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Be AWARE of euphoric recall!

Old 12-31-2015, 10:12 PM
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Be AWARE of euphoric recall!

Happy New Year everyone! With only 48 days of sobriety & the holidays I found myself having a lot of euphoric recall about my past drinking days today. I did a little research & found this article explaining why it is very dangerous. I hope it helps you as much as it did me. Just thought I would share.... :-)

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How Euphoric recall leads to relapse:
*Addiction is both a physical and psychological disease. While many people mistakenly believe that the physical aspect of the disease is more powerful, it is actually the psychological side of addiction that causes more relapse. Learning how the addicted brain works can empower a recovering addict to avoid relapse.

How Psychological Addiction Works:
*The euphoric high felt during drug or alcohol abuse directly affects an area of the brain called the pleasure or reward center. This is the same part of the brain that manages a variety of important psychological functions such as the following:
Emotional response
Anxiety management
Coping with stress
Reinforcing behaviors (forming habits)
The ability to resist impulses
The formation and recollection of memories
Drugs and alcohol provide real, albeit temporary, relief of emotional pain or distress in this part of the brain. When the substance wears off and the underlying psychological disorder begins to take over, the brain will use every psychological tool at its disposal to get those chemicals again. One of the most problematic of these symptoms – especially after months of recovery– is a phenomenon called euphoric recall.

How Euphoric Recall Works:
*Because the formation and recollection of memories is managed in this same area, the brain may choose only to bring to mind the fun times or highlights of past drug use. The user will not remember the pain, sickness, destruction, disappointment or trapped feelings of addiction – only the good times. This can lead a person to romanticize their previous substance abuse and spend too much time thinking back on it longingly. This type of distorted memory can also lead people to feel overconfident in their ability to resist relapse, which may cause them to place themselves in high-risk environments. A recovering alcoholic, when walking past a bar, may think back to some fun times and then tell himself that he can handle the temptation to drink now. He goes into the bar where the positive memories collide with his weakened state of alertness; before he knows it, he has relapsed.

How to Stop Euphoric Recall:
*While you cannot stop euphoric recall, one of the most powerful tools to overcome it is through relational accountability. Make sure you have a friend or sponsor who you have especially empowered to hold you accountable for your time, words, money and actions. Another person can provide the accurate perspective that euphoric recall destroys. You may start to become nostalgic for your party days, but a good accountability partner will remind you of the broken relationships, the misery of withdrawal and the positive aspects of being clean and sober. Journaling can also be extremely helpful – especially as it relates to identifying faulty or incomplete memories and filling in those gaps during weak moments. In time you can train your mind to remember all aspects of the disease of addiction, not just the distorted ones.
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Old 12-31-2015, 10:25 PM
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The only thing I'd add is you can be your own 'accountability partner' - reading through old posts and old threads can help you 'play the tape through' focusing on the reality of our drinking experience.

Being someone else's accountability partner- well, it's a big job....

It's good to share the load around a little, like the monthly support groups here do

D
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Old 12-31-2015, 10:53 PM
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I definitely have dealt with euporic recall.
As a strategy, I think of the bad times once in awhile. Like I wake up, start my routine and think about how it would be to have a soul-crushing hangover that would be mine to savor all day while trying to behave like a decent human. That was half the time when I stopped.

I guess I try to reinforce the negative memories once in awhile. When the euphoric memories pop-up I'm quicker with my comeback.

Just a theory...
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Old 12-31-2015, 10:59 PM
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Originally Posted by Dee74 View Post
The only thing I'd add is you can be your own 'accountability partner' - reading through old posts and old threads can help you 'play the tape through' focusing on the reality of our drinking experience. Being someone else's accountability partner- well, it's a big job.... It's good to share the load around a little, like the monthly support groups here do D
Very true Dee! I often read through my old posts or my journal. Reading about other people's relapses & struggles here in SR also reminds me how bad alcohol would make me feel. It's very sad when I read about people struggling.

The key for me is never forgetting where I came from and what I am...
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Old 12-31-2015, 11:01 PM
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Originally Posted by leviathan View Post
I definitely have dealt with euporic recall. As a strategy, I think of the bad times once in awhile. Like I wake up, start my routine and think about how it would be to have a soul-crushing hangover that would be mine to savor all day while trying to behave like a decent human. That was half the time when I stopped. I guess I try to reinforce the negative memories once in awhile. When the euphoric memories pop-up I'm quicker with my comeback. Just a theory...
That's a great idea leviathan! I'm gonna try that. Happy New Year!
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Old 01-01-2016, 06:49 AM
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Nice thread KiKi
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Old 01-01-2016, 07:10 AM
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Playing the tape through is one of the things that has been working well for me. I make myself remember every painful detail whenever I catch myself thinking a drink is a good idea. I tell myself that sure I can have that drink as long as I'm willing to accept all the hurt that will come with it. So far I've decided I'd rather not.
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Old 01-01-2016, 08:04 AM
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Originally Posted by Dee74 View Post
The only thing I'd add is you can be your own 'accountability partner' - reading through old posts and old threads can help you 'play the tape through' focusing on the reality of our drinking experience.

Being someone else's accountability partner- well, it's a big job....

It's good to share the load around a little, like the monthly support groups here do

D
Dee's suggestion is a very good one. No person is an island, but at the end of the day each one of us is solely responsible for our own sobriety. While we may not be able to stop euphoric recall from popping up, in the moment it does we do have a choice in how we deal with it. With time and lots of practice one can develop the ability to very quickly skip from euphoric recall to dysphoric recall which relates to everything that follows the short-lived fun.

Both self-directed support and outside support are integral to recovery and sobriety. It's very important to take immediate action as soon as we become aware we are being pulled into a dangerous place. Sometimes that's hard because it can feel good to indulge in the memories of old feelings and the so-called good times.
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Old 01-01-2016, 08:20 AM
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I just want to add to this excellent thread that for me the euphoric recall has practically disappeared. I have a faint memory of it, but with time the memory has become like the face of someone I knew long ago. I have a general concept of them, but I have no feelings attached to it.

It came about without me really knowing it, too. In early days the euphoric recall was so strong. It seemed like the only thing I wanted was to have the drink. With constant denial of that memory, either the physical healing or the emotional detachment has caused it to go away. I don't know if it is practice or biology or both.

It's interesting, and I'm really glad that I don't have that longing anymore. Now I just get an occasional thought of a drink, but it passes quickly: like within seconds instead of long minutes or hours.
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Old 01-01-2016, 08:38 AM
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Excellent post and responses.

It's great to see the advancements in the psychological field. The mind is so powerful. It can be very beautiful yet very ugly and damaging.

Rational recovery is also very helpful in dealing with euphoric recall. When we believe our addiction is an outside force, a third party, or a beast, it helps us defend against its tactics.

When we can anticipate our addiction's moves, we can strategize a defense. When we understand our addiction has only one goal of consumption, we can see through its lies when it speaks.

It's easier when we're a little older. Especially if we've had children. They'll act the same way as our addictions. Even to the point of throwing temper tantrums, or getting angry or sad when they don't get what they want.

I wonder how much more advanced we'd be as a society if more education was provided for psychology. If psychology was taught as early and as late as math, I think we'd be far better off.
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Old 01-01-2016, 09:19 AM
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Yeap the mental mind games that addiction can play is the challenge, and it's important everyone prepares adequately with a plan.

Not buying alcohol is the easy bit, it's the mind selling all the reasons and fairytales as to why buying alcohol would be a good idea, now that was the hurdle.

People wonder why breaking addiction is tough and why willpower or good intentions don't work, but it takes acceptance alcohol is off the table, a plan, and plenty of support!!

Great post!!
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Old 01-01-2016, 09:22 AM
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Thanks for posting this!
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Old 01-01-2016, 11:25 AM
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Yes, IMO euphoric recall is the biggest reason most of us return to drinking. It can even happen as quickly as the next day,* when the hangover starts to wear off.
Painful as it may be, I think it's good to remember the most horrific experiences drinking caused, on a regular basis, especially in early recovery.

When I just don't feel like thinking about alcoholism because it's boring or depressing, that's when I become the most vulnerable to having pleasant past memories of drinking sneak in.

I check myself first thing in the morning and if I feel that way, I pull out my police papers from my DWI and look them over and it's a fast way to wake me up again.

Yes, it sometimes gets tiring, painful, or plain boring to fight alcoholism when I don't even feel like drinking. But I could easily be in jail or the hospital right now because of it. That would be worse than feeling annoyed with recovering.
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Old 01-01-2016, 12:03 PM
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great post...

I just want to add something...

When you hear people say, "Do not romanticize your drinking..." or words to that effect, this is what they are talking about.

oops, I read the OP again. And "romanticize" was already mentioned...

Last edited by LBrain; 01-01-2016 at 12:05 PM. Reason: oops
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Old 01-01-2016, 12:22 PM
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Red, it can happen even faster than that! Today is another day one for me and I already battled this. Maybe because I had predetermined this would be my New Years resolution, and I have no hangover, I was fighting thoughts that I don't need to do this. My brain was definitely only recalling good and suppressing the bad.

Thanks for this post.
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