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Is it a tightrope or is failure planned?

Old 04-02-2017, 01:14 AM
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Is it a tightrope or is failure planned?

This forum is great. I was wondering what people's views are on why, if ever, they relapsed.

I'm just coming up to two weeks sober and part of me feels that I'm walking a tightrope and could succumb at any moment. There is still alcohol in the house because partner and adult kids drink (in a controlled way).

But I'm wondering if this is a good way to think of it. Is it more the case that deep down we start planning to drink again because, e.g., we begin to feel complacent and over-confident, or we forget just how desperate we had become.

I find the tightrope analogy more worrying because it seems that there is not much you can do whereas if it is more that you gradually loose sight of your plan you are more in control. This would be scary in a different way of course because it means that you have to take responsibility! Given the choice though, I'd prefer this option
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Old 04-02-2017, 03:46 AM
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I didn't really relapse I just took spontaneous breaks from drinking.

I wanted to drink as much as I wanted to and not have the negative consequences.

I finally worked out what a ridiculous fantasy that was for me and I've stayed sober since with a commitment to change and a strong support network here at SR..

I remember the fear of early recovery - what if I fail? what if I *succeed*?
what if I hate being sober...?

All those fears came to nothing in the end

Today I don't see sobriety as a tightrope walk at all - it's more like a trust exercise - you may not know exactly where you're going but if you have a good guide and you trust the hand you're holding , you'll be ok

D
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Old 04-02-2017, 03:59 AM
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"I find the tightrope analogy more worrying..."
the great thing is you don't have to use that analogy and can change your idea of what getting sober means.

I also can relate to the fear early on. for me it was fear of failure- something I didn't know I had pretty much my entire life. the great fat is that with recovery, there was only one way I would end up drinking- if I allowed it to happen. I didn't call it a tightrope walk- I knew the consequences of drinking AND was putting in footwork at changing me- I was lookin at my past and at causes and conditions for my resentments,fears, and everything else and was workin hard at changing me.it was imperative that I FINALLY take responsibility for my life.
early recovery wasn't easy for me. I had the mental obsession pretty strong for some time. well, actually, the mental obsession wasn't there until the fog wore off. then it was there. I have a feeling, beings how I had such low self esteem and a lot of times int he past I said," im gonna mess this up anyways,so screw it" that if I would have called it a tightrope walk, I would have said "screw it.im gonna fail anyways."
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Old 04-02-2017, 05:06 AM
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D sometimes says relapse is part of my addiction but is not part of my recovery - I've always taken that as you never have to relapse I had these fears when I first joined I was a little over a year sober and people were dropping like flies all around me & I thought the exact same thing but know I'll be 4 years in July and I'm not looking back

Stick with it
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Old 04-02-2017, 05:12 AM
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Originally Posted by AlericB View Post
This forum is great. I was wondering what people's views are on why, if ever, they relapsed.

I'm just coming up to two weeks sober and part of me feels that I'm walking a tightrope and could succumb at any moment. There is still alcohol in the house because partner and adult kids drink (in a controlled way).

But I'm wondering if this is a good way to think of it. Is it more the case that deep down we start planning to drink again because, e.g., we begin to feel complacent and over-confident, or we forget just how desperate we had become.

I find the tightrope analogy more worrying because it seems that there is not much you can do whereas if it is more that you gradually loose sight of your plan you are more in control. This would be scary in a different way of course because it means that you have to take responsibility! Given the choice though, I'd prefer this option
IMO neither is the best way to describe it. I don't believe I walk a tightrope, because of my dedicated AA program. I believe that a relapse would start well before I drank - not because I planned it rather because I would have stopped doing the things I do every day to keep my problem removed.

I have not relapsed since I quit cold turkey 405 day ago, and I believe prevention is the key - hence my strong program - as well as using positive analogies (growth, living in the pink as I call it, continued forward momentum, etc) rather than negative or scary ones (ie tightrope).

Bottom line, I choose to stay sober every day and I believe that is the most important part. Then I get the help I need to do so.
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Old 04-02-2017, 05:12 AM
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Originally Posted by AlericB View Post

we begin to feel complacent and over-confident, or we forget just how desperate we had become.
For the alcoholic who has recovered it is important to stay humble and very grateful for ones sobriety. Once we take it for granted or let the ego creep back in -- probably yet another fall coming.

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Old 04-02-2017, 06:01 AM
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I see it as two plans : my plan to never drink again and never change my mind about My plan and my Beast's plan to succeed at getting Its precious supply.

Beast's( the desire for alcohol) plan has been around since it was born and for a long time I indulged It's plan, I drank . I found myself drinking and getting drunk even when I knew I didn't want the consequences and at the same time knowing what the consequences would be. Part of Its plan was to use that feeling of failure and self doubt to get more of Its precious stuff in the future.

When I found SR I learned about RR/AVRT( great threads on these ideas in the Secular Connections forum here on SR) and those ideas helped me to see that Its plan is really just a pipe dream, from Its perspective ( though It never ever realizes this) because for Its plan to work I have to physically put alcohol in my mouth, It has no control over my bodily functions, It is only the desire for alcohol, a desire by itself can literally not do anything other that let Its presence known.

My plan is to accept that that desire may well be present from time to time, but my plan ( Big Plan in AVRT) is to never drink again and never change my mind, which given that that I have the control means my plan, will always trump Its plan.

Any doubt of my ability to remain abstinent or plan for future alcohol use , is the AV( addictive voice , the beast's bark) , by recognizing and separating from those thoughts, by seeing them as coming from IT and not me(my truer more rational self) I am able to dismiss them out of hand.

The idea that we walk a tightrope , that we have to tentatively hold to a perilous path, that ruin can come at us without warning is by definition AV . I have found it is entirely possible to set my confidence in the fact that my BP trumps ITs at 100%, ITs plan can only succeed if I adopt it. And I have decided that I am finally finished with living through the consequences of Its plan succeeding.
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Old 04-02-2017, 06:24 AM
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There's a lot of ways to frame the issue. The trick is to find a way to frame it that works for you, that keeps you sober.

I'd been sober 205 days when I drank on December 29. Looking back, I didn't feel like I was walking a tightrope at all. But I was drinking way too much coffee, was irritable all the time, wasn't exercising, and in general wasn't taking care of myself like I should. I can see now that in subtle ways I'd distanced myself a little from my self-image as a non-drinker.
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Old 04-02-2017, 06:25 AM
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I followed the path that Dwtbd detailed above.

As a consequence of that path, my alcohol addiction came to a halt, full stop, finished forever. Scary? Oh yes, I was addicted for over twenty years, ended up all day, every day. Tried pretty much everything to stop drinking.

I learnt AVRT, made my Big Plan, stopped drinking, forever, no matter what. That action removed any tightrope and I stood on a solid foundation. From that foundation of being a securely abstinent person; I was free to clear the wreckage from life, the detritus of alcohol addiction. I was also free to build an improved life, without worrying about triggers and relapses.

I have no fear of triggers or relapses, they do not exist for me. I am 100% secure in my abstinence. If I'm HALT-BS (hungry, angry, lonely, tired, bored, stressed - the triggers I was taught whilst trying to stop drinking for years) then I ignore or address those feelings, where appropriate, in order to make my life more comfortable - NOT to stop myself drinking. No matter how HALT-BS I become, it's irrelevant, because my sobriety is not contingent upon ensuring I remain on even keel.

Edited to add: when I made my Big Plan and said goodbye to triggers - I called HALT-BS "Halt - Bull S****, hence the hyphen.
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Old 04-02-2017, 06:36 AM
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Early recovery is rough for anyone in using any method. The good news is with a lot of work and a good recovery system that feeling won't last forever.

Have a plan and work for it. Never forget where you came from. You can do it.
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Old 04-02-2017, 09:21 AM
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Originally Posted by Mountainmanbob View Post
Once we take it for granted or let the ego creep back in -- probably yet another fall coming.
M-Bob
You could tattoo this on my forehead.

It wasn't until I started reading the big book that I realized how common this type of thinking was. Because I could go significant periods of time w/o drinking led me to believe I could control it if I decided to have a few now and then. I was about as wrong as you can get.
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Old 04-02-2017, 09:36 AM
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My slips/relapses were all because I thought this time I can control it. Over many many tries and failures, I learned that my addiction is much stronger than me. Therefore, I had to accept that I can't control my drinking and surrendered to this fact. I now, remind myself daily to be humble, trust that the world needs me sober for something greater than me, and don't let my ego guide my path.

The tight rope analogy would be the way I felt when I was still active in my drinking.
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Old 04-02-2017, 10:21 AM
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Thanks for all your responses guys.

I'm more than glad I can abandon the tightrope analogy then and start to think in the more positive terms of trust and acceptance!
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