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    1. #1
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      NoSugar's Avatar

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      Relapse in Retrospect

      Hi

      It seems like it is fairly easy to find posts about getting free of alcohol and how to keep it going. But I'm wondering about what happens that leads to relapse. I see people coming to MWO after fairly to very long periods of sobriety but I don't know their back stories and don't really know where to find them in the MWO threads. Also, some people seem to come to MWO for the first time after they have relapsed.

      I think it would be interesting and helpful to read posts by people who have had this experience, and in retrospect, can identify what they did or did not do that resulted in the relapse. Also, how becoming sober again differed from the first time around would be of interest. I get the impression that it is harder but perhaps I've read a select group of posts.

      Anyway, if anyone is willing to share his or her story of losing their sobriety after say, 6 months (might as well make this all about me :H) as well as their journey back to an AF life, I would really appreciate it.

      Thanks! :h NS

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    3. #2
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      Relapse in Retrospect

      Molyka is so right... It gets harder to quit each time.

      And it gets easier to break that promise of "never again".

      I can't speak of a drinking relapse, because this has been my only quit. That is NOT because I have more determination or willpower. It is because I learned from such a hard lesson of relapsing with smoking.
      I relapsed after being smoke free for 2-3 years. It took me 8 long years to finally get the courage & determination to do it again. This quit had to stick because I knew I didn't have another one in me.
      This time I educated myself with what the mind & body go through in all the stages of withdrawal & recovery. I did a lot of soul searching into WHY I relapsed.
      One thing I discovered, is that I hadn't really quit for "me". I had relied too much on the praise I had been getting from family & friends. As time passed, the compliments got fewer & farther between. Somehow it seemed to me, if it didn't matter to anyone else... why should it matter to me? This faulty thinking is what started me down the road to relapse. Once the thoughts of my quit not mattering took over, then that opened the door to romantizing about smoking. Once we let that take hold, it's only a matter of time before we do the actual deed.

      I have learned how to be vigilant with my quits, to never take them for granted. Complacency in my opinion (or at least in my case) is the greatest danger for relapse. I have implemented ways of keeping my quits fresh & green.... this is extremely important to my success, even after years of abstinence.

      I learned the importance of keeping my promises. Each time we break a promise, we make it easier to break it again.
      When I made the promise to myself that I would never drink again, I knew that this had to be a total commitment; because like my smoking quit, I knew that this is the last one I have in me.

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    5. #3
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      I posted my relapse story a while back. Just do a search of my posts and have a read!

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      This thread is so helpful. I'm approaching eight months and now and again I think I could have a drink on special occasions but I know somewhere deep inside me if I do that its all over and I would be back to the lying and deception and I really don't want that in my life. The quit has caused a major rift between me and my closest friend which has truly saddened me, but her other closest friend is called AL so its become a bit of a triangle. Also, now I have got this far, I can really see a lot of improvements, my skin is better, I sleep really well and I am no longer stressed.

      Molly is 100% right because like her, once I'd decided that was it. No negotiation on any terms. It is so very easy to find a reason not to do something, its far harder at first to find a reason to stick with it. There will always be a birthday, a special celebration, somebody's wedding or whatever and I think while ever you think in those terms then you should consider beginning on a day without a "y" in it. I've tried to turn that analogy round and tell my drinking friends I'll have a drink on Feb 30th, in other words never, I've managed to stop once, I don't know if I have it in me to do so again so won't take that risk for anybody or anything.

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    8. #5
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      nicelife;1536585 wrote: I posted my relapse story a while back. Just do a search of my posts and have a read!
      Your post is such a clear and detailed description of what happened (http://www.mywayout.org/community/f9...ber-62294.html).

      I read through the responses - you've helped so many people with your honest account.

      I think I read it a few months ago but wasn't ready to hear what you were saying - now I am.
      Thank you. :h NS

    9. #6
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      NS....thanks or starting this thread. I have been very curious about this as well.

    10. #7
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      I just went back and read the post by Nicelife and all I can say is wow....very powerful and worth reading. Thank you so much for posting your experience. I am sure I will read it many more times

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      Here's my post in case you're slightly interested..

      Recently, when I reached my 180 days AF mark, after 6 years sober and a relapse, a few people asked me to comment on why the relapse happened. I tried three times to respond but something happened each time then life took over. So, I?m finally posting my thoughts on why I decided to take that first deadly sip after such a ?nice life? of being sober for all those years.

      The thoughts started creeping in when I became involved with people who were not in my usual circle of friends. All lovely new people in my life but it seems people are instantly intrigued when you say you don?t drink ? ever! I usually feel very proud (on the inside) when I say I don?t drink so I don?t think it was something that consciously disturbed me. The comment that really got me thinking about being a social drinker and the wonder of whether I could manage AL came during the festivities of Christmas 2010. I was at a house party and when I declined the offer of a glass of wine (my fav thing to guzzle) the woman offering was quite surprised and said ?Oh, you never drink -ever? That?s weird ? we are all highly functioning alcoholics here!!! I?ve never met anyone who doesn?t drink at all!!!? Everyone had a bit of a chuckle and I never gave it much considered thought at the time. We spent the night laughing, listening to music we all could tell stories about, playing card games, generally having a good time. I drove home and suffered a stomach bug during the night but thought about how ?well? I was feeling the next morning compared to how everyone else would have felt. My partner asked later if I felt embarrassed about the situation re me being a non-drinker and that also surprised me. I said I wasn?t embarrassed but asked if he was. He said it was a bit weird because it was the first time this group of his friends had met me and they were surprised he was with someone who didn?t drink. They joked about him having a permanent designated driver! Anyway, we had a laugh about it at the time but it did get me thinking. During this evening I?m referring to, the group shared favorite wines and it was all quite civilized. It wasn?t like a night on the tiles that I had ever ?enjoyed?. When I drank it was usually done alone, to the point of destruction and had disastrous consequences - I?d drink until I fell down ? every time! My life was hard, both financially and emotionally and alcohol just fueled the situation/s I was in and made things monumentally harder!!

      Since my sobriety my life had completely changed. I?ve always been a pretty strong person, but getting sober just enhanced my ability to achieve and I doubt I would be where I am now without eliminating AL from my life. During my 6 years of being sober I handled really stressful situations that all of us deal with without even thinking of picking up a glass full of booze ? not once!! I guess when the thoughts of prancing around with a glass of bubbles/chardonnay in my hand and being sophisticated and functional started to creep in I thought that I could handle it in my new form. The sober me was much more in control, so very wise about how AL works and I am a much stronger person, more capable! I truly thought I would be able to just have a glass here and there, share a bottle with my partner, have a cold beer on a hot day, order and gin and tonic on my special beach side restaurant to enjoy before the freezing cold bottle of Chablis arrived. I wondered what it would be like to be a normal drinker. Take it or leave it kind of person. Someone who could go weeks without even thinking of a drink, or be able to buy a bottle of wine and savor the experience. To be able to stop after a couple of glasses and truly say I?d had enough ? any more and I?d lose the experience. Mmmmm ? the fantasy grew and I embraced the filtering thoughts of the fantasy firmly! I was as smug as they come, as arrogant as could be. I was a completely new me and I would control IT, not the other way around! I used to dream that I had broken my sobriety and when I woke I?d be devastated, and it?s a pity I didn?t feel that when I took the very first sip in real life. It was SO anticlimatic. It tasted revolting, I could feel it in my blood and I felt my body actually reacting badly to it. The next day I wasn?t hungover, but I wondered what the sensation I was experiencing during exercise was and realized it was the impact of the alcohol. It was NO time at all before I was wrestling with the thoughts of whether I should drink on a certain day or not. I started to make excuses about why I could drink and I stopped doing other things so that I could. I started to isolate myself and I felt physically horrible in a very short space of time. I hated who I was when I drank, I had more memory loss of the night before than I ever experienced and it took a LOT to actually get me to the point where I felt I had enough ? which usually meant I was dead drunk. I was back at 3 bottles of wine a night in a matter of weeks! Not very sophisticated and it was exhausting! And, I wasn?t very functional I must say. I would have to hide bottles so that it appeared like I was only drinking smaller amounts but the truth was I had a wardrobe full of wine and I would drink it warm in between my ?allowable? amount. I?d sneak into the spare bedroom, slide into the wardrobe and gulp as much as I could stomach then listen carefully for any noise then once the coast was clear I?d slide right on out! I would buy wine on the way home and drink a bottle in the park under some trees. Once I had to sit through a huge thunder/rain storm because I wasn?t missing out on my fix before I could start ?legally? at home! What a story I told about getting home dripping wet. It was harder and harder to do my job, juggle the people I love so that they weren?t suspicious of my absence, or the usual shit awful things you have to do to be a content drunk!!! The hardest thing though, was looking in the mirror???..

      I tried to stop again a hundred times! I?d buy wine on the way home only to pour it in the drain outside my home. I?d get a few days AF under my belt and then talk myself into celebrating the fact! I ordered all the supps from MWO, I bought every book mentioned AGAIN and re-read anything I could get my hands on but I still battled. It was such a scary time. It was far worse than my first quit. I was truly terrified. Then, one night I got so rotten drunk I vomited in the bed, I peed my pants, I couldn?t even speak. How very sophisticated and functional huh??? All this in front of my partner who had no clue what my drunken life was before I met him. He looked after me and didn?t really think much of it and the next day we had an outing with his work so he had to go alone. He had no clue what I had been drinking during the night ? anything I could get my hands on. I was sooooo drunk. When I finally told about how I came to be so drunk he was really surprised that I could manage to do what I did without him even noticing. I experienced THE worst hangover I?ve ever had. I?m sure I had seizures and I couldn?t ask for help because none of my family knew I?d been drinking again. I kept getting violent jolts down my left side and massive pins and needles from my scalp down to my legs. I got through the day, how I don?t know - it was just so scary.

      Anyway, that was 208 days ago. I had already been lurking on the boards and posting a little. I saw Nelz clocking up AF time and I soooo wanted to be him. The longest I was able to go AF before this episode was 7 days. I focused on what Nelz was saying, knowing it was a truth I had already lived and used him as a new inspiration. No cookie monster, dare devil motor bike guy was gonna beat me at this game!!!

      I said to someone who does know about my relapse the other day that I?m glad that my life before my first quit was so bad! I?m glad because I know I never ever want to go back there. I?m also really glad that my relapse happened. It was relatively short lived and it left me with no doubt about whether I can manage AL any better than I did the first time around. Drinking for me isn?t an option and my relapse was caused by lack of judgment/knowledge/experience. I was arrogant and cocky!! Kind of like if I knew then what I know now. The fantasy of alcohol caught me off guard. The fact that I felt so different, so strong, so much more wise about AL, so much more capable was also part of it. I felt I could control it and not the other way around. What I know now for sure is that alcohol takes away all of my inner strength, my ability to be capable, the solidness and comfort of being totally, truly who I am. Alcohol and I just don?t get on. I know it now ? both intellectually and emotionally. I know NOW what I NEEDED to know THEN. Never again will I wonder or fantasize about AL ? EVER. And, I?m glad about that. And, I?m proud to say I don?t ever drink !!!

      That?s my story of why/how I relapsed and the tale about how I dragged my saggy arse back to where I belong. On Planet Sober, with a brand new enlightened respect for the AL beast.

      I owe a lot to those who care for us all here! I try to give a little in return, although I never feel it is enough......

      Nicey :h

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    13. #9
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      My relapse

      Hello-
      I first joined here in 2006 after blowing five years of sobriety. I have struggled ever since to stop drinking again. I wish to God I never, ever would have started again.
      My reason for relapsing? I did not deal with anything during the time I did not drink. I did not deal with my crappy marriage, depression or anxiety. I started having full blown panic attacks and after five years without alcohol, I made the stupid decision to "calm" myself down with a drink. That is how it started-a glass or two of wine. No big deal right? I didn't drink for five years...I must be cured. Anyone reading this can guess where that thinking led me-right back into the abyss.
      My husband told me for years that all of our problems were because I drank and I guess I thought giving up alcohol was going to solve everything in my life. Wrong, wrong, wrong! I think there is a big difference between not drinking and actually becoming sober. Sobriety takes major work. I failed to do the work.
      Yes, giving up alcohol is a major accomplishment in itself. But, (at least for me) the major repair work comes after the liquor has left the building. Had I put time and effort into actually becoming sober, I think my quit would have stuck.
      I am now looking back at seven (drunk) years wondering what the hell happened to me.
      Please do whatever it takes to keep your sobriety. Read, research, post, seek therapy, use supplements, take medication-whatever it takes.
      Good luck to everyone on their alcohol free journeys.

      JackieM

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    15. #10
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      My relapse

      Hello-
      I first joined here in 2006 after blowing five years of sobriety. I have struggled ever since to stop drinking again. I wish to God I never, ever would have started again.
      My reason for relapsing? I did not deal with anything during the time I did not drink. I did not deal with my crappy marriage, depression or anxiety. I started having full blown panic attacks and after five years without alcohol, I made the stupid decision to "calm" myself down with a drink. That is how it started-a glass or two of wine. No big deal right? I didn't drink for five years...I must be cured. Anyone reading this can guess where that thinking led me-right back into the abyss.
      My husband told me for years that all of our problems were because I drank and I guess I thought giving up alcohol was going to solve everything in my life. Wrong, wrong, wrong! I think there is a big difference between not drinking and actually becoming sober. Sobriety takes major work. I failed to do the work.
      Yes, giving up alcohol is a major accomplishment in itself. But, (at least for me) the major repair work comes after the liquor has left the building. Had I put time and effort into actually becoming sober, I think my quit would have stuck.
      I am now looking back at seven (drunk) years wondering what the hell happened to me.
      Please do whatever it takes to keep your sobriety. Read, research, post, seek therapy, use supplements, take medication-whatever it takes.
      Good luck to everyone on their alcohol free journeys.

      JackieM

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