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What is a relapse

Old 04-21-2011, 05:05 PM
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What is a relapse

I'm not trying to rationalize, justify etc... my AH's relapsing...

I am trying to understand if my take on it is too "harsh" (and if it is then it is-- I am not changing my plan to leave him) or if the stuff I've heard him tell me for a while now (that he says he hears in AA) is real or lies?

What I am told is this:

"relapse is part of recovery-- everyone does it"
"it's common to have multiple relapses but as long as they lessen in severity that's making progress"
"it's unreasonable to think someone can just stop cold turkey without a few relapses"

True?

I am posting this on the AA board too bc I wonder if it might not be better to hear from folks over there... If I am wrong to do that feel free (whoever is in charge here) to remove it and tell me...

Opinions?
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Old 04-21-2011, 05:19 PM
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What I am told is this:

"relapse is part of recovery-- everyone does it" No, relapse is part of alcoholism. It is not part of recovery.

"it's common to have multiple relapses but as long as they lessen in severity that's making progress" No, it is not making progress to relapse. Period.

"it's unreasonable to think someone can just stop cold turkey without a few relapses" Stopping cold turkey might be dangerous to some alcoholics, but again, relapse is not part of recovery.

Whether he is hearing this in AA or if he just thinks he is hearing this, it is painfully obvious that he is not taking his recovery seriously. I believe he is doing the bare minimum he has to and trying to convince you he is doing all he can. He isn't.

Just an FYI - I am an alcoholic.
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Old 04-21-2011, 05:25 PM
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And.... again... my gut is right! Everything you said is what I thought too but I have no idea-- I'm not an alcoholic, I don't know what he hears at AA, I am not him. I don't want to be him and I don't want to try and "show him the way" anymore... Mostly I just wanted to know for my sanity whether or not what sounded like bs to me, sounded that way to anyone else! Thanks!

Originally Posted by suki44883 View Post
What I am told is this:

"relapse is part of recovery-- everyone does it" No, relapse is part of alcoholism. It is not part of recovery.

"it's common to have multiple relapses but as long as they lessen in severity that's making progress" No, it is not making progress to relapse. Period.

"it's unreasonable to think someone can just stop cold turkey without a few relapses" Stopping cold turkey might be dangerous to some alcoholics, but again, relapse is not part of recovery.

Whether or not he is hearing this in AA or if he just thinks he is hearing this, it is painfully obvious that he is not taking his recovery seriously. I believe he is doing the bare minimum he has to and trying to convince you he is doing all he can. He isn't.

Just an FYI - I am an alcoholic.
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Old 04-21-2011, 05:30 PM
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"relapse is part of recovery-- everyone does it"
"it's common to have multiple relapses but as long as they lessen in severity that's making progress"
"it's unreasonable to think someone can just stop cold turkey without a few relapses"


Relapse is relapse and resumption of consumption .
Recovery is finding out what triggers consumption and learning coping skills.

Multiple relapses isn't a sign of progress. It is a sign of failure to cope without alcohol.

I dont think it is unreasonable to stop cold turkey without a few relapses. I did it!

Those answers are based on my own personal experience.

Not everyone walks the same path of recovery. Recovery can be as individual as each of us here on this forum.

If he is just quacking............
Look at his actions.
Do his actions look like the efforts of someone that is trying to recover from alcoholism?
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Old 04-21-2011, 05:44 PM
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I LOVE the flag pole raising the BS flag! Made me laugh-- love it!

Multiple relapses isn't a sign of progress. It is a sign of failure to cope without alcohol.


Okay, kind of what I thought-- I have learned all too well throughout my life not to trust that what my perception is might actually be accurate. One of these days I'll get that sorted out!

If he is just quacking............
Look at his actions.

Do his actions look like the efforts of someone that is trying to recover from alcoholism?


Most definitely NOT.
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Old 04-21-2011, 05:52 PM
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Originally Posted by Pelican View Post

Not everyone walks the same path of recovery. Recovery can be as individual as each of us here on this forum.

If he is just quacking............
Look at his actions.
Do his actions look like the efforts of someone that is trying to recover from alcoholism?
This is perfect..people do relapse..some get right back on track..others pretend to be in recovery and do whatever they want..trust your gut
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Old 04-21-2011, 05:57 PM
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Most definitely BS. He's trying to find a way to justify why he's still drinking. Fact is, he's drinking because he wants to, because he doesn't WANT to do whatever it takes to get into recovery.

I quit smoking dope, but didn't get into recovery. Had several months clean, then would "dabble" for a day, but didn't consider it a relapse because, in all honesty, I still had the "stinking thinking". When I did fully relapse, it was bad enough that I was willing to whatever I needed to NEVER get there again. That was a little over 4 years ago.

He may "talk the talk" but he's, most definitely, not "walking the walk". If and when he chooses recovery, he won't need to say a word...his actions will speak loud and clear.

Keep doing what you're doing...I read your other thread, and YOU are absolutely making progress. Him? He's just telling you whatever he thinks will get you back into codie-land, and I'm really glad that it's not working any more.

Hugs and prayers,

Amy
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Old 04-21-2011, 06:12 PM
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What he supposedly hears in AA meetings, and what he tells you is said in those meetings are likely to be polar opposites.

That jargon that relapse is a part of recovery is crap that came out of some less than stellar rehabs.

When I drank again, relapsed if you will, after 4 years of recovery, I can assure you that relapse was a part of my active disease, not my recovery.

My sponsor will celebrate 30 years of continuous sobriety/recovery, and has had no relapses. He is a firm believer that to drink is to die.

Be true to yourself. Do what you need to do for your own recovery and sanity!
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Old 04-21-2011, 06:22 PM
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Relapse is part of alcoholism. Not recovery.
I have friends who recovered, relapsed, and got serious and have 30 years sobriety under their belt. I also have friends who recovered, were sponsors, relapsed, and lost everything.

It's all in the actions. I would be concerned about someone who rationalizes a relapse.
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Old 04-21-2011, 08:49 PM
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not to hijack thread...but what do you think is differnce betwewen a slip in early recovery and full blown relapse?
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Old 04-21-2011, 11:44 PM
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Don't you have to be in recovery to have a relapse?
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Old 04-22-2011, 04:25 AM
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Originally Posted by Impurrfect View Post
Most definitely BS. He's trying to find a way to justify why he's still drinking. Fact is, he's drinking because he wants to, because he doesn't WANT to do whatever it takes to get into recovery.

I quit smoking dope, but didn't get into recovery. Had several months clean, then would "dabble" for a day, but didn't consider it a relapse because, in all honesty, I still had the "stinking thinking". When I did fully relapse, it was bad enough that I was willing to whatever I needed to NEVER get there again. That was a little over 4 years ago.

He may "talk the talk" but he's, most definitely, not "walking the walk". If and when he chooses recovery, he won't need to say a word...his actions will speak loud and clear.

Keep doing what you're doing...I read your other thread, and YOU are absolutely making progress. Him? He's just telling you whatever he thinks will get you back into codie-land, and I'm really glad that it's not working any more.

Hugs and prayers,

Amy
Thanks so much Amy.... he hasn't had a serious, gone for days, type relapse-- he is doing the "dabbling" and if I were to bet I'd bet that he's thinkng (since this is what he tells me) "it's just a few beers-- it's not that big a deal" etc... He clearly thinks HE is the one in the driver's seat here. And even if he knows better he prefers to lie to himself and others rather than change. That's his prerogative. But I certainly don;t have to sit around and make his life and his choices my life.

He is definitely trying to suck me into codie, feel sorry for him land and boy was last night and this morning hard... I was tempted to call/text/see how he is... I feel guilty, etc... But I KNOW that those are residual unhealthy reactions to the way I've lived all my life but they don't have to be the way I keep living...

He wants to spend time together this weekend under the guise of "it's important for the girls that we are together for Easter". I KNOW I don't have the strength to stay out of codie land if I am around him and I am not sure what to do....
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Old 04-22-2011, 04:42 AM
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Originally Posted by lillamy View Post
Relapse is part of alcoholism. Not recovery.
I have friends who recovered, relapsed, and got serious and have 30 years sobriety under their belt. I also have friends who recovered, were sponsors, relapsed, and lost everything.

It's all in the actions. I would be concerned about someone who rationalizes a relapse.




Me too (the bold part). And I've been concerned about someone who refers to repeated "slips" as just that. Slips. He's been in and out of outpatient rehab since Nov and has not yet strung together any long period of sobriety (4 weeks max). And yet in his mind bc none of the "slips" since Jan have been major, day long benders or in his mind interfered with his day to day functioning (his perception and mine are clearly different) he doesn't see that he's relapsed.

Relapsing for him is having days long drinking binges and having something awful happen as a result (law involvement, car accident, physical injury to himself etc...) Evidently throwing his marriage away and hurting his kids isn't "awful" enough for him to see what he's done is relapsing.

Whatever. His life to throw away- not my problem anymore. I really was just curious for my own perspective and appreciate everyone's responses...
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Old 04-22-2011, 04:58 AM
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Originally Posted by wanttobehealthy View Post
He wants to spend time together this weekend under the guise of "it's important for the girls that we are together for Easter". I KNOW I don't have the strength to stay out of codie land if I am around him and I am not sure what to do....
This is YOUR life too
You are important
You matter
Your needs are important

If you need time and space away from him, then that is what you do. Give yourself time and space away from him.

He wants Plan A: spend time together this weekend for the girls
You want Plan B: Time to focus on your needs.

Your plan includes taking care of yourself. This will give you strength and inner peace to be a better you and a more fantastic Mom.

IMHO, his plan includes manipulation and guilt.

Based on my personal experience with my recovering alcoholic ex husband, our time together "for the kids" had very little to do with his spending quality time with the kids. It looked and felt more like his trying to impress me and spend time with me with "the kids" along to watch the show

PLAN C: Dad gets to spend time with the girls from ____________to __________ on _____________ date.
Mom gets to have time to focus on her needs and make her own special plans for quality time with her girls.
The girls get quality time with each parent.

Hugs to you!:ghug3
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Old 04-22-2011, 06:45 AM
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I think what he's hearing is people who are trying to make someone else feel better after a slip. IOW, what some well-meaning people TRY to communicate to the slip-ee is that it isn't the end of the world, you can still recover, it's not that uncommon.

But, as has been pointed out, there's a huge difference between an unexpected situation or giving in to an uncontrollable urge to drink (which is what alcoholism is, after all), and simply continuing to see what you might be able to get away with. Even those who are doing everything they know how to do not to drink may continue to slip up for awhile. Conversely, some people have no intention of quitting forever and use the "it's just a slip" to justify it.

It all depends on where his heart/head are at. I think anyone who is serious about recovery is mortified by a slip. Those who seem to roll along like everything is just fine are those who, I suspect, are simply not ready to quit drinking.

This is my own personal yardstick.
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Old 04-22-2011, 07:42 AM
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From what I've heard other people explain...

To someone who truly wants to recover, being told that "relapses are a part of recovery" is a morale booster they use to move on from the relapse and go on to an even stronger recovery, rather than allowing themselves to just give up and be afraid to return to AA or whatever other program(s) they're working to be viewed as a failure.

To someone who isn't really trying to recovery, being told that "relapses are a part of recovery" is an excuse to continue to drink under the guise of recovery.
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Old 04-22-2011, 07:43 AM
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Originally Posted by Pelican View Post
This is YOUR life too
You are important
You matter
Your needs are important

If you need time and space away from him, then that is what you do. Give yourself time and space away from him.

He wants Plan A: spend time together this weekend for the girls
You want Plan B: Time to focus on your needs.

Your plan includes taking care of yourself. This will give you strength and inner peace to be a better you and a more fantastic Mom.

IMHO, his plan includes manipulation and guilt.

Based on my personal experience with my recovering alcoholic ex husband, our time together "for the kids" had very little to do with his spending quality time with the kids. It looked and felt more like his trying to impress me and spend time with me with "the kids" along to watch the show

PLAN C: Dad gets to spend time with the girls from ____________to __________ on _____________ date.
Mom gets to have time to focus on her needs and make her own special plans for quality time with her girls.
The girls get quality time with each parent.

Hugs to you!:ghug3
I am stuck on this one-- not that my needs aren't important-- I am stuck bc I don't want him alone with the girls. I don't trust him at all. It makes me anxious thinking about it. He has PROVEN time and time again that he can't control (or chooses not to) the urge to drink even when he's alone with them and KNOWS better.

So, I'm dreading the conversation of "either see them with me around or not at all". And since I have no legal right to say this right now it may turn into a fight.

Of course, he KNOWS he is breaking bail by drinking and I have proof of that and I could call and report him and that would solve the visitation alone problem pretty easily I'd guess. I'd hoped to not deal with this before the trial and to instead let the judge and lawyers deal with it and him on that date but maybe I ought to just make that call and start the ball rolling...

Ugh.
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Old 04-22-2011, 07:48 AM
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He is using the girls as an excuse. Sure, he may enjoy seeing them on Easter, but he's putting it that way so you will feel guilty if you say no. Yes, you most certainly do have the right to say he cannot spend Easter with the three of you if you suspect he is drinking. Even if you don't know he's drinking at that moment, you have proof that he has been drinking. That gives you the right to enforce your sense of responsibility for your children. He is again trying to manipulate you.
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Old 04-22-2011, 07:59 AM
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.... he hasn't had a serious, gone for days, type relapse-- he is doing the "dabbling" and if I were to bet I'd bet that he's thinkng (since this is what he tells me) "it's just a few beers-- it's not that big a deal" etc... He clearly thinks HE is the one in the driver's seat here. And even if he knows better he prefers to lie to himself and others rather than change. That's his prerogative. But I certainly don;t have to sit around and make his life and his choices my life.
I've heard the "it's just a few beers, it's not a big deal" from my RAH also. He is definitely dabbling, which he does not consider a "relapse." Seems to me, by not 100% quitting, the A will never have to worry about the label of "relapsing" because they never really quit to begin with! You have to quit to relapse. So if someone who "cut down" dabbles, then there's no way to label them. I think they do this on purpose. It starts out as a few beers... We all know better. That's like a crack addict saying they only smoked a little bit of crack yesterday so it's not a big deal. It's tempting to accept the rationalization at first, until you notice their dabbling is increasing. Then you just hear more rationalizing and justifying. Pretty soon, they are drinking everyday but still saying, "Well I'm not as bad as I used to be..." It's a cycle. The RA is convinced (and tries to convince you) that they are making progress, but it's not progress at all. I'm not an A but have lived with one for over 10 years. Yes, things are much better since my RAH stopped getting wasted every night, but he's still hanging onto the fantasy that he can still drink and be in control of it. What makes them think they can just wake up one day and decide to control their alcohol, after decades of not being able to control it? I don't get it.
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Old 04-22-2011, 08:04 AM
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Here's the quacking I hear (I am saying this out loud to you all to try and take away the power it has over me to make me feel guilty and act stupidly in response) when I say "I am not comfortable with you being alone with the girls bc I can't predict when you might drink and it's a safety issue"

Either indignation and being pissed off and telling me I am unreasonable OR more likely, a passive, martyr like, puppy dog look of "I understand... " and telling me it is hurting the girls but he will do whatever it takes to show that he puts them first (martyrdom). Then he paints me as unreasonable (after all it was "only 2 beers a month ago" is usually how the story goes) and I look like I AM alienating him unfairly from the girls.

If I offer to have him stay and be there together briefly (meaning there is a limit) he says that the tension created by me is unfair to the girls and since he will put them first always he will bow out so that they aren't impacted by my toxicity. (btw, last easter he was not around bc he was at his parents house due to a family crisis and did not call the girls at all on easter after promising to be home mid day to see them)

Pretty much NO option other than, 'sure, show up when you want, do whatever you want while here with me gone and stay just long enough to play 'fun dad' and then i'll come back and act like you're a saint and be okay if you drank or ignored the girls or wrecked the house and I'll let you lurk around once I return so you can rest on the couch and be responsibility free' results in me being told I am unreasonable, unfair, uncaring (of the girls), alienating him etc...

Ugh.
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