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Main causes of relapse after significant sobriety?

Old 05-16-2015, 04:24 PM
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This is one of the greatest threads I have read on SR. This should be mandatory reading for anyone assuming responsibility for their sobriety. My hat's off to you all for providing such powerful witness to the reality of maintaining a foothold against addiction. Well played!
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Old 05-16-2015, 04:57 PM
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I still remember: I know how it feels to wake up without any recollection of last night's events, fearing what I might have done. I remember being in near panic mode until I bought a week-end's worth of liquor. I remember the shame, the frustration that I had broken another promise to myself, that I had become unlovable. I believe what others have told me: It is easier to stay sober than it is to get sober. I swore I would stop so many times but didn't , so I am convinced there are no guarantees that I would get sober again. I have an investment in sobriety. I've known what sobriety can bring, and I'm not willing to risk losing that for one episode of questionable "pleasure" I might seek in a drink. After 26 years, I still know I cannot handle just one.
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Old 05-16-2015, 05:08 PM
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Relapse happens when someone tries to apply logic to an illogical situation.

Logically, someone can drink once a year. Right? Why couldn't they? Logically this could happen. A human being could drink once a year.

The problem is addiction is not logical. Far from it.

It's an all or nothing game.
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Old 05-16-2015, 05:14 PM
  # 24 (permalink)  
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I had 5 1/2 years once, and got complacent.

I thought that I could have a beer with a nice steak dinner in a restaurant. Of course I could. The problem was I continued the party the next day with more beer. And soon vodka joined the party and it was off to the races.
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Old 05-16-2015, 05:15 PM
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Never, Never, Ever...Forget.

After 13 years of sobriety, I had just nailed the last shingle onto my newly built garage. I was so glad it was over and done. It was late in the day. It was hot and I was tired...Then...my AV popped into my mind...after 13 years of not hearing a peep out of the little "B"... It said...

..."This calls for a celebration" !

That was 16 years ago. I'am still drinking.

The AV may go "Dormant"...but it never, EVER goes away. Never forget that. I wont.

DD
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Old 05-16-2015, 06:22 PM
  # 26 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by DuhDave View Post
After 13 years of sobriety, I had just nailed the last shingle onto my newly built garage. I was so glad it was over and done. It was late in the day. It was hot and I was tired...Then...my AV popped into my mind...after 13 years of not hearing a peep out of the little "B"... It said...

..."This calls for a celebration" !

That was 16 years ago. I'am still drinking.

The AV may go "Dormant"...but it never, EVER goes away. Never forget that. I wont.

DD
Well, come on, Dave. Climb aboard. There's no time like the present. ((Hugs))
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Old 05-16-2015, 06:56 PM
  # 27 (permalink)  
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Very good thread indeed.
I haven't drank again.....yet...since I wanted to get sober and became willing to do whatever it took.
However, I have heard the experience of others from between 30 days and 26 years. Some of the things I've heard:
got complacent.
stopped praying.
Stopped going to meetings.
Stopped talking t my sponsor and others in recovery.
Stopped helping others.
Let old behaviors come back in.
Let old faces back in my life.
Started hanging at wet places.
Harbored a resentment.

I use their experiences to help me stays over.
One thing I keep in mind:the man with 26 years sober who drank again was only out for about a month. He said it wasn't like he picked up where he left off. It was like he never stopped.
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Old 05-16-2015, 07:30 PM
  # 28 (permalink)  
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but I wonder how a person who has been strong for such a long time might suddenly throw it all away? What makes the difference between someone who is sober for 5 years before relapsing, and someone who is sober forever?

i'm thinking one of the differences between those two people is that the second one isn't relying on strength. if she were, eventually there would be a weak moment.
her sobriety doesn't depend on being strong.
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Old 05-16-2015, 08:02 PM
  # 29 (permalink)  
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Great thread! Alot of things I needed to hear today.
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Old 05-16-2015, 08:09 PM
  # 30 (permalink)  
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I don't know why people drink after having years of sobriety. I'm sober almost 31 years though, and I have a pretty good idea why I haven't.

In no particular order:

- I never underestimated the power of alcohol.
- I never considered myself cured from alcoholism.
- I never felt like I knew all there was to know.
- I remain open minded.
- I remain willing.
- I accept that I'm not perfect. That didn't happen overnight.
- I'm always looking to grow and learn new things.
- I've taken tons of suggestions from others, even when I didn't completely agree, or like it.
- I've learned to accept and deal with all my feelings and never medicate them in any way.
- I've learned how to deal with anxiety, and overcome panic. I've learned that through the rooms of AA, lots of therapy, and lots of books.
- I've incorporated the 12 steps in my life since the day I got sober, learning something new about them all the time.
- I changed my diet significantly over time, into one that nurtures and strengthens my mind and body as opposed to beat them down.
- I found exercise I enjoyed and stuck with an exercise program for 30 years.
- I believe that this is a physical, mental, spiritual, and social problem. I addressed all 4 areas, and continue to.
- I reach out and do my best to help other alcoholics.
- I help others as much as I can in other areas of my life.
- I do some volunteer work.
- I continually work at being as honest as I can with myself, and others.
- I pray to the god of my understanding, which I'm beginning to consider my higher self (never mattered to me whether my HP was within me, or outside of me).
- I go to AA meetings. Not as much as I used to, but I keep my connection.
- I never got complacent about alcohol, remembering something my sponsor told me early on. Not drinking was clearly a life and death matter when I first got sober. Feeling better after months or years will not change that, only make me forget it. Drinking alcohol will never NOT be a life and death matter for me.
- I never picked up a drink, no matter how I felt or what was going on.
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Old 05-16-2015, 08:42 PM
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Thank you everyone for sharing. I have a year and some months and while I've been fairly comfortable in sobriety, I've gotten a little lax. Today has been a horrible day and if I hadn't made myself do what I didn't want to at all which was ask for help, I'd have been drunk by now.

I forget the pain of drinking. I forget that it only makes the problems and pain of the day worse. I forget that drinking at a problem isn't the solution. I forget that extreme anger is not my friend. It's the friend of the little voice that wants me to drink.

Thanks for the reminders. I need them today.
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Old 05-16-2015, 08:49 PM
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Choosing to drink, despite knowing full well what the ramifications are.
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Old 05-16-2015, 08:51 PM
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Ruby, I'm glad you checked in. You are so dependably a source of support and wisdom here. Our world here on SR is here for you. (And we'll always be here to remind you that drinking only worsens a horrible day.)

Bad times don't last.

Take good care and know a lot of folks have your back.
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Old 05-16-2015, 09:31 PM
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Originally Posted by MIRecovery View Post
Alcohol has a life time to wait for our one moment of weakness. SLIP = Sobriety Loses Its Priority. For me that is why I continue with AA. I see new people who's life is falling apart. I talk to people who started drinking again after years of sobriety, I see people with long term sobriety and the great life they have. People who drink again are the ones who forget the hell they left
I agree with MIRecovery. I had over 5.5 years of sobriety & relapsed after I stopped going to AA & working the steps.

Alcoholism is an obsession of the mind and an allergy of the body. Without a program of recovery I WILL drink again. I need to go to meetings to see what happens to people who stop going to meetings. I've seen lots of people relapse and die. So sad.
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Old 05-16-2015, 10:26 PM
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Great thread, everyone. The AV reminds me of that stock character in horror movies - the psychopath in prison who is doing pushups and working out all day just waiting for his eventual release and chance to wreak havoc on his enemy....
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Old 05-17-2015, 04:53 AM
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Forgetfulness.
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Old 05-17-2015, 05:27 AM
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This is a great topic and even after a lot of sober years I still need to hear/see the reasons for relapsing.

My first sponsor said that mankind has a great tendency to forget the pain we went through. Take childbirth for example of pain that’s endured, what would the population be if women reacted with NO MORE because of the pain?

To me a very important slogan hanging on the walls at AA meetings is “REMEMBER WHEN.”

BE WELL
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Old 05-17-2015, 09:26 AM
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Unfortunately, pain and escape from problems are many times not the reason I used alcohol. I many times just wanted to feel the pleasure of the drink. Sitting on the deck at night listening to the night sounds, watching a storm throw its thunderheads high in the atmosphere, listening and watching a campfire—all these things and more were enhanced by the beta endorphin release from the alcohol. Of course one can enjoy these things without alcohol, but there is no question they were enhanced. At least in the beginning, until the excess intake blurred the sensations with intoxication. And that is where it always went. But those initial moments when the drug kicked in are what still lingers in the confines of my addiction. That is the difficult part for me to battle. I do it, but it is a huge struggle.
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Old 05-17-2015, 09:26 AM
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Originally Posted by Fluffer View Post
Great thread, everyone. The AV reminds me of that stock character in horror movies - the psychopath in prison who is doing pushups and working out all day just waiting for his eventual release and chance to wreak havoc on his enemy....
What a great visual. I'm going to use this! Thanks, Fluffer.
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Old 05-17-2015, 09:40 AM
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I just got lazy at around 6 months, started taking sobriety for granted and slipped around 7 months. Didn't slip again for another 6 weeks after that so I told myself it was no big deal and I could do it a few times a year with no worries. It's gotten incrementally worse and I know where it could eventually head back to, I just can't have it in my life at all is the truth of it.

I would say taking sobriety for granted and getting lazy about it cost me.
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