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Alcoholic "RELAPSE"...Where do you draw the line???

Old 06-29-2011, 09:48 AM
  # 21 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by Darklight View Post
Personally, I draw the line when the addict is no longer working a serious program of recovery: no meetings, no stepwork, no calling their sponsor, no prayer/meditation, and they've started to act out in their addiction on a regular basis.
Darklight I hear you on this, but this is where I struggle. When my RAH drinks/ relapses it is hard for me to catch as he is super sneaky and is not the falling down kind of drunk. We all know how good A's are about lying, so how would I actually know if he is in fact doing this? He could say he is but in reality not be. My RAH is very good at turning on Mr. Charming and taking me on a dance all while hiding his addition from me. I guess eventually I do figure it out, but by then I think he has just learned new ways of taking me for a ride. What would you recommend to help me know what is actually happening? I get the "his recovery is his business", but your example shows me I want it be mine too. As such I sit and scratch my head on this. The reality is I am getting very tired of the merry go round and I want to give him and our marriage the best chance I can give it, so I feel a bit lost on how take this on.
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Old 06-29-2011, 09:56 AM
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Well, I don't think the "not going to meetings" stuff is what SIGNALS relapse--I think the question was how do you decide whether a relapse is the last straw or whether recovery is still possible.

It's the reaction when a relapse has occurred that we are talking about. It seems to go without saying that if the alcoholic is actively hiding the relapse then there isn't any real recovery work going on. While there might be a BRIEF coverup of a slip, someone who is serious about getting sober won't be able to keep it secret for long, and generally will admit it and redouble his/her efforts.
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Old 06-29-2011, 10:35 AM
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It's a great question... thanks for starting this thread... I'm not sure what my "limit" is. I know that I am not concerned in the same way that I was for many years, about my AH's drinking and lack of recovery. I am worried about my own recovery and find that the more I focus on that, the less I worry about his drinking and all that goes along with it.

I guess too I would have to have had a period of time with AH when he was sober to know how I'd feel about him relapsing. I thought this winter that he'd relapsed but what I've realized is that he never stopped drinking so it was just a progressing of his drinking and not a relapse...

Some days I feel a lot stronger than others and what I've decided works for me right now is to worry about my kids and myself and not engage with AH. It's remarkable that when I refuse to participate in the dance how quickly it ends. He is rarely around these days bc he is not finding what he wants in terms of interactions with me and that's attributable to the fact that I just don't engage anymore.
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Old 06-29-2011, 10:48 AM
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Originally Posted by Tuffgirl View Post
I could take a slip, possibly even a relapse, but the lack of personal responsibility and anger issues just aren't my thing anymore. I don't like mean people. Be mean = go away.
And that is why it's often said some are a$$holes drinking, and still a$$holes when they sober up!

It's a threefold disease, and if the spiritual and emotional aspects aren't addressed, you've got a dry drunk.

It's miserable because I have had periods over the years where I was just dry. Thank God I didn't drink again and pulled my head out of my butt!
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Old 06-29-2011, 03:58 PM
  # 25 (permalink)  
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Some interesting feedback and well appreciated.

I have read each post, I am confussed on the words, slip & relapse..

Slip, does that mean, 1 or 5 drinks or a fifth of whiskey, everyother day, not staggering?
Relapse, drunk and passed out, drinking everyday?

Im not understanding the definitions of slip vs relapse....

I dont know why this is bothering me, but it has the past few days

Guess, it started with the phone call with his brother
$1200 of booze in one month, but he is tapering down, atleast hes not
laying on the floor anymore passed out...
He tells me,
"They do relapse, thats part of it"
He was kind of gruff with me over the fact....

Thinking maybe, Im the crazy one here???
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Old 06-29-2011, 04:12 PM
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Relapse is not part of recovery, it is part of addiction. There are people who manage to grab onto recovery and never have a relapse. Granted, many people do, but again, that isn't recovery, that is addiction.

Just my opinion, but to me, a slip would be if someone had one drink, realized what they had done, catches themselves and goes back to not drinking. A relapse, again, IMO, is when someone continues drinking after that first drink, even if they plan to start over "tomorrow." Others may look at it differently, but in my opinion, anyone who has more than one drink while in recovery, does so purposely and I would consider that relapse. I try not to get too caught up in words like that because any time a person in recovery has a drink, the potential for long term relapse is great.
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Old 06-29-2011, 04:47 PM
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Originally Posted by marie1960 View Post
It hit me like a ton of bricks one day. And I knew I was done.
This one says it all. When you know, you just know.
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Old 06-29-2011, 05:05 PM
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Yeah, suki looks at it pretty much the way I do.

A slip is a VERY short-term event, followed by greater efforts to avoid its recurrence.

A relapse could start out looking like a slip, but instead of the person stopping and redoubling his/her efforts, it segues into a WTF, for at least some length of time.

These aren't "official" definitions--so far as I know, there aren't any. It just reflects what I would call the events--and I picked it up around the rooms, so I must not be the only one who looks at it that way.
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Old 06-29-2011, 09:12 PM
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Originally Posted by Darklight View Post
Personally, I draw the line when the addict is no longer working a serious program of recovery: no meetings, no stepwork, no calling their sponsor, no prayer/meditation, and they've started to act out in their addiction on a regular basis.

If they are doing all those things and they have a relapse, then I have compassion for them and I work my own program of recovery.
I like the concept of compassion. (Thanks Darklight). I feel like it's absent from many of the threads. I'm not blaming people for their anger, frustration, fear, because I really understand where they are coming from...but compassion is one character asset worth cultivating IMO.

Al-Anon has but one purpose: to help families of alcoholics. We do this by practicing the Twelve Steps, by welcoming and giving comfort to families of alcoholics, and by giving understanding and encouragement to the alcoholic.
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Old 06-30-2011, 05:38 AM
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While I supose that is mathematically possible, it's also mathematically possible that pianos may one day rain from the skies. My point is: there may be a few addicts out there who have never relapsed, but they are very few and very far between. Just about every addict - at one time or another - has a relapse. It usually happens in the first five years of recovery.
Actually all three of the sponsors I've had were/are non-relapsers. My current sponsor has 29 years clean/sober.

That's pretty good averages in a small town of 3000 with a small AA group.
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Old 06-30-2011, 05:43 AM
  # 31 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by BobbyJ View Post
Some interesting feedback and well appreciated.

I have read each post, I am confussed on the words, slip & relapse..

In my books, slip is for banana peels, as in "I slipped on a banana peel."

You either drink again or you don't.

I have yet to see someone drink again who wasn't emotionally drunk already far in advance of picking up that drink.

That's been my experience in being in the rooms of AA since 1986.
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Old 06-30-2011, 06:37 AM
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Originally Posted by Darklight View Post

Again, sophistry. You can't seperate recovery and addiction into two mutually-exclusive concepts, including the factors involved. That is fallacious reasoning.
I find myself mostly agreeing with the concept that recovery and addiction are not mutually exclusive concepts... I wouldn't say the arguement was sophistry, however.... how can an entirely personal and subjective experience, and well, one's opinion, be judged a fallacy?

I agree that some who are on this journey find that relapse is part of their recovery. But wouldn't you say that relapse eclipses recovery?

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Old 06-30-2011, 06:53 AM
  # 33 (permalink)  
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My experiences as an alcoholic are as valid as anyone elses. I, personally, have been in the middle of a drink, had a moment of clarity wherein I said...WHAT THE EFF ARE YOU DOING??...immediately poured out the rest of the drink and the bottle. If I'm the only alcoholic in the world who has ever done that, then I must indeed be quite special.

I am, however, extremely grateful that you support me having my own opinions.
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Old 06-30-2011, 07:45 AM
  # 34 (permalink)  
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I think of it as:
Either your pregnant or not pregnant
Can you be just alittle bit pregnant?

Either your sober or not sober

Maybe this way of thinking, makes me narrow minded

For me, to hear the stories from recovering alcoholics
and hearing their excitement of their recovery. Their dedication
of never wanting to drink and go back living in hell, is
very inspiring to me. I have full compassion for that.
I have respect for those who can say, I havent picked
up a drink in 20 years.

After the damage of the losing a family,job,friends,financial, self worth
I have a hard time with compassion for those who want to continue
to repeat with a relapse or slip (whatever) it is called.

Kind of like the person who is dying from lung cancer, sitting in the chair
with oxygen hooked up to them with a smoke in one hand.
Hard for me to have compassion for that...

Somewhere, it is called "Choices"...

We all have our own demons to deal with. Its our choice!

I am not saying Im perfect, Im just trying to understand this cunning,baffling diesase.
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Old 06-30-2011, 07:50 AM
  # 35 (permalink)  
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I think of it as:
Either your pregnant or not pregnant
Can you be just alittle bit pregnant?

Either your sober or not sober

Maybe this way of thinking, makes me narrow minded.


No, it makes you realistic. Either an alcoholic wants to live sober or they don't. There really isn't any leeway there. If they think they can drink a little, they're wrong. It's pretty much an all or nothing proposition. It takes some longer to realize that, but the choice they make once they do realize it, IF they ever do, speaks volumes.
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Old 06-30-2011, 07:55 AM
  # 36 (permalink)  
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suki44883 it is your type of honesty with addiction

that I admire...wish they all had it.....
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Old 06-30-2011, 08:00 AM
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I have yet to see someone drink again who wasn't emotionally drunk already far in advance of picking up that drink.-Thanks Freedom...

That too has been my experience. I did relapse 18 months ago. It was a short lived trip back to insanity. But...I bought the ticket well in advance of taking the trip..
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Old 06-30-2011, 08:08 AM
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My dad had been sober for 39 years without a relapse.

Personally, I don't see a huge difference between a slip and a relapse. It is what it is. If a return to drinking for an alcoholic doesn't turn out horrible they were only lucky.

I had a sponsee who liked to play that word game with me. She's drink and say it's wasn't a relapse, it was just a slip. That's called denial where I come from.

Is one really better than the other?
I don't think so.
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Old 06-30-2011, 08:38 AM
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I will always have compassion for those fighting addiction (must be a very strong mental illness to lose so much yet still not want or be able to change) but at some point it is time to get off the ride with them and simply let them have the life they chose to have without taking a front row seat to watch how it ends.

@Darklight... thank you for your help with the questions I asked. I really wish it was as easy as you make it seem and perhaps now that I have been healing myself via Al-anon it will be easier if it happens again. It has always taken me a bit to discovery what is happening. I suspect it, he denies it, and he has over time continued to perfect his ability to cover it up. He is very good at flipping on and off his attitude to the point where I have no idea what is genuine and what is not. This time I am just hoping that I will hear that voice of recovery in him again (he is getting there) , that I know his "signs" well enough that I will not question the relapse but simply know it and the biggest for me is to make my boundaries on this and keep them. What I do know is that I am married to a big fat lier who will say and do anything to protect his addiction. Trust, on this issue is 100% gone. I like your idea of asking him what he is learning in AA, perhaps what the topic of the day was and to see his response. In the past he has been very closed mouthed about his recovery and AA, other than to say he is going or has gone to a meeting and meeting with his sponsor. I do know he was on step 8 before he relapsed last time. I guess we will see how it goes.
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Old 06-30-2011, 08:49 AM
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Originally Posted by suki44883 View Post
[I]
Either your pregnant or not pregnant
Can you be just a little bit pregnant?
I just used this example. I also said that like having a child, both parties have to be committed to the idea. In my situation, I felt like both of us were saying that we didn't want children...but one of us was lying about taking birth control pills.

As for the line...I often told my XH that I couldn't tell him where the line was for certain because, unfortunately, I would only really know where it is when I was over it. That ended up being exactly the case.
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