me the "binges" weren't long at all but my withdrawals each time have been hard.
And I think rad was right each "withdrawal" has got harder.
It's as if the drink takes tighter grip each time to make me come back to it

I've now just about got past a real week since my last drink (so am due my habitual relapse)

I'm sick of being in that first week of withdarwal -constantly

So to answer the original question for me the binges haven't got longer but the withdrawal symptoms have got tougher;
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Old 07-16-2009, 02:57 AM   #12 (permalink)
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I've been sober for 3 months, with no plans to ever drink again.
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Old 07-16-2009, 03:18 AM   #13 (permalink)
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I relapsed after 4 years clean/sober, and not only did I pick up where I left off, but in a short time was as bad as if I had drank those 4 years. It was horrible and a lot of those 'yets' I hadn't experienced the first time I got sober came to fruition, such as blacking out and driving myself home. My mental state in between binges was unbearable.

I've also known people with 20+ years who have gone back out, and died within a very short period of time.
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Old 07-16-2009, 03:46 AM   #14 (permalink)
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me too - and I'm pretty confident that would kill me - and pretty quickly - no scare tactics involved.

D
Me too!!!!! Thank God I don't need to "roadtest" it!

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Old 07-16-2009, 04:10 AM   #15 (permalink)
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I stopped drinking end of April (when i joined SR) stayed sober for about two weeks and then "relapsed" and had a bottle of wine.

Then I would instantly stay sober again another week and then yet again a bottle of wine repeat repeat repeat
In fact what I have been doing is prolonging unnecessaritly that awful first week of sobriety-because i've been doing my "first week" repeatedly since then
So for me the "binges" weren't long at all but my withdrawals each time have been hard.
And I think rad was right each "withdrawal" has got harder.
It's as if the drink takes tighter grip each time to make me come back to it

I've now just about got past a real week since my last drink (so am due my habitual relapse)

I'm sick of being in that first week of withdarwal -constantly

So to answer the original question for me the binges haven't got longer but the withdrawal symptoms have got tougher;
this is me! Sober for two weeks, drinking for another week, and then sober again... its' a rollercoaster! I suppose I haven't found my interior peace as yet. But I feel so much better when I'm sober that the relapses are getting fewer and fewer... I'm sure I'll crack it soon... well, I hope so!
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Old 07-16-2009, 04:20 AM   #16 (permalink)
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I always used to think of the "Life or death" thing as over-dramaiized and un-realistic for someone who is still young and not a daily drinker.
However what I have learned since I have attempted permanant sobriety and then drank/binged again, is it is not the physical side which is the matter of death for but the mental side, for me personally.
The weight of guilt/remorse/shame/resentment that I felt after promising myself and others that I wouldn't drink/binge again was terrible.
I am 23 and I remember thinking during my last comedown that I wouldn't be able to cope with many more of them as the Low was just too damn low to describe. It was impossible to be able to think any happy thoughts whatsoever and there was no way a smile could surface to my face. The kid I was staying with said that they should take a Photograph of me lying down under a duvet on his floor and use it as an anti drink/drugs photograph with the slogan "Just Dont Do It".

I wish never to get myself into that low state again. The only thing which kept me going throughout the whole turtuous time was the distant thoughts of how happy I was when I was positive in my sobriety.
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Old 07-16-2009, 05:10 AM   #17 (permalink)
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Thank you to everyone who posted, this has helped me more than you will ever know this is day 4 for me I havent slept in 3 nights but after reading the posts I have to keep getting up & thinking to day is another sober day
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Old 07-16-2009, 05:17 AM   #18 (permalink)
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Thank you to everyone who posted, this has helped me more than you will ever know this is day 4 for me I havent slept in 3 nights but after reading the posts I have to keep getting up & thinking to day is another sober day
absolutely... never ever give up, even if you relapse! Concentrate on your sobriety and your recovery.
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Old 07-16-2009, 06:29 AM   #19 (permalink)
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my experience was that initially it would just be a one night binge ( after 1.5 years sobriety, and then after an additional 2.5 year sobriety). But as time passed and I continued to relapse over and over, the sobriety times would be shorter and the drinking times longer. I would return to previous level of drinking within a few days/weeks and then progress much further with more consequences (daily blackouts, emotional issues, physical issues, not being able to handle life). This last time drinking was about 4 or 5 years. Now sober 36 days.
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Old 07-16-2009, 06:50 AM   #20 (permalink)
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Carol and SF....now I Really want to hit the 5 year marker! But as others have said, I really am concerned about how insidious alcoholism is. It really is a lifetime commitment to maintaining sobriety. Well.....when I was drinking, I wasn't too concerned about a lifetime of liver damage, so sobriety at least makes sense, right?!

Freedom: Were you one that knew the relapse was coming....planned it, in a way?

Thank you EVERYONE for your posts. I'm learning a lot!
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