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I drank, need to move back to recovery

Old 11-30-2008, 07:48 AM
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I drank, need to move back to recovery

Hello--my name is Chris and have posted here a few times, 3 months ago I drank over an issue, 2 days ago, I drank again...
prior to this I had 4 years of rather contented sobriety and active recovery.
I attend two meetings a week, have a sponsor, and have worked the steps.

I am wondering for those of you who relaspsed, especially after some recovery time, how did you get over the last drinking episode and move on??
I feel like the last couple months, I have felt like a failure, that my program is not good.....everything I say seems to relate back to the fact that I drank!!
I think this type of thinking led me right back to drinking.

I have done the obvious, started the steps over.. just finished another step five, started journaling, doing a gratitude journal, going to at least 2 meetings a week, praying.....and still I let the belief that it would not matter if I just had a few drinks to take over.

So I guess now, I want to move on, make the choice to focus on my recovery and not my relapse and work a good one at a time program.

thanks for listening, I would love to hear of your experience, strength, and hope and suggestions for moving on.

Chris
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Old 11-30-2008, 08:17 AM
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Hi Chris and welcome back. I don't have direct experience with this but do know some people who have relapsed and then dove right back into recovery and have multiple years again. I also know people who relapsed and then kept relapsing and now have either disappeared or are dead. It's a scary proposition.

You had multiple years sober prior to the relapse so obviously you had a foundation to work off of. My best suggestion would be to go back to what caused you to drink 3 months ago. What led up to that? Did you stop working your program, attending meetings, calling your sponsor? Or did something catastrophic happen?

Once you have that answer then you would have a game plan I would think. If your program had weakened then strengthen it again wherever it was weak (make MORE meetings or work on whatever was lacking if you can identify chinks in your armor).

If it was something catastrophic then once again you still would need to look at the program I would think and see what tools you had at your disposal that were not used. Why? What could you do differently?

I have a little over 4 years now and recently I went through a period where I was emotionally dry. I had slacked on meetings, was not calling my sponsor, not reading the Big Book, was praying halfheartedly. The only thing I was doing was working with others. Anyway I started feeling it on the inside so I shared about it in a meeting. One man shared that an oldtimer told him that as we get a little further away from our last drink we face a new danger. In our brains we are sitting there with a shotgun aimed at the front door waiting for alcohol to barge in. Meanwhile our disease is busy sneaking in the back door. I don't know if that makes sense to you but it made perfect sense to me. It was the LITTLE things sneaking in along with me slacking that were setting up the insanity again.

Anyway I hope you can get something useful from this. While it can be hard to regain momentum after a relapse just remember that you didn't lose the knowledge that you gained in recovery you just have a new sobriety date. Pick up those tools, get out of the problem and into the solution!

Hugs,
Kellye
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Old 11-30-2008, 08:19 AM
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Chris,

I'm so glad you made it back. Many Don't.

Just curious.. In your mind, the first time you did the steps. Did you complete your 9th step amends ?
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Old 11-30-2008, 10:07 AM
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thanks for both your responses....Kellye, I like what you said about watching the front door when the alcohol is sneaking in the back, I guess we have to watch all doors.
I think the problem I have had lately is not feeling like my program is worth anything, like it does not matter...but it does. Again, feeling like I have failed!!
and re the 9th step, I think I did a good job at living ammends, but less good on maybe some of the direct ammends.....
right now I am working on 6 and 7, reading "drop the rock" which is excellant.
But again, it is getting beyond the fact that I relapsed and just getting back to recovery that seems so hard, even when I say I am doing that, my mind is saying otherwise.
Thanks again, Chris
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Old 11-30-2008, 10:57 AM
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Originally Posted by ccommer View Post
and re the 9th step, I think I did a good job at living ammends, but less good on maybe some of the direct ammends.....
The reason I asked.. I heard a circuit speaker this past year.. and he said the #1 reason for relapse is unfinished 9th step amends.

I also heard another speaker say he wasn't a fan of living amends. If we steal somebody's VCR... they don't care that we are not stealing VCR's anymore.. they want their VCR back!!! .. that was the example he used and it made alot of sense.

Your coming up on the 8th & 9th step again. I would tell you to work on those direct amends no matter how painful or how much you don't want to do them. That is where spiritual growth takes place. Facing the uncomfortable, Doing the action we don't want too.

I wish you the best.

Andy
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Old 11-30-2008, 10:58 AM
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I was told over and over to remember what worked before.....Every day I can give a different reason why I drank after 7 years sober....And I do look at that .... but I really had to focus on what worked for me rather than what fatal flaw I had.

I also found that AA "by itself" wasn't the whole answer....I require a focus on my spiritual life beyone AA and I have those wonderful "outside" issues that require the help of professionals.

I do believe today that I can stay sober and I tend to focus more attention on what works then what mistakes i make...I learn and go on, but I no longer feel less than my freinds with 20+ years of sobriety.

Hang in there
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Old 11-30-2008, 11:43 AM
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Thanks for this thread. I've often thought once you got past your first year, sobriety would get somehow easier....like breathing, you do it without thinking about it.

I know a guy who had over 10 years sober. For some reason went on a binge and got in trouble with the law. Ended up thanking the arresting officer for tossing his butt in the clink. He ended up re-cleaning up his act.....and is stronger now, than before.

Very interested in those folks that fought the demon, relapsed and got right back in the program.

Good luck to you, Chris. Stick around. Sounds like you have a lot of good experience to share with us.
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Old 11-30-2008, 05:30 PM
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Hi Chris - our story is very much alike. I was sober for 4 years, feeling free of any cravings. Then one Friday about a month ago, a friend who did not know that I was an alcoholic offered me a glass of wine - I drank it. I don't know why, or I guess I do, I am an alcoholic. That was abotut a month ago and I have drank one or two days a week since then. I had enough Friday when my 11 year old caught me sneaking a sip of vodka out of the bottle. I have had a wonderful past four years. I have obtained a wonderful job, a home I am proud of and it is so hard to think that I could have done this to myself. Best of luck to you Chris. You are in my prayers.
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Old 11-30-2008, 09:59 PM
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Chris ....I'm so glad you came back to share with us.
...Prayer helps me immensley in all situations.
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Old 11-30-2008, 10:02 PM
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onecent....Glad you found us...
Welcome to SR and our Alcoholism Forum
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Old 12-01-2008, 07:26 PM
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Again, thanks for the responses and support.

Onecent, our story is much the same, it is good to know you are not alone, isn't it?? I hope we can both get back on track!

I truly believe in the concept of being one drink away, it surprises me that I am back in this situation, but i do want to learn from this and move on.

I do believe, coffeenut, that it does get easier with time and it did for me, too. I really was relieved of the obsession to drink for some time, but I also believe our alcoholic disease waits in the wings for an opportunity.

Carol---thanks for the references to "under the influence" in a different post, that really helped explain how alcohol works in my body and if there is ever a doubt, I should just remember all that!!
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