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What's a relapse?

Old 06-11-2009, 08:52 PM
  # 41 (permalink)  
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Sorry I haven't replied much. I'm still out of town and having a great time but had a few minutes to check in on my thread. I thought the comment above about pot being a gateway drug was funny because I started on meth and about 4 months later finally had pot for the first time.

I find that I have trouble just dabbling in drugs and alcohol. I can have a drink or two and be ok, but more often than not having a couple drinks means having a couple more and buying some dope.

I guess I should come clean here. Last Friday night I went out and did exactly what I described above. I had a couple beers, had a couple more, and bought some dope. Maybe in a different place, where dope was unavailable I would be ok, but I once I started drinking I started wanting dope. And when the opportunity walked through the door...

I'm really disappointed in myself. I never want dope until I'm drunk. And my "relapses" or "bad nights" or "slip-ups" or whatever you want to call them seem to happen right around 6 to 8 weeks c/s. Somehow I feel it helps me to realize this pattern, maybe it'll help me be ready for it in 6 to 8 weeks and head it off next time.

And, a friendly note, Overman: I appreciate your comments and see your point. I'm not a 12-stepper either. But 12-step programs work for a lot of people, so they aren't necesarily "nonsense." I say whatever works, that's what you should do. But this really isn't the forum for discussions about 12-step programs. Thanks.
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Old 06-12-2009, 03:22 AM
  # 42 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by AfricanDaisy View Post
To me a relapse would be to take the pain pills deliberately to make me feel good instead of to exclusively aleviate the physical pain.
Same here. The key is to keep my mindset in recovery. For those of us who need pain pills to deal with pain, it is a bit harder but we can and do recover.

Originally Posted by uglyeyes View Post
Many sober people use prescribed narcs. slippery slippery
As my primary care doctor, who now also works in addiction medicine, says: the pain can be the trigger to make you want to use if you don't treat it immediately. After many years experience firsthand, I agree with his new outlook! The slippery slope is when I DON'T treat the pain with appropriate narcs.
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Old 06-12-2009, 06:06 AM
  # 43 (permalink)  
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Taking the Quote out of context makes it look like I don't believe in prescriptions! I really believe for some of us, it is enough/imperative that we know ourselves well enough to self regulate (my story today), and for others (maybe most) it seems imperative to follow a program rigidly out of the woods and into the light.

What ever it takes!



Wow that is really scary gneiss. Alcohol is totally my gateway to bad behavior, which is why I can't drink.
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Old 06-21-2009, 04:05 PM
  # 44 (permalink)  
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Call it a lapse, call it a relapse, call it a slip, a one-off, or a fluke.

Whatever you call it, my 263 days of sobriety came to an end last night. Yes, it was planned. Yes, it was a conscious choice I made. Yes, I knew full well what I was doing. Yes, I started "planning" it out several days ago.

What I DIDN'T plan on was how incredibly VILE I would be to my husband, who wasn't even here. He was 700 miles away and I still managed to treat him like utter and complete sh&t. Actually, worse than that.

263 days, and I'm back at Day 1.

That's a relapse.
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Old 06-21-2009, 04:49 PM
  # 45 (permalink)  
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I do think that pot is often a gateway drug, but that has much less to do with the pot than it does with the fact that it is illegal. Because it is illegal the chances of being exposed to other illegal "harder" drugs is much more likely than if it were legal.

Case in point was the situation gneiss brought up. If they were just in the bar drinking legal beer, it is highly unlikely someone would have whipped out a meth pipe and sparked it up. Instead they were already doing something illegal, smoking pot, so it was a much easier step to break out the meth.

This is why, and bear in mind pot is my DOC and has caused major wreckage in my life, I support the legalization of pot. I'm not in any way suggesting that people smoke it. I CLEARLY can not smoke it. But the damage done to people's life, like overman's cousin are now a burden on our criminal justice system for something that, in my mind at least, really wasn't that big a deal.

I know this is a bit off topic from the OP, but it always gets my blood boiling!!

As far as what a relapse is...I agree, it happens well before that first drug or drink is taken, at least for me. The drink or drug is the last stage of what I would consider a relapse. I personally think too much is made of the term. Like someone else said, you are either in or out. No one "accidently" (let's be really honest here, if you're an alcoholic, you're damm sure gonna smell the booze in the punch!!) takes a drink or uses a drug. It is a conscience choice we make. I think in many recovery programs, such a big deal is made out of it that the guilt of "comitting" a relapse actually encourages people to continue to drink and drug because they think WTF, I just blew all my "clean" time.

I always list my "clean date" as TODAY. To me, at least, it is the only day that matters. Yesterday is the past and who knows what will happen tomorrow.
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Old 06-21-2009, 05:00 PM
  # 46 (permalink)  
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I'm having a hard time right now with the "sober date" and "clean time" thing. On the one hand, I drank last night... so today is my first day sober, Day 1, pretty straightforward. On the other hand, those almost-9 months don't just DISAPPEAR now. I didn't somehow find a way to go back in time and make all those days un-sober days.

Yes, I took a step back. Yes, I just pretty much ruined the trust I had managed to build back up with my husband. But did I just negate 9 months of sobriety?

This has been building up for some time now and I know that. The fact that I drank alcohol is just the icing on the cake... I haven't been WELL in a while (and I could have told you that).

It doesn't seem fair to think I have to start completely over. It makes it feel harder than it already is. I think it's more fair to say out of the past 9 months, I've only had a drink on one day.
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Old 06-21-2009, 06:33 PM
  # 47 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by Gypsy Feet View Post
Taking the Quote out of context makes it look like I don't believe in prescriptions! I really believe for some of us, it is enough/imperative that we know ourselves well enough to self regulate (my story today), and for others (maybe most) it seems imperative to follow a program rigidly out of the woods and into the light.

What ever it takes!
Thanks for the clarification. As a chronic pain patient I can get defensive when I think someone says you can't take prescriptions as needed. So sorry for misunderstanding.

Originally Posted by tyler View Post
I do think that pot is often a gateway drug, but that has much less to do with the pot than it does with the fact that it is illegal. Because it is illegal the chances of being exposed to other illegal "harder" drugs is much more likely than if it were legal.

Case in point was the situation gneiss brought up. If they were just in the bar drinking legal beer, it is highly unlikely someone would have whipped out a meth pipe and sparked it up. Instead they were already doing something illegal, smoking pot, so it was a much easier step to break out the meth.

This is why, and bear in mind pot is my DOC and has caused major wreckage in my life, I support the legalization of pot. I'm not in any way suggesting that people smoke it. I CLEARLY can not smoke it. But the damage done to people's life, like overman's cousin are now a burden on our criminal justice system for something that, in my mind at least, really wasn't that big a deal.
I agree with your reasons why pot is a gateway drug. I know that illegal drug use has gone down in my city since our LE has chosen to respect the state's laws on marijuana dispensaries.

My whole experience seeing pot legalized here has been interesting.
When pot first became legal, there was an upsurge in those who used it. There were a lot of folks who started playing with it now that they "could". Over time, the novelty has worn off. The majority of those abusing Medical Marijuana cards have gone back to alcohol or even just stopped abusing drugs completely. Most of them were "after dinner" smokers anyway. I haven't seen an upsurge of abusers at all.

I live a few blocks from a dispensary. At first, I saw a lot of new foot traffic I didn't like. Folks dealing in the back parking lot there etc. Now that a year has passed ninety plus percent of the people going in are ill, and it seems like any other store on the block.
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Old 06-21-2009, 09:25 PM
  # 48 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by otterbearcat View Post
I drank for relief, Im having a really stressful time, and after 3 days of letting myself get depressed, it was really too late for something healthy.
@otterbearcat
I relate to you in that I too had a relapse/slip about 5 weeks in. I drank for one night. I did not change my sober date but still consider it a relapse. However, because my emotional work solidly started on September 26, 2008 that is where my sober date will stay. The reason that I am writing to you though is that when I read that one line it made it sound like you shouldn't have been feeling depressed. That if you had been being "good" in recovery you would have got yourself back to feeling good so you wouldn't have had to medicate with booze. If I can give you a piece of advice it is that depression happens, depressive days happen, especially in early sobriety, and the reality is that trying to shift away from those feelings quickly is a lot the addict in us. I think that a skill we really have to learn is tolerating feeling bad sober. Once we learn that recovery gets so much easier. Easier said than done. But I just don't want you to feel like you aren't supposed to or allowed to feel depressed in recovery because it will happen again. Hopefully, actually certainly the next time you will be able to bear it longer and get through it sober. Good luck.




I think relapse is completely subjective. It is a decision that each person should make for themselves. Recovery and sober time is certainly not a competition.

I think there are slippery things. I think I can easily take a medicine that is prescribed for me that I do not need. I could easily get prescribed a narcotic for actual pain (such as my cramps which are extremely severe due to endometriosis) but do I really need them? No, I personally do not. So I would be taking it within the prescribed use, but would I be being completely honest with myself about being "sober"? I have benzos to be taken as needed. I never take them, if I started taking them tomorrow it might be suspect. I smoked some pot early on in my recovery because frankly I don't like pot and I am not scared of getting addicted. I smoked it because I hadn't really thought about sobriety beyond alcohol. Now that I have reevaluated my recovery and feel different, I definitely would not smoke pot. I could see that changing later; maybe someday I would take a little hit. But there are other ways to escapeó I watch a lot of television. I sometimes eat a lot of ice cream. Last week when I was feeling crappy, I found myself taking naps to escape. Where does one draw a line? Do I have to be completely present in my life at all times? The answer is no. I am not perfect. I think people that set up rules and try to adhere to them rigidly become less concerned with their actual recovery and more concerned with adhering to some sort of ideal. For me recovery has been about rejecting the ideal and accepting myself as I am.
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Old 06-21-2009, 10:39 PM
  # 49 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by tyler View Post
Case in point was the situation gneiss brought up. If they were just in the bar drinking legal beer, it is highly unlikely someone would have whipped out a meth pipe and sparked it up. Instead they were already doing something illegal, smoking pot, so it was a much easier step to break out the meth.
...
I think in many recovery programs, such a big deal is made out of it that the guilt of "comitting" a relapse actually encourages people to continue to drink and drug because they think WTF, I just blew all my "clean" time.
Just to clarify, it started out with drinking legal beer in a stupid little redneck bar. We had our meth delivered. We did smoke a little pot but it was basically while we were waiting for the meth to arrive. The joint was forgotten once the meth pipe was going around. I struggled with the smoking pot thing at first-- and still a bit-- because it seemed like if I was going to get sober I should do the thing properly and get away from all illicit drugs because it's not just getting off meth and alcohol but changing my life around, not leaving myself open to the legal issues and heartache involved with being a junkie, and getting away from escaping reality. But then at the same time I'm not addicted to pot, I'm hooked on meth and alcohol.

Originally Posted by TryingSoHard View Post
I'm having a hard time right now with the "sober date" and "clean time" thing. On the one hand, I drank last night... so today is my first day sober, Day 1, pretty straightforward. On the other hand, those almost-9 months don't just DISAPPEAR now. I didn't somehow find a way to go back in time and make all those days un-sober days.
...
It doesn't seem fair to think I have to start completely over. It makes it feel harder than it already is. I think it's more fair to say out of the past 9 months, I've only had a drink on one day.
I hate counting days. It makes the time pass so much slower. I think a lot of people think of it as motivational: "Wow! 60 days sober is fantastic!" And it is. But it goes the opposite way for me: "Wow! 60 days sober! It's only been 60 days? Dear Gawd it's been a long time since I had a drink. Maybe one wouldn't hurt..." It makes me focus on how long it's been, how much I want to drink/use.

It's kind of like when I'm on a diet if I have a cookie I figure I screwed it up and might as well have another. "In for a penny, in for a pound!" It happens at the bar too: "I didn't mean to have a beer, why did I let that person buy me a round? Hell, I was on 53 days. What's wrong with me? Well [email protected] I have to start my time over anyway so I might as well tie one on, make it worth my while. And... dude, was that [meth dealer]? I'm not sober so I can't be 'c&s' anymore. Let's see if I can get $100 worth of dope..."

I'm learning that it's better for me to have the attitude that I've been off drugs and alcohol basically since January but had a few times where I made a mistake. That way I seem less likely to go overboard when I do have a drink. I can think, "Well, I probably shouldn't have had that beer since alcohol does things to me I don't like. But hell, everyone has their moments. I should go home before something really bad happens and I can't quit drinking." For me this is a much healthier mindset.
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Old 06-22-2009, 07:18 AM
  # 50 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by Dee74 View Post

I do believe that to recover I need to abstain from any substance that will bring back that cosy feeling of avoiding reality -

D
A shrink, Canadian, told me that the desire to feel an altered state is natural - and that's why little kids spin around in circles until they fall down. My days of spinning in circles or visiting amusement parks are past (I left my last Six-Flags visit with nothing more than a great desire to abuse other people's children.) She said that I was going to have find another way to fulfill that desire.

I've been pittling on and off with a novel, and sometimes that really is an absolute escape into another reality (one where I'm young and pretty and brave and have magical powers - lol). Sometimes kayaking or gardening or being focused on some household project can be zen-like, but not escapist. I do think figuring that out is going to be a part of recovery.
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