Magazine

From the November 2012 magazine.

November 2012: The Dry Years

After a relapse on pain meds, an alcoholic comes out of the desert

Many peoplesober in AA don’t want to talk about relapse. I never cared to talk about it because, after all, I hadn’t relapsed, unless you call that brush with cough medicine at three months sober a relapse (I did change my sobriety date). I especially didn’t want the topic to come up if newcomers were in the room. I never wanted to give the impression that relapse had to be a part of recovery. I was taught early on that I didn’t have to worry about relapse if I was doing what the AA program required. The word was seldom used or discussed in our home group unless some poor unsuspecting newcomer brought up the topic. He/she was soon set straight: “Just do the work, relapse is for slackers.” That was the message relayed over and over again, and often I was the one doing the relaying.

There was only one promise made to me when I came into AA, and that was I never had to drink again if I didn’t want to. All I had to do was change my whole life! I did that. I went to meetings, got a sponsor, worked the Steps, found a God of my understanding, got honest, cleaned house, worked with
others, shared, and, most of all, I didn’t drink.

-- Sally H.

Tucson, Arizona

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