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Relapse Statistics

Old 03-29-2017, 10:47 AM
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Relapse Statistics

So I am coming up on a very stressful event, and so far have not drank. Honestly, I have not only been worried about drinking, but have taken additional preventative measures by going to AA more often, just to keep my drinking, or not drinking, front and center. And I have been 'lurking' in SR reading and occasionally commenting or posting.

I was sober 3.5 years and relapsed on purpose. I thought I was cured and was convinced I could drink socially, and made the conscious decision to drink on a guy's golf out of town outing. Honest to goodness, I knew I was in trouble after the first sip, I just knew that 'all to familiar feeling' that it was now on. Nope, I could not stop after the 4 days of drinking. It took 3 months of trying to finally get ONE DAY of sobriety, and that was 2 years ago this July 10th. I will never forget my dismay at knowing I was truly an alcoholic for life, and how hard it was to stop again.

So this morning I googled relapse statistics just to keep this real with me, and I thought it was interesting and wanted to post the stats I found and see if you have thoughts on this subject.

The first study I read was an 8 year study of 1,200 drunks/addicts completed in the last few years. So obviously, it did not include anyone with over 8 years of sobriety. I do know from my AA meetings, that I have seen enough people come back after 10-15-20 plus years, who relapsed and most of their stories/shares were the same, getting sober was not easy, and most tell the story of losing touch with the tools that originally got and helped keep them sober, then one day they drank. Of course, we do not know how many never made it back... So I will keep the mindset that the longer I am sober, the better my odds, but that I am never out of the woods and need to always keep my sobriety front and center. Especially since I know that for ME personally, it truly is 'one sip' and I am done. And I don't think I have one more sober run in me. Truly.

The numbers:

Of the 1,200 studied,

1/3 of those sober less than a year will stay sober, or 2/3 will relapse.

For those who make one year of sobriety, less then 1/2 will relapse. I did not see a number, so I will play it safe and say it's 50/50, and therefore 50% will relapse even after over 365 days of not drinking or drugging.

If you make it to 5 years of sobriety, your chance of relapse is less then 15%.

Obviously, I made it past one year, but not to 5, becoming part of the 50% that did NOT stay sober.

So, this is the real deal and posting this helped me today. My personal goals are: don't drink today, don't drink tomorrow, try and make 3.5 years (one day at a time, sometimes it is by the minute with a stopping of my life, a few deep breaths and a prayer to get past the urge and thoughts that come up from time to time, reminding myself that "this too shall pass", and that it really does pass, and that drinking is not an acceptable alternative for me, in fact, it will probably be my death next time), then I will be so proud to be past that last 3.5 run I had, then keep it one day at a time, regardless of 5 years or more, knowing that the only statistic I want to avoid is becoming a death statistic.
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Old 03-29-2017, 10:57 AM
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Thankyou for the information, Whoda. Very interesting!
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Old 03-29-2017, 11:11 AM
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To me stats are irrelevant. If you acknowledge that you are an alcoholic and can not drink then you won't. If you allow thoughts into your head that you are cured or can occasionally drink you will eventually.

I believe wholeheartedly, that I am an alcoholic and there is nothing I can ever say, think, or do to change it.
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Old 03-29-2017, 11:23 AM
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I believe things happen for a reason. I stopped for lunch at Joe's Crab Shack, took a seat at the bar for lunch and water. The bartender started talking to me, welcomed me to the restaurant and then said "I am deaf but I read lips". I said "Excuse me?" He said it again and smiled.

Wow. I don't think I need to say anything else.

I will add, regardless of his being deaf, he ranks right up there with the best customer service I have had and could expect from anyone in the restaurant or any business.

My personal issues and worries of today just became very very small. I am so grateful for pulling in to this restaurant with no planning, I was just hungry and this was the first place I saw where I knew I could get a nice lunch.

Little did I know.......dude will get a really nice tip from me!

And to think that I did not think or know that I had a higher power before I started this journey of getting and staying sober....
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Old 03-29-2017, 12:08 PM
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Gotta love them god shots. Thanks for the reminder that it's a daily struggle.
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Old 03-29-2017, 01:16 PM
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Never know when someone will relapse. I hear stories at AA meetings about people who relapse after 30 years of sobriety.

I recently made friends with a guy at AA who has been sober since 1975 and today at AA I heard a guy say he has a sobriety date of 1973 - he still goes to several meeting per week.
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Old 03-29-2017, 01:47 PM
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"So I am coming up on a very stressful event, and so far have not drank. Honestly, I have not only been worried about drinking, but have taken additional preventative measures by going to AA more often, just to keep my drinking, or not drinking, front and center. And I have been 'lurking' in SR reading and occasionally commenting or posting. "

good on ya!
heres a few things the big book says:
It is easy to let up on the spiritual program of action and rest on our laurels. We are headed for trouble if we do, for alcohol is a subtle foe. We are not cured of alcoholism. What we really have is a daily reprieve contingent on the maintenance of our spiritual condition.Every day is a day when we must carry the vision of God's will into all of our activities. "How can I best serve Thee - Thy will (not mine) be done." These are thoughts which must go with us constantly. We can exercise our will power along this line all we wish. It is the proper use of the will.

Assuming we are spiritually fit, we can do all sorts of things alcoholics are not supposed to do
.( more on this about pg100)
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Old 03-29-2017, 05:24 PM
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The numbers are about what I've heard before, 2/3 relapse in the first year.

Thing is, statistics are interesting, but it's impossible to become a statistic because we have always, always have *choice* in the matter. If we drink, it's because we choose to drink, and probably didn't choose all kinds of things leading up to that drink that could have helped prevent it.
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Old 03-29-2017, 06:39 PM
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Lots of good advice here already, and I agree...statistic don't mean much when you are making good plans and choices. They are a stark reminder of what will likely happen if we don't focus on our sobriety too.
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Old 03-29-2017, 07:21 PM
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It's a disease and kills us. The studys and statistics you qoute are a stark reminder that if we don't stop drinking you will succumb to the disease. For me, and only for me, I have to choose life over the certain death of alcoholism. I hate the numbers you qoute, but it's reality. I wish there was a magical cure. Just don't drink. It's that simple.
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Old 03-29-2017, 07:33 PM
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According to Bob Darrel AA stastics is 1,2 or 3 percent spontaneous remission is five percent I think it;s because of poor sponsor ship.
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Old 03-29-2017, 08:44 PM
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I have to be honest the only stats that I care about are my own - 100 % sober thanks to continued diligence and effort.

The fact that some others may relapse is I think a reflection on their journey and not on mine.

I will not relapse.

If something grabbed your heart when you read that, that's your inner addict...

It's completely harmless when you absolutely refuse to do whatever it suggests, however beguilingly

D
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Old 03-30-2017, 01:19 AM
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Just to prove that statistics don't matter -- even though the odds are under 15% of relapsing after 5 years of sobriety I have managed to do it twice (made it 6.5 years sober the 1st time and 7 years the 2nd). I'm creeping up on a third attempt at the "magical" 5 year mark as I will have 4 years in a few weeks.

The thing is that both times I got better but I never got well. I would treat the symptoms and they would go away, but since I hadn't gotten to the root of the problem they would always come back. It was kind of like treating the symptoms of an infection but never taking an antibiotic to get rid of the infection. This time I decided to take the antibiotic.
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Old 03-30-2017, 06:26 AM
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Originally Posted by Dee74 View Post
I have to be honest the only stats that I care about are my own - 100 % sober thanks to continued diligence and effort.

The fact that some others may relapse is I think a reflection on their journey and not on mine.

I will not relapse.

If something grabbed your heart when you read that, that's your inner addict...

It's completely harmless when you absolutely refuse to do whatever it suggests, however beguilingly

D
definitely 100% today.
the great fact for me with statistics is I have the choice,too, of what side of the statistics I want to be on.
in 2006 when I was diagnosed with cancer, for some reason one of the 1st things I read in all the literature I was given was the survival statistics- of patients diagnosed stage 3 melanoma, 23% survive 5 years. scared the crap outta me. I was sober 13 months, got sober because I was gonna die, and now reading I was gonna die.
talk to a friend about it.
his words made me say ,"HUH!"
"tom, ya need to take yourself out of the 77% and put yourself in the 23%."
and here I am, 11 years later.
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Old 03-30-2017, 04:03 PM
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I see no point in focusing on numbers. Other than 24/7/365. My sober life.

Me, I am a bit of a practical princess - I like things pink and rosy, yet have a penchant for gnawing on "issues." In this instance, focusing on anything other than my peace - which means sobriety- and choosing ONLY things that support that is both a pink and a practical way to live.
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Old 03-31-2017, 03:42 AM
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I normally love statistics. However, when it comes to my drinking, the only stat that matters is the one that says I'm 100% sober today.
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Old 03-31-2017, 05:23 AM
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I have certainly read advice (not sure where) that suggests you should just "ignore" relapse statistics. It just doesn't feel right to me by temperament...

I think this is interesting and useful information if approached in the right way. I'm professionally bound as a teacher to say that stats are always good if used properly.

At the risk of being simplistic: the stats suggest that overcoming active addiction and then staying sober long term is difficult. But it shows that people do do it. There's no reason not to be empowered by the second point.

That said, I can see that a preoccupation with these stats might be unhealthy as it might be the addict's addiction searching for justification to drink again. I did, for example, see a video of an addiction specialist saying that relapses were "to be expected" and were "part of the process" for many. This set alarm bells ringing, because I was immediately envisioning a guilt free relapse (i.e. deliberately skewing what he was saying to try to resurrect the "right to drink").

Anyway, I'm rambling and mostly just repeating what others have said...
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