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

Old 06-28-2011, 12:44 PM
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Alcoholic "RELAPSE"...Where do you draw the line???

Just wondering, how some of you handle relapse?

Some of you accept relapse with your A and move on with
your everyday life, like it never even happened

Some of you break down and struggle when they do it again
and you hold your breath & wait for the next one

Some of you are like me, and with one relapse, IM DONE,
like burnt toast....Divorced & kicked to the curb done!!

Where do you draw the line of what is acceptable & what is not
when it comes to relapse?

How come I could only handle one and the next person can handle
5???? .......just thinking......
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Old 06-28-2011, 12:49 PM
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It's a personal decision. I believe when someone is truly done, that's it. Even if the qualifier gets help and tries to live sober, some invisible line has been crossed. We can NEVER be sure there won't be a relapse, even years on down the road. When I'm done, I'm done. Period.
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Old 06-28-2011, 12:50 PM
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Personally I have zero tolerance for active alcoholism and/or addiction.

That's why my 33-year-old AD was kicked to the curb after spending a month in my home and turning it upside down.
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Old 06-28-2011, 01:09 PM
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That is a great question and one I have often wondered so many times over the years. I am in year 7 of tolerance (finally following through w/ divorce filing "for good"); my mom took 38 years. I wish I would have had your thought process and followed through the first time! Although, then I wouln't have my little sweeties and I would do it all again knowing what the stakes would be.

Like Suki said, it's a personal decision. And, I completely agree, when you are DONE you're DONE! I have now reached zero tolerance and in doing so hope that I am teaching my children that it is NOT ok to be mis-treated by people for any reason.
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Old 06-28-2011, 01:10 PM
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I think it depends on how 'done' you were before they tried to get sober.

I was pretty done before rehab, much less the relapse. I just didn't have enough recovery/strength to be give myself permission to be done. The relapse was a line in the sand.

Had that played out years before (him going to rehab) I would have probably stuck out a couple relapses.

I work towards a future where I don't need any permission lines. That I give myself permission to do what is right for me, because it is right or me.
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Old 06-28-2011, 02:17 PM
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Great question and one that I can not answer at this point. I guess I am not at the end of my rope yet, but I know I am getting closer. This last relapse was the one that put me over the edge and forced my hand at getting help for me. It was the one that opened my eyes to really understanding what he (and therefore our family) is up against. For me once I am able to support myself and am healthy enough to say no more that will be when I draw the line. I have to say however that I think I am okay with a slip as long as it is not hidden from me and he jumps back into recovery hard and fast if it happens. I have a feeling once I am done, I'll just be done, period.
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Old 06-28-2011, 03:22 PM
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Just as we are all individuals, there is no one size fits all answer.

Thankfully, my husband supported me thru my relapse.

However, some of us have a higher threshold for pain and chaos then others.
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Old 06-28-2011, 04:04 PM
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One drink is relapse for me because one is too much and 100 is not enough.

After a lifetime of doing it on my own I had to get help and this is what I learned. I am an alcoholic and one drink is a relapse for me because I cannot stop at one.

I will have lit the match again and the raging fire is on.
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Old 06-28-2011, 04:09 PM
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As others have said, it probably depends on a lot of factors. For me, it may happen when the thought of going through divorce and its inherent complications is less frightening than the thought of staying with my AW.

I haven't reached that point yet, but we're on her third relapse and counting. But then, maybe she can't have a true "relapse" since she's never tried to get help or admitted she has a problem. She has promised to quit drinking three times... grudgingly, as if we're infringing on her rights. It's always "If that's what it takes to make you stop harping on me".
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Old 06-28-2011, 05:08 PM
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Exactly. It's not a relapse if there's no real attempt at recovery. I'm not holding my breath either way. I love my boyfriend. I moved away from his alcoholism. I'm looking at a house tonight. I invited him along, and he declined because it would make him too sad. I changed the subject, and I feel a little sorry that he won't be there to give his input. 6 months ago, a year ago, that response from me would have felt terrifying!

Relax, be gentle with yourself. No one really knows what's going to happen next.

- Sylvie
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Old 06-28-2011, 05:10 PM
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Relapse is a word my exabf bantered around. The problem is, he was never in recovery, he was just white knuckling addition, when he was not on crack he was drinking. So, to me, relapse in some cases becomes a catch all.
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Old 06-28-2011, 05:10 PM
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Bobby J, I think you were smart to only stay through one relapse. Like Happiness Fairy's mother, I've been with AH over 30 years. I thought I was done and then he said, I'll quit drinking. He lasted for almost 3 weeks and then he drank again. At that point, he said, Oh, I can just drink a little now and then. Yeah, right, you're an alcoholic buddy. Anyway, I'm tired and sometimes just sick of his denial. I feel that at this point I've given him every chance in the world. We live in separate quarters in the same house, and he knows that alcohol is the reason. Nothing seems to get through to him when it comes to alcohol. Where do I draw the line? At this point, I don't know what to expect from him but more drinking. He cannot drink a little, and he's only fooling himself if he thinks he can. Al-anon, my sponsor, other al-anoners, and a great counselor are the only reasons I'm sane today.
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Old 06-28-2011, 06:29 PM
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It hit me like a ton of bricks one day. And I knew I was done. We always maintained separate households, so that part was easy. I just told him to go home.

Guess it was just building up, as his alcoholism progressed, my tolerance for his BS lessoned. One evening I made us an exceptional dinner, and of course he was late in arriving, when he did arrive he was quite intoxicated, then he lies and tells me he only had three beers. As we sit down to dinner he makes a nasty comment about something that is absolutely none of his business, and goes on and on about it. Next comes the repeat of the same story, over and over. Then he tries to pull it together and says something kind, but it was too late. By now my appetite is deminishing, but I still thought I could get his mind on something else and try to salvage the evening.

At dinner he consumed another 4 drinks. When I went to the kitchen to get some napkins I noticed his fifth was half gone, so he was drinking doubles, and it was right then that something, somewhere smacked me along side the head and screamed in my ear NO MORE.

I go back to the dining room, he is heading for the recliner, can hardly stand up. I let him sleep there and in the morning when he brought me coffee and acted like nothing was wrong, I told him that his behavior and actions were consuming my very existance and I could no longer be involved with him. He has absolutely no desire to quit drinking, everything is fine and dandy in his world of Jack Daniels.

This whole experience has scared the hell out of me, I never put myself in this type of relationship before, I can truly understand how people get on that roller coaster and can't get off.

I will never substitute my judgement for anyone else's again. Amen
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Old 06-28-2011, 07:22 PM
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Oh, god. I didn't even get to one relapse. My final "I'm DONE" moment was when he came back from a 30-day rehab, we'd met for lunch and he b-tched about the after-care program and "those people" and proceeded to tell me "It was always the hard stuff, never the beer." and "Every one says I was sick, but I don't see it."

I literally told XAH "Well, that's all I needed to hear," walked away, got in my car and left.

As others have mentioned, it all depends on very personal choices on what we're willing to live with. Some are able to continue hoping or still see a chance for their qualifier's recovery. Other's can't see the hope, or maybe are tired of hoping or ..... So many factors.

Being done does not make you a bad person; it just means you've reached your limit.
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Old 06-28-2011, 07:43 PM
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I struggled with this one. My A had done a 6 month residential rehab, during which time I moved away with our little one, back to where I had been at university prior to taking a maternal leave of absence (there was no AH leave option, but that's what it really was for, so we could move back "home"). So about a year after rehab moves back with us and relapses so promptly I wondered if he hadn't already lapsed. It was like I was thrown back in time! I had no way to cope with it, so I thought, and was probably less prepared than he was. I tried to be supportive but I was furious with myself for letting him move into the house again, and furious with him for letting his support network fall away over the previous year.
So I too asked myself, how much of this should I "put up" with. After 7 months of doing everything I could think of, from offering to go with him to a counselor, to open meetings, etc etc (even finding phone #s for him for people to call for help) I finally realized I was slipping into depression myself. And our little one was showing signs of stress.
For me, a relapse was like going through the original pre-rehab hell again, and it still took me a long time to realize that I had had enough. I wonder if that is a sign: that a relapse looks like Original Flavour?
Another thing I wondered, was how big does a relapse have to be? Is it still a relapse whether it is one drink, or one night of drinking, or 7 months of active alcoholism and counting?
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Old 06-28-2011, 07:44 PM
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I had been "through the drill" with alcoholic husband #1 (who never had a relapse once he got sober), so I knew what Al-Anon recovery should look like.

When alcoholic #2 (with whom I drank, every day, copious amounts) was hospitalized with liver and kidney failure that almost killed him, he got sober. Despite at least one or two slips, I married him several months later. He soon went back to active drinking, and Al-Anon was my lifeline. I had stuck with him through his illness and was still hopeful that the slips were only that (not terribly unusual in early recovery), but when he went back on full-tilt in spite of almost dying, I realized I didn't have it in me to go through another deathbed vigil with someone unwilling to take action to save his own life.

I gave him a couple of warnings that if the drinking continued I would leave. And I did. I didn't divorce him immediately, but when it became apparent he had no interest in trying to recover again, I initiated divorce proceedings. We were married less than two years, and we only lived together for about six months after the marriage.

It was for my own good--I could not put myself through the wringer that way again. I knew I couldn't fix him.

I still hope someday he gets sober, for his own sake. I'm amazed he is still alive. It's been a few years since I talked to him.

When you've had enough, you've had enough.
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Old 06-28-2011, 07:52 PM
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Another thing I wondered, was how big does a relapse have to be? Is it still a relapse whether it is one drink, or one night of drinking, or 7 months of active alcoholism and counting?
I think a "slip" (one drink or a night of drinking) is different from a relapse. (Or at least, it's different if the person is committed to recovery and re-commits after the one-drink, or one or more days of drinking.) I know a lot of people with good solid recovery who drank one or more times after their first attempt. They realized they had screwed up and got busy figuring out what they had missed in their recovery work. That's a lot different from a complete return to drinking (which is what I would consider a relapse).

I also don't consider it a relapse if you go a week without drinking and then drink again. After a week you haven't even started to recover, so all you really have is a one-week break in the pattern.
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Old 06-28-2011, 07:56 PM
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I appreciate this thread. My A and I are splitting up and it's so hard but I know it's right even when it doesn't feel like it. He refuses rehab, says he doesn't have a problem. I see people who are willing to work the rehab route and still have issues - I don't think he'd stand a chance in/out of rehab with his level of denial. I am mad and sad today. Mad that he doesn't see his problem and sad that he's ending our family. G.D. alcohol.
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Old 06-28-2011, 09:37 PM
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Mine hadn't even had a chance to relapse before I left. He had been about 6 weeks sober at that point and quacking so loudly I just couldn't live with him anymore. It was horrid!

We are still papers are completed and sitting on a table at his house. Signed and notarized, even!

And he's been sober almost 8 months.

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.
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Old 06-29-2011, 12:58 AM
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In one respect I've been lucky enough that I haven't experienced a relapse yet, after over a year of sobriety.
But for me the question was, why did I stay so long when my life was a living hell before rehab?
I know parts and pieces of the answer to that...and am still working on the rest. I will say that I'm in a much better place today and I'm confident that if there is a relapse, what ever happens I won't go back to that dark place I was in before I started my recovery.
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