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Relapse warning signs

Old 04-26-2019, 10:54 PM
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Relapse warning signs

I was with AA about 3 years ago and stayed sober for 6 months. One guy at AA told me that one knows that one will relapse long before the actual relapse happens. I suppose he meant subconciously.

Is that so? If indeed so what are the warning signs to look out for and what are the steps one should take to ensure that it defnitely does not happen?

I started drinking again after 6 months because I never really intended then to stop for good. This time I most certainly do.
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Old 04-26-2019, 10:59 PM
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Theres a really good thread on this exact topic somewhere - someone else may know where it is.

This is good reading too tho - https://www.soberrecovery.com/forums...ollection.html (Relapse Prevention Tool Box (Collection))

for me, anything that gets me thinking drinking or drugging is in anyway a good idea is a clear relapse warnign sign,

D
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Old 04-26-2019, 11:04 PM
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Originally Posted by Callas View Post
I was with AA about 3 years ago and stayed sober for 6 months. One guy at AA told me that one knows that one will relapse long before the actual relapse happens. I suppose he meant subconciously.

Is that so? If indeed so what are the warning signs to look out for and what are the steps one should take to ensure that it defnitely does not happen?

I started drinking again after 6 months because I never really intended then to stop for good. This time I most certainly do.
I think you answered your own question!
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Old 04-26-2019, 11:21 PM
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I think certainty is always folly.

I was very happy being sober and had no intention of picking up a glass when I relapsed. At all.
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Old 04-27-2019, 12:44 AM
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I believe the number one killer of sobriety is complacency.

Sobriety is not merely abstinence but building a better life where drinking isn't even a consideration. Personally speaking my recovery plan consists of short and long term holistic goals. Physical, mental, emotional, spiritual, and financial goals. Working towards my goals occupies my time in a positive and productive way so I'm not tempted to drink. Achieving my goals and creating a life better than I could imagine before is positive reinforcement to remain sober.

When one is complacent with recovery is when the mental gymnastics begins. That comes from being arrogant and thinking you've got it under control or being lazy and not wanting to put the work in.
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Old 04-27-2019, 01:45 AM
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The link below is kind of in line with what WTN said above.

Some of us don't go to recovery meetings....substitute less attention to whatever recovery method, plan or activity that you've been using for decreased meetings or not sharing. In my case it would be missed therapy sessions (I'm planning to do some serious mindfulness/meditation practices when I do eventually stop my psychotherapy).

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4553654/
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Old 04-27-2019, 05:24 AM
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In a meeting about 40 days ago (maybe more- time kinda flies in terms of weeks tho sometimes not days) that a relapse (often) starts 90 days before the actual drink. And most people see it (only) once they have that drink. Sidenote: being committed to sobriety is probably what people realize they truly weren't, from the post-relapse vantage point.

Like MM said, whatever your program is, extend that/replace the AA option with the same things: quit the little stuff (whether that's using SR, going to meetings and having a sponsor with whom you have an active, consistent relationship; your regular meditation or yoga; whatever); it builds on itself and self-perpetuates; gradually "forgetting" or letting yourself off the hook for essentially dry drunk behaviors and patterns; putting yourself in situations that make it more likely you drink (people, places, etc)....essentially, doing the opposite of:

I also heard someone I greatly respect describe what I seek very well (he's been sober 25+ yrs having quit in his 20s so he's a youngun yet). He has built layers of resources, internal and external to make it as unlikely as possible to ever drink again. AA, sponsor, spiritual work, his strong marriage at which both work on, golf, yoga, healthy habits, work he enjoys, I'm sure I forget some because it seemed he listed a good 10 layers....so that occasional passing thought that a scotch looks good, in an airport lounge somewhere, is brief and dismissed by his strong "program of living," so to speak.

I believe that, truly, taking a drink isn't a surprise. There's always one and probably more reasons it is (someone's) choice.
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Old 04-27-2019, 05:36 AM
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Couldn't find the thread but this is the meat of what I read from the work of Terence Gorski. Its one of the sources for MindfulMans link above.

The Phases and Warning Signs of Relapse by Terence Gorski

Relapse Warning Signs are progressive. Once they begin they cascade like a a row of falling dominos.

Below are the Phases and Warning Signs of Relapse that I originally developed from working with 117 chronic relapse done alcoholics in the mid-1970’s. These warning signs are available in a a pamphlet that can be easily carried in a shirt pocket or a purse.

Phase 1: Return Of Denial: During this phase the dependent person becomes unable to recognize and honestly tell others what he or she is thinking or feeling. The most common symptoms are:

Concern about well being.
Denial of the concern.

Phase 2: Avoidance And Defensive Behavior: During this phase the dependent person doesn’t want to think about anything that will cause painful and uncomfortable feelings to come back. As a result, he or she begins to avoid anything or anybody that will force an honest look at self. When asked direct questions about well-being, he or she begins to become defensive. The most common symptoms are:

Believing “I’ll never drink again.”
Worrying about others instead of self.
Defensiveness.
Compulsive behavior.
Impulsive behavior.
Tendencies toward loneliness.

Phase 3: Crisis Building: During this phase the dependent person begins experiencing a sequence of life problems that are caused by denying personal feelings, isolating self, and neglecting the recovery program. Even though he or she wants to solve these problems and work hard at it, two new problems pop up to replace every problem that is solved. The most common symptoms are:

Tunnel vision.
Minor depression.
Loss of constructive planning.
Plans begin to fail.

Phase 4: Immobilization: During this phase the dependent person is totally unable to initiate action. He or she goes through the motions of living, but is controlled by life rather than controlling life. The most common symptoms are:

1. Daydreaming and wishful thinking. 3. Feeling that nothing can be solved. 3. Immature wish to be happy.

Phase 5: Confusion And Overreaction: During this phase the dependent person can’t think clearly. He or she becomes upset with self and those around her or him and is irritable and overreacts to small things.

Periods of confusion.
Irritation with friends.
Easily angered.

Phase 6: Depression: during this phase the dependent person becomes so depressed that he or she has difficulty keeping to normal routines. At times there may be thoughts of suicide, drinking, or drug use as a way to end the depression. The depression is severe and persistent and cannot be easily ignored or hidden from others. The most common symptoms are:

Irregular eating habits.
Lack of desire to take action.
Irregular sleeping habits.
Loss of daily structure.
Periods of deep depression.

Phase 7: Behavioral Loss Of Control: During this phase the dependent person becomes unable to control or regulate personal behavior and daily schedule. There is still heavy denial and no full awareness of being out of control. His or her life becomes chaotic and many problems are created in all areas of life and recovery. The most common symptoms are:

Irregular attendance at AA and treatment meetings.
Development of an “I don’t care attitude.”
3. Open rejection of help.
Dissatisfaction with life.
Feeling of powerlessness and helplessness.

Phase 8: Recognition Of Loss Control: The dependent person’s denial breaks and suddenly he or she recognizes how severe the problems are, how unmanageable life has become, and how little power and control he or she has to solve any of the problems. This awareness is extremely painful and frightening. By this time he or she has become so isolated that it seems that there is no one to turn to for help. The most common symptoms are:

Self-pity.
Thoughts of social drinking.
Conscious lying.
Complete loss of self-confidence.

Phase 9: Option Reduction: During this phase the dependent person feels trapped by the pain and inability to manage his or her life. There seem to be only three ways out–insanity, suicide, or drug use. This person no longer believes that anyone or anything can help him. The most common symptoms are:

Unreasonable resentment.
Discontinues all treatment and AA.
Overwhelming loneliness, frustration, anger and tension.
Loss of behavioral control.

Phase 10: The Relapse Episode: During this phase the dependent person begins to use alcohol or drugs again, typically struggling to control or regain abstinence. This struggle leads to shame and guilt when the attempt ultimately fails. Eventually all control is gone and serious bio-psycho-social problems develop and continue to progress. The most common symptoms are:

Initial use (the lapse).
Shame and guilt.
Helplessness and hopelessness.
Complete loss of control.
Bio-psycho-social damage.

The list is available:
In a short pamphlet entitled: The Phases and Warning Signs of Relapse and
In the book Staying Sober – A Guide for Relapse Prevention by Terence Gorski
D
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Old 04-27-2019, 05:42 AM
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Thanks Dee. I need to look at this more based on some of those I see in myself.
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Old 04-27-2019, 10:00 AM
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Originally Posted by Callas View Post
I was with AA about 3 years ago and stayed sober for 6 months. One guy at AA told me that one knows that one will relapse long before the actual relapse happens. I suppose he meant subconciously.

Is that so? If indeed so what are the warning signs to look out for and what are the steps one should take to ensure that it defnitely does not happen?

I started drinking again after 6 months because I never really intended then to stop for good. This time I most certainly do.
In my opinion, people relapse for the same reasons they drink to excess in the first place. The real question is what emotion do you, "feel," right before you have that urge to take that drink, do a drug or engage in any compulsive behavior?

Addictions always serve an emotional purpose. When circumstances in life become overwhelming we have learned to regain control of our feelings with a quick fix or mood changer. This works because we escape the trap of feeling helpless.

The antidote is to empower ourselves, regain control of our emotions with a more healthy high value behavior. This might seem too simple but it works. What we really seek is control. We are biologically wired to be in control. People find that when they take direct healthy, high value action, the addictive urge almost always vanishes! This sounds like magic but it makes sense because having acted more directly, we no longer need a substitute behavior.
When your values trump your addiction, there is no addiction.
Mathew 11:28 "Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
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Old 04-27-2019, 03:45 PM
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The best relapse prevention is to commit, to yourself, that you will never drink again.
I mean a relapse is actually drinking again ,yeah? Planning to avoid or prevent a relapse is really just an out we give ourselves ,dressed in jargon , to engineer an excuse for some more booze.
Without lying to yourself, which I maintain is impossible, how could you ever expect to find some booze under your nose and entering your mouth via manipulating the muscles in wrist to tilt , unless you never intended to actually quit.
I learned about AVRT/RR and those ideas taught me how to live comfortably with residual desire . How to separate from the ďwant for a drinkĒ and simply not act on it, and how to plan to never act on it again.
Kind of a double edged sword, that mindset allowed me to end my addiction which was fantastic. And that mindset showed me how I canít accidentally or unintentionally just out of the blue relapse , I will forever have to purposefully put more booze in my mouth. And thatís ok, I donít drink , even if I ever wanted to again, all because of some irrational commitment I made to myself that I know can keep just because I decided to, like countless other people have and continue to do.
Learn about AVRT , there are great threads here on SR in the Secular Recovery forum, make a Big Plan and see how anything Iíve said is just your AV pushing back and calling bs.
Rootin for ya
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Old 04-27-2019, 04:08 PM
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Sorry missed the edit window.
Should say and see how if anything I said you disagree with , is really just your AV pushing back against and calling bs.
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Old 04-27-2019, 05:49 PM
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Originally Posted by dwtbd View Post
Sorry missed the edit window.
Should say and see how if anything I said you disagree with , is really just your AV pushing back against and calling bs.
I said something similar. When you stare at the AV and shine a bright light on it, it's a pathetic little thing. Although I didn't formally make a Big Plan, there was a point where a switch flipped when I realized that all of these problems I was facing in rehab would go away if I never drank again. There would be other problems, such is life, but problems related to addiction would simply go away.

So I decided that I would never drink or use addictive substances again. It gives me the space to look at the AV monster and see that it's just a wilted little twig if I don't give it any power. I did want a drink or even better a benzo when my dog died. The sadness was overwhelming. I wanted to just not feel anything. Rationally I knew that it would be a few hours of oblivion and then the feelings would return...along with having to go through getting sober all over again. I could rationally sit with the pain, and although it was horrible, it didn't destroy me. Crying was OK. Feeling sad was a human feeling that made me feel alive, like food or sex. I also used it to get back to some other old feelings of sadness that I was carrying around and masking with anger. I feel like a stronger and better person to admit my weakness and lack of control, and let true feelings wash over me.

Screw the AV. Screw cravings. They're nothing.

The longer I'm sober the easier it gets. I couldn't be so frank and forthright in the first 90 days, fo sho.

Just say no to the AV.
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