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Relapse Prevention

Old 03-11-2010, 08:23 PM
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6/20/08
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Relapse Prevention

Recently read posts of members with decades of sobriety that picked up again....and I just got to wondering.....

How do we prevent a relapse? Does the relapse really happen before the addict actually picks up again?

If you have relapsed.....why? How long were you sober? What would you do differently?
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Old 03-11-2010, 09:04 PM
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Sometimes I can be pretty long winded and I fought this deal all my life.

If you believe that this is a three fold disease, that takes you physically, mentally, and spiritually than it is very simple cause we get sober first is usually the physical, than the mental, than last we start where we are spiritually fit. When you relapse it happens backwards.

I didn't ask God to help me stay sober (spiritual)
Than i start getting the Bucket of F*cklts (mental)
Than I use (physical)

Thanks for allowing me to share.
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Old 03-11-2010, 09:17 PM
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For me the only thing, now, that keeps me sober is keeping spiritually fit and having a close conscious contact with my HP (God), there are lots of other tools to make sure i enjoy my sobriety and help me to move forward though.

Yeah i've heard all the stories, and met people in real life, about relapsing after a long time not drinking, my sponsor is 24 years sober, he's never relapsed so i'm more keen to learn from and listen to him on how he has done this rather than listen to the guys that relapsed after decades...i know how to relapse;-)

I'm not showing disrespect to the disease (whatever you want to call alcoholism) and it is cunning, baffling and powerful but to me spending too much time on this subject would be like me starting my own business then seeking the experience of people who had done the same and gone bankrupt instead of seeking the experience of those who had run a company successfully for years and still are doing so...does that make sense?

I like to remember...my sponsor says no matter how long you have you will have days in your sobriety where the best thing you can do that day is just not drink...and he is a very sober person...i don't know why but i find that quite comforting, progress not perfection and all that:-)
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Old 03-11-2010, 10:49 PM
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Originally Posted by coffeenut View Post

.....How do we prevent a relapse? Does the relapse really happen before the addict actually picks up again?

If you have relapsed.....why? How long were you sober? What would you do differently?
I think the relapse sorta does happen before the drug of choice is actually used again.

Effortlessness is a very tricky and perilous thing in this matter.

After my first year of sobriety the next twenty were literally effortless.
I had to put the same amount of thought and effort into not drinking that I put into not pouring gasoline over my head and lighting a fat cigar.

As a result, I got cocky.

Then I found out the hard way that I am violently allergic to ibuprofen.
The skin actally pealed off me all the way around my midsection.
Nothing the doctors gave me could give me more than an hour's relief from the burning, inching and stabbing pains.
Sleep was impossible.

I decided that since I was Mister BigBag 21 years sober, I could try a couple stiff drinks to maybe get some relief and some sleep.
Danged if it didn't work.
And danged if I didn't stay drunk for the next 3 years.

How could I have avoided this?
Well, my best guess is that I should have stayed in some sort of recovery program.
If I had attended just one meeting a month of some sort somewhere I might well have avoided the pitfall of effortlessness.

And I might be rich today, instead of just devastatingly handsome.
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Old 03-12-2010, 05:24 AM
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Coffeenut, this is a great question. I am at a loss as to why I picked up again. I didn't have a drop for 3 yrs. once. I went on a date for the first time in ages, was very nervous, & when he offered me wine, I said yes without giving it a thought. I didn't tell him I didn't drink - nothing. That night I had 5 glasses of wine & woke up with a slight hangover, but thought to myself, "Well, nothing bad happened - I guess I can have a few now & then." Off I went, for 7 years of hell - complete with DUI's & chaos in every area of my life.

I will say - at the time I drank that fateful glass of wine, I was not particularly happy being sober (resentful), didn't get sober for the right reason (did it because my son was upset with me), wasn't working any program - & didn't know about SR.
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Old 03-12-2010, 05:44 AM
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When I first started on several trips down sobriety lane, the relapses came after short periods of time while I was still struggling. They were almost pre-planned in my mind, any excuse, any reason to have that drink to make me feel better - well nothing else would have worked right?
When I did manage 15 months, I got, as handsome B27 put it so very well, cocky. I thought it would be okay, I've got this stopping thing worked out. No biggy. I believe six month passed (not sure, I was too drunk to recall ) and I found SR and haven't looked back.
Soon another six month will have passed and this time I can remember.
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Old 03-12-2010, 05:47 AM
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Chance nailed it for me- too damn confident- this is a cunning disease and knows your minds weak spots. AA works great for me, not sure what happened last night other than outright stupidity. I am on day one again and not falling again- have worked too hard
peace and love to you
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Old 03-12-2010, 06:31 AM
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My sponsor has 21+years sober without a relapse, when ever some one comes back in after a relapse he always ask them what happened after they have some sober time after the relapse every time it is like Chance said:

I didn't ask God to help me stay sober (spiritual)
Than i start getting the Bucket of F*cklts (mental)
Than I use (physical)
My sponsor uses different words though:

Stopped praying (lost spiritual fitness)
Quit going to meeting (Left the fellowship/aka quit working with other alcoholics)
Drank/got drunk.

I always listen closely in meetings when some one comes back in, I work hard on not making the same mistakes they did.

You know I learn a good deal here as I read of others relapsing, but nothing in camparison to SEEING it face to face! It really sinks in for me to SEE the pain, the shame, the guilt in their faces. I do not want to go there!
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Old 03-12-2010, 06:44 AM
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I think this is important to discuss. It is a huge part of recovery! Do I obsess about it, absolutely not. But, I do think I can learn from the actions of others.

Taz: I don't need to see it..... I can feel it on SR. I don't want to go there either. Your comments are much appreciated. Thank you.

B27: Welcome. Please stick around SR. We need you!
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Old 03-12-2010, 07:02 AM
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Relapse prevention for me consists of:
  • Daily Spiritual Practice(meditation, prayer)
  • Attending meetings
  • service work in and out of NA
  • exercise
  • step work with sponsor
  • Try to never get too Hungry, Angry, Lonely, or Tired
  • Practice gratitude
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Old 03-12-2010, 07:03 AM
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Coffee I may not need to see it, not sure, but the visual impact is far greater then reading it here for me.
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Old 03-12-2010, 07:38 AM
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Great post and support from the old warhorses around here. 10 months for me yesterday the longest I've ever been sober, and it feels almost effortless. That's good, but clear from posts here that overconfidence can be our enemy. Good reminder.

Good day for me to read this. Turned 40 today and not [email protected]#*! happy about it! If I weren't alert, it might be easy to hide myself in a bottle or accept a beer tonight at the surprise party my wife thinks I don't know she's throwing. As crabby as I feel about officially hitting this midpoint in life, I can always fall back on this: At least I'm sober!
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Old 03-12-2010, 07:53 AM
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Well another one to look at, preferably in real life as it is hard to explain is people with multiple years since their last drunk who have not worked the steps nor got a spiritual awakening in the rooms, there are actually quite a lot...now you got to wonder how the hell they don't relapse...my sponsor says you feel like buying them a drink...now that's scary and definitely inspired me to work through the steps as quickly as possible!
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Old 03-12-2010, 08:18 AM
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Another thing i forgot:
Laughter. Lots of it. Every day.
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Old 03-12-2010, 08:19 AM
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Hi coffee,

I also read the posts by the multidecade sober folks who relapsed and wondered what was up. It was ironic because they posted about their relapses at the same time that there were lots of anniversary dates.

Relapse is something that I wonder about. I am not going to AA but I do recognize the potential power present there in the faces of the folks in all phases of recovery. Taz did a great job describing how it effects him. I am missing that power in my own recovery.

No answers here just wide-open ears and mind.

55438
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Old 03-12-2010, 08:21 AM
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wow... this is a life saver question for me today!! i can't tell you how many times between yesterday and today it went through my head that i could just go get that bottle of wine tonight (my girl will be staying over at my sister's tonight) and have one or two glasses, and it would be ok. wow wow wow!! i did some quick prayer, and boy do i have a resentment or two built up, and on here i came!! and this is the first post i've read.

i don't know what i can offer, except to say "thank you" for starting up this post. i don't want to ruin my couple of months of sobriety and sanity. (ok, relative sanity )
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Old 03-12-2010, 08:48 AM
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GG, your head and mine must have channeled the same vibe....I was the same way yesterday...I distracted myself with some shopping and visiting friends last night, the craving passed and I was fine... I did not want to ruin 24 days either.
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Old 03-12-2010, 09:16 AM
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A relapse could happen when I fail to notice the progressive warning symptoms like:
  • Fantasizing about drinking and drugging.
  • Lack of self-discipline.
  • Denial.
  • Stress.
  • Loss of Structure.
  • Failing to follow my treatment plan.
  • Dwelling on resentments.
  • Stopping my psychiatric medications.
  • Major life changes.

No matter how much time I have, when I'm not diligent with my personalized addiction treatment program a relapse starts to develop long before I pick up that first drug/drink.

A relapse can be used as a good opportunity to reevaluate my program and make the necessary changes that can help me prevent another relapse from happening.
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Old 03-12-2010, 10:00 AM
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Originally Posted by coffeenut View Post
Recently read posts of members with decades of sobriety that picked up again....and I just got to wondering.....

How do we prevent a relapse? Does the relapse really happen before the addict actually picks up again?

If you have relapsed.....why? How long were you sober? What would you do differently?
...

Why did i continue to drink again?..

I didnt have some vital imformation....i thought not being able to stop and stay stopped was because i didnt have enough willpower and lacked moral fibre.
i thought it was "fight the good fight"........when in fact, for me it was the opposite..

I got that vital imformation through reading the big book with someone that had experienced drinking like i had...and had recovered.

once i could clearly see the problem a solution was highlighted for me in the big book..
it laid out in precise fashion how i could connect to a power that i didnt have.
bringing about a spritual awakening..........a renewing of my sick mind.

How do i prevent a relaspe?.......by staying connected with that power.
staying connected requires action on my part.
i cant just pray to god to "do me a favour"...
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