This month's issue focuses on stories of relapse. Have you experienced relapse as part of your recovery?

Yes, I have relapsed once.
16% (202 votes)
Yes, I have relapsed more than once.
33% (423 votes)
No, I have not relapsed.
52% (671 votes)
Total votes: 1296

relapse

Feel like a dud. Had decent Lt sobriety, last year gas been series of short, non-craving creating relapses. Just a one day escape. Truely, I can't handle the innate guilt this creates, because of this dry date stuff, and those whose relapses gave been much worse, casting the same light. These have been short infrequent episodes, compared to the the relentless around the clock drinker I left behind back in '07. Thoughts?

anon.

my worst...

I was only sober for 3 weeks. Not as long as most of the people talking on here. I have been drinking heavily since I was 14. I am now 24. On my third week I relapsed and drank for several days in a row. The final day was a work event. At the end of the event the company provides wine and beer and everyone parties.I remember talking to everyone having a couple beers a couple glasses of wine and the next thing I remember is 3 of my coworkers yelling and I was screaming at them to leave me alone. To quit following me. It was a nightmare. I don't know who saw me acting this way or What was said that made me so angry.I think they just pleaded for me to not drive my car.I remember only patches of time. In which i only remember truly awful things leaving my mouth. I was in a completely insane psychotic meltdown. I'm told we all consumed champagne but I don't remember. The next day I went to work and nobody in my direct department seemed to know what happened. But I know that one of my closest friends was there and I said some deeply regrettable things to him. I have been avoiding him unable to face him even to apologize. No one I work with knows that I was supposed to have quit. I always prided myself on maintaining face at work. My reputation and my job in general was and is at risk. If he decided to tell my boss I am sure that I could lose my job for my behavior. I am having a hard time coping. I think that this is the moment that I really with out doubt knew that my drinking was completely out of control. I think I was still able to deny and ignore it until this point. Though these situations had happened before this was by far the worst. I am now officially on my second first day of sobriety. I can already feel withdrawal symptoms creeping up and I hope for continued support from my loved ones. I am wondering if any one has any advice to help me through these rough few days and maintaining a sober healthy lifestyle.

I want to

I will have three years sober in a few days. I am so thirsty for alcohol! I want to drink but it is 3 am. Why do I want it so bad? I want to die.

What to do?

Someone please explain to me what you have to do whwn you rekapse? Do I return the coins? Do I tell them?

Do I give back my chip when I relaspe

No, you do not have to give back your chip. Don't worry about it, just go to a meeting and reestablish your sobriety date by getting another desire chip. The program is in the working of the steps and going to meetings. No worries! We want you to come back and are happy you did. Do not let the disease win!

Relapse

Do not worry about the coins! Just go back to a meeting and get another desire chip. Next time you want to drink, get to a meeting, call your sponsor, call a AA friend, do something fast when you see the red flag!

The TRUTH about AA.

A.A. is not a cure for "alcoholism". I don't use the word alcoholic because there is no such thing! Alcohol abuse and consumption is a behavior NOT a disease. Calling alcohol abuse a disease is equivalent to saying a Thief has a disease. The thief can choose not to steal but they continue the behavior over & over, with continued risks. Another well known truth is that many A.A.'s will never divulge their relapse(s). I believe this is largely due to the potential consequences which range from: suddenly being required to do 90 meetings in 90 days, sudden intense pressure in further servitude, meetings twice on 'suggested' days, morning and night, losing all of your previously praised sobriety date, coins, awards, recognition, etc... You may even lose your sponsor! So there it is in a nutshell. MOST people are wise and get right back on the horse. STOP drinking immediately now! Rehabilitate yourself for 3 days or more, attend your usual meetings and LIE! Sadly, secular organizations have not spread to enough areas yet. In a science method environment relapse and how to prevent it would be covered.

Confused

If you don't know what your talking about then stop, the information your spreading will kill people. You sound resentful, are you a new comer? You seem smart but most alcoholics are, that's the problem.

Keep coming back...

Keep coming back...

Alcohol abuse vs Alcholism

A person that abuses alcohol may not be an alcoholic. There are several test out in the scientific community that will help a person ascertain if they have the disease. It is a disease and it has been an accepted fact since the mid 1950's. There has been a lot of contemporary research that shows the difference in the brain of the alcoholic and the normal drinker. The only requirement for AA membership is the desire to stop drinking. The 90 in 90 is only a suggestion. I have never heard about meeting twice on any "suggested" day and again we are free to work the program how we want. I never gave back a desire chip or monthly chip, again this is not part of the program. I lost a sponsor once after 5 years sobriety. It was very painful. We are not required to sponsor anyone and they are only supposed to be sharing their experience, strength and hope with you. This is a spiritual program not religious. The path to sobriety is through the 12 steps. There is a program called smart recovery. If AA is not working for you try their online meetings.

relaspe

every alcoholic has relapsed. some just did it before they got their first white chip. if it is easy to stop, then you may not be alcoholic.

relapse change sobriety date

I have not had a drink for 23 years, but 2 years ago I was in China and had an experience that has been on my mind. I was there with my girlfriend who is not an alcoholic or addict. We were out with her friends and they were asking her if we wanted to try some medicine that would enhance our sex life. I was curious, but when they took out a pipe I became fearful. I immediately left to another room and prayed for help. She said it was just medicine. I was curious and trusted her but inside thought I was not being to smart when I inhaled the smoke. I wondered if it would affect my mood. It did not have any affect on my mood or libido, but I was awake and could not sleep for the next 48 hrs. When I returned home I shared the experience with my sponsor, but did not share the details of how I ingested it. He said that if I was not intending to get high and that I was not intending to try it again then there was no reason to worry about changing my sobriety date. However I feel I should disclose this to my group. I recently separated from the love of my life because she was on a different spiritual path than i and a friend whom had over 25 years of sobriety took his life. I am not sure if I am being selfish or acting out of fear.I feel out of touch with my higher power and suffering a lack of trust in my sponsor. Help!

talk to your sponsor

Try talking to your sponsor again!

Relapse

I have relapsed so many times it is scary....and yet I hate the thought with all my heart and soul.I have hurt so may people, and my life has become almost meaningless..just my children keep me going and they hate me for drinking. Where does the solution lie? I have been sober for almost a year and yet I find that the stressors in this world, that don't phase most people, get to me.I want to be normal, and live with faith and love, and yet I somehow don't get it. What can I do? I am ready to just give up.And yet I know that I must fight on

I can relate

I just relapsed two days ago with 5 months. That has been the longest I've ever gone. I think for me, relapse starts with fear, doubt, responsibilities, pain, ect. I have actually been getting over a self hatred I have for myself. I'm not pretty enough, thin enough, funny enough, I'm annoying, I sound unintelligent, I don't talk enough, you know, it's all selfish things. Who ever told me to be perfect? No one is capable of perfection. Ok so I believe my higher power is God,Jesus Christ, but if you are uncomfortable with those terms we will use higher power. For me, God created everything. If he created absolutely everything in the universe do you think he made a mistake on you? Of course not! We are all unique in ways he can use us to help others! So in every single situation I face I ask if this is selfish. Us as addicts are extremely selfish. We want the best and we want it now. Be patient. Relax. I believe that since God is such a great power, he's already got our lives planned out. Nothing we experience is an accident. Do you think the greatest power in the universe would make one mistake? And believing in that is the faith we must have to survive this disease. God uses every experience you face to help someone with the same bad experience and show his greatness to the world. Yes, God will do great things for others through you if you ask, believe, and are patient. If you have never prayed say God I've never done this but I need help. There is your first prayer. You can say to God whatever you want whenever you want. Just trust him. That's all there is to that. It's so simple! You can do it! The other part of my relapsing is that I don't do the step work and I'm not completely honest with myself. Why lie to yourself? God knows the truth and the truth will make you feel so free. Don't hold grudges and forgive. Stop being selfish, help others when ever possible, get a sponsor that you can be 100% honest with. They've heard or done everything you will have to say. Why lie? Do you really need their approval? Their opinions are just their opinions. You won't die and I'm sure they will forget or have a relate able situation. Start reading the big book, go to meetings and help struggling addicts with the knowledge and experience you have. Live one step at a time, don't worry yourself to death and just do the right next thing. If that thing is questionable and you would hide it from anyone, it's wrong! Good luck you can do it. Always talk about your feelings, issues, problems with anybody even your dog so they can be released and be good to others. You got this! Stay sober!

I understand you

So much but you are so special!

drinking

Please don't give you! Hi my name's Savannah and its 5/18/14 but my mom was an abusive alcoholic:/ and after a year of recovery we started seeing her again it was the best feeling in the world to know I have a mom.but unfortunately this whole week she's been lying and my sis and I found out.the stress got to her:/..I want you to know it is possible to be sober!their is a way!!but you have to want to do it for you!!! Yes it's hard taking it day by day I know!! But you can do it I have faith in you your story cought my eye for a reason and many things you can do is try doing other things when you crave it eat gum or a jolly rancher go on a run its what my mom used to do but she stopped:/and the one thing my mom said before she relapsed is..it's nice to be able to remember everything and be their for my kids its the best feeling in the world so good luck!

relapse

Yes, I'm right now waiting not so patiently for an hour to pass so I can go buy some booze. I'm miserable but unable to even find the will to live. Up to a liter of vodka per day for several weeks now and am over 50 so I'm aware and very much feeling the physical effects. Had 8 yrs. sober back in the 90's---seems like just a dream now. It is what it is--t'was the first drink that got me.

relaspe

Oh how i wish it was just alcohol.... sigh....

more than alcohol....

I just relapsed on purpose (I had a plan and set it in motion)....I was holding and had over an hour to call my sponsor. I decided not to pick up the phone because I didn't want to hear the words "Flush it"...Now I am sitting here after sneaking around on my own property (3 acres partial wooded) to do what I wanted to in private, feeling "Good" but good is never enough for us alcoholics and addicts just the drugs and alcohol talking. I am struggling with the feeling of being a failure. I know I can't live a life like this but also don't know what to do.

I don't want hugs and to be told everything is going to be alright. What I did was wrong for myself and my family. I joined a program for help and threw it to the wayside tonight. It's not the drinking and drugging that caused this. This action was premeditated and collaborated between me and myself while I was sober.

Mikey D. alcoholic & addict

Honesty

To Mikey D.

I almost wanted to cry reading your post. I respect your brutal honesty so much! My husband relapses often and in many cases I believe it is planned when he's sober. He never admits it. It makes me so sad. So, I have a lot of respect for your brutal honesty.

relapse

I relapsed last night and still have not been to sleep. I feel so guilty and have no one to talk to about it, my kids wouldn't understand and their dad isn't at all supportive. The worst part is I can't stop thinking about how I missed it. Now I have marks on my arm and that to keeps me thinking about it. I've been doing my school work. I'm going to community college so I've thrown myself into that most of the day. This is so lonely. One minute at a time right?

response

I understand the feeling. I relapsed a month ago after 18 months sober. I had one drink and it felt so euphoric that I have chased that feeling ever since. Loneliness ensues pretty quick. I have a 6 yr old and 4 yr old and feel the same guilt. Your post has helped me so much realizing that I and you are not alone. AA or NA will welcome us back despite our own feelings. It is our choice. It is hard to put our feelings on the table, but it is to the point we must and thank you for helping me realize that.

75 days

I was clean 75 days and I relapsed last night. I lied to my mom to watch my daughter. I got some stuff and still haven't been to sleep. I dont know how to tell my sponsor. I was doing so well! What is wrong with me. Do I start over with a new clean date? It was only bubbles worth.

Every time I relapsed I

Every time I relapsed I started my sober date over. Trust me it's been a lot. Finely on my death bed I realized I was going to die of alcohol. I got on my knees and I prayed. 5-days later was in AA a light went on in my head. First meeting 1983 step one, ten days in the program step 12. Ten years sober. I relapsed the day my son was born. Not long after I'm back to the same old stuff. Twenty years drinking and drugging. Don't ask me how I was able to retire from my job. It wasn't until I retired that I went to rehab. I've had 30 days 60 days 90 days and 3 years. I guess I didn't care. Until that last drunk, almost died. I know in recovery you need to go to meetings. A support group. Defiantly a sponsor. Today I realize I'm an alcoholic and can't drink. In and out of AA for 30+yrs. I guess it took what it took. I am so thankful for AA. I thank God for loving me.

Relapse

I just need some encouragement. I spent a lot of money to go a rehab a few months ago. I was doing well, until I picked up that first drink. I'm experiencing physical as well as mental symptoms. I'm headed to a meeting this morning. I feel very alone right now. I want to live and alcholism is the closest I'll ever get to hell. Thank you for any words of encouragement.

relapse

I have had bad relapses. Then Why is it that Again we choose to go through the same path. With each relapse people are losing trust and faith in me more over im losing the trust in myself. Suicidal tendencies are strong. The thought that maybe i can never get better.

relapse

I understand been in and out for 20 years, this time I had almost 9 months said to my girl lets drink she said lets think about it, but she agreed and next thing you know she broke up with me I ended up homeless and moved back to parents in just 2 weeks of drinking, Never give up you never know if you pray and work hard and keep working, your life could be beyond your wildest dreams

anonymous

u know some time thing happen even though u dont want it to happen i know and can tell u even me i used to have same thing but i jus thought atlest i can figure it out tht i have taken tht path again and hurt other and broked others trust u can see on your own line the answer lies there u have recognied it and shared jus dont feel sorry for ur self its only us whos is holding us back

Willing to go to any Lengths..

Until I was willing to go to any lengths to get this.. I did not....I have been in the program a total of 4 times. I have gotten a sponsor then blew them off.. tried working the steps but never got past 2. Until I was willing to go to ANY LENGTHS. When I was willing to do that my life changed. I got a home group, I got a sponsor and worked the steps, I do service work, I have alot of old timers phone numbers who have and had what I want and i call them. When i have an issue or problem I call my sponsor and one or two of the old timers just to double check. Today my life with my higher power and solid program my life is beyond what i thought it ever could be or would be... So if you are new.. Get a home group, Grab a sponsor and work the steps... Then someday you get to give it to somebody else and I tell you this you will get more out of it than they will.. Sobriety Rocks.... If you are willing to do anything...

2 weeks sober.

I relased after 14 years after being diagnosed with life threatening illness, it has taken 11 years of hell to walk back though the doors of Heaven on earth, AA.

if you pick up a drink knowing that you to are alcohic you to will walk back though the doors of hell.
Thankyou God for bringing me back home.

GRM Melbourne Australia

welcome

welcome back!

:)

Joe

Wisconsin, USA

Relapse is part of our Disease

Relapse might or might not be part of our recovery, but it sure is part of our disease. If that aspect of our disease will or will not be affecting me, I do not know today. I am going to any length today to prevent it. I ask my Higher Power in the beginning of the day to help and direct me in that task, and I thank my Higher Power at the end of the day for helping and directing me. In between, I do all I can (my best) to remind myself of my Higher Power (and not of my disease).

When questioned, if they had asked their Higher Power for help and sobriety that day, not one fellow who slipped had ever answered with yes.

My recovery is not a thing which I go and get, and then put together out of all the parts which are supposed to make and keep me sober. It is the result of my need and desire to live a spiritual life. My disease is only my Higher Power's tool to beat me into submission and humbleness. That's why it does not go away, that's why I could relapse. I am not cured. I only get a daily reprieve based on my spiritual condition on this very day.

In love, peace, and recovery,

Mo

relapse

I was taught and I believe that relapse is NOT a part of recovery and it worries me that this subject is being approached in that manner. We talked about "slips" and welcomed the "slipper" back with open arms but never suggested that it was part of recovery!

Spirituality, meeting, sponsoring and sponsors, service, working the steps and growing up, etc. are the parts of sobriety.

I have been to too many funerals and seen too much tragedy because of this thinking.

Please, please......rephrase this topic!

?

Are you suggesting we not welcome the "slipper" back with open arms? And you would suggest... what exactly?

relapes are common!

Don't worry relapes are quiet common!

Many Paths to Recovery

Unfortunately, I too have been to many funerals and I usually only read these posts, but this caught more than my eye.

To qualify, I relapsed a number of times to the point that some who believed they were (was going to say something else here) had not relapsed or only relapsed a acceptable number of times had believed that it would be only by God’s Grace (which it is with most alcoholics - God‘s Grace) that the program would take with me.

Because of those AA’s who keep telling me to come back at several meetings I attended, a sponsor who believed that I could, a wife, family and friends and especially a God who loved me, I am coming up on 30 years of continued clean and sober sobriety, including being a trusted servant to 10 years of taking meetings into a maximum security detention center, 15 years of taking books and meetings to a socialist country, 14 years of being a webmaster for this socialist country’s AA site and 10 years of being a webmaster for our local AA site.

For those who haven’t relapsed, don’t believe that it is just as easy coming back as it was to come through the doors the first time. It is ‘h---l’ to be still drinking (and doing what ever) and having from time to time a clarity of mind (the committee in your head) telling you that there is a better way of living - “And Knowing It !”

If one hasn’t relapsed, that doesn’t make them more of a member the same way as those who drank more, makes them more of an alcoholic. Unfortunately relapse is part of some member’s recovery (at the time of taking this poll 53%) the same way that some members experience divorce or unemployment after sobering up. Had relapse been a condition to be expelled from membership, both Bill W. and Doctor Bob would have been asked to leave.

Some where in the Big Book, (not a page counter) it says our past will benefit us in helping the next alcoholic.

I believe that ’Relapse’ is a very good topic to bring up both on this forum (I thank the Grapevine for providing it) and in the meetings. It tells members that if you relapse you will still be provided a seat around the tables and it allows those who have relapsed to give an account of the (here comes that word again) h----l that one goes through.

Relapse is not a part of recovery

I hear in meetings more now that 'relapse' is a part of recovery. To think I have a relapse in me and that it is a part of recovery, is saying that I have not conceded to my inter most self that I am Alcoholic and that I may still have the illusion that I can drink like a normal person.

The doors to AA swing both ways but not for everyone. Many who relapse end with death, jail, asylums or the pitiful existence of the hopeless drunk and not the rooms of AA with the possibility of a life beyond our wildest dreams.

relax

Obviously relapse is not suggested or encouraged. But if you ever find that you have indeed relapsed, I would imagine it would be helpful to see the relapse as a learning experience in a larger arc of recovery than as an end to recovery. And I'm sure you would tell a friend who has relapsed not to give up and that its going to be ok, just get back on the horse and learn what you need to do better.

I was in AA for 8 years with

I was in AA for 8 years with two slips and I ledf (for good two years ago... soo I thaught) my controlled drinking has become to much. I get drunk regularly now and I never have any intention to get drunk. I just cant stop. the reason I relapsed was not that I decided to or I wasn't putting in the work! I decided to leave because id always had the beliefe that I drank because of my childhood. I have since worked on this in theropy in the last two years and come to terms with it. so I figured I wouldn't need to drink anymore! I didn't believe the concept that we were born alcoholic. how ever ive now found my self on this mery go round of drinking and feeling bad but im not doing it because of emotional pain this time, im doing it because I can go days with out the poison and then I crave it and when drunk I REALY enjoy it. I wont be enjoying it if all of a suden I need a liver transplant and leave my three young girls without a mother.

For me I had no option to have a relapse because through it I learnt that I just cant drink alcohol for what ever reason! I don't agree with a lot of things. that our emotional growing stops when we drink, ive learnt a lot over the past two years and maybe it was gods will. luckily I want to come back now (first meeting tonight)nothing is ever just black and white and you cant judge people who relapse by saying they didn't do what was sujested. if a person wants recovery they will go to any lengths, if a person wants to drink... they will. not aimed at you. just in general x

No, I have not relapsed

Since getting sober 4 years ago, I have not been overcome by the compulsion to pick up a drink, thank God and AA. I know that if God did not take the obsession, and I wasn't given the grace to go to meetings, I would be drinking and doing dry goods. Then I would be truly lost in darkness, and I wouldn't even know it. God would be totally lost to me, except in my own delusions of grandeur and savior complex. Because of the grace of God available thru the mechanisms of AA, I have tasted again some spiritual food. Honesty brings me light every time I have the courage to share what I'm truly feeling in a meeting. I'm not perfect; I don't do everything the program says yet. I struggle with the practice of sponsorship and fear the 12 steps. But one day at a time I try to take small, unfamiliar steps toward new life, new surrender to the Higher Power, and more open relationships with people. Thanks, AA.

Sober at 15 years old

I was given the gift of sobriety at 15 years old and haven't found it necessary to drink in 23 years. I have had hardships of loss through death, divorce, and economics. I have had joys of graduations, marriage, children, and purchases of a home. I have tended to my daily activities of nothing spectuacular except my gift of sobriety. I have not found it necessary to drink because I have worked all 12 steps and continue to the best of my ability daily.

Thank you AA's

Hang in there!!

Do hang in there!!

thanks
john

step work is the key

Did you get a sponser?

Recovery

My recovery started April 8/1982 at Guest House, Lake Orion Michigan.
No I have no relapsed. Do my best to live one day at the time.
Val
San Antonio, TX

Relapse and God's Grace

Thanks, Grapevine, for the iPoll on relapse. I decided to write today because of an online comment from someone who credited God's grace for sobriety but who also "fears the 12 steps." It got me thinking a bit about relapse, God, and the Steps. I went on to write a really long post at the iPoll page before I realized maybe I could send it to the Grapevine!

Anyway, thanks for the question. Sober since 1/1/92 by the grace of God.

Relapse

I relapsed last week after 75 days for the second time in a row. Do you suggest I tell my home group in a meeting. Did the first time and really don't want to do it again.

Telling the group

I am the fellow that wrote "Many Paths to Recovery" just to let you know a bit of my story.

No you do not have to tell openly to your group especially if you did not get a reprieve from the last time you opened up. However I suggest you find someone, preferrably a sponsor to share it with. Sharing is therapy whether you share on this forum or you share with a sponsor.

Some, and most likely those who have not relapsed would have us do it in front of City Hall at noon hour with a sign hung around our neck.

It is some time said, it is like learning to ride a bike with your father (like a sponsor) we fell a lot and our father did not scoll us for falling. I wanted to stop but my father like my sponsor said I could do it, just kept trying.

Did I suggest that you should have sponsor to keep your bike up while you were trying to peddle???

And some may say that you did not ask God to release the desire of alcohol. God works when we do the peddling - keep going and have some (a few) that you really trust to share with.

Dont beat yourself up over this. Have a sponsor, have a plan as to what course of action, and start peddling. The balancing of the bike will come with God's Grace. We love you, and you deserve to have a sober life.

Write again and let me know how you are doing - I will pray for you and will check back to this forum later to see how you are doing.

Hugh H. London Ontaro

Telling the group

I am the fellow that wrote "Many Paths to Recovery" just to let you know a bit of my story.

No you do not have to tell openly to your group especially if you did not get a reprieve from the last time you opened up. However I suggest you find someone, preferrably a sponsor to share it with. Sharing is therapy whether you share on this forum or you share with a sponsor.

Some, and most likely those who have not relapsed would have us do it in front of City Hall at noon hour with a sign hung around our neck.

It is some time said, it is like learning to ride a bike with your father (like a sponsor) we fell a lot and our father did not scoll us for falling. I wanted to stop but my father like my sponsor said I could do it, just kept trying.

Did I suggest that you should have sponsor to keep your bike up while you were trying to peddle???

And some may say that you did not ask God to release the desire of alcohol. God works when we do the peddling - keep going and have some (a few) that you really trust to share with.

Dont beat yourself up over this. Have a sponsor, have a plan as to what course of action, and start peddling. The balancing of the bike will come with God's Grace. We love you, and you deserve to have a sober life.

Write again and let me know how you are doing - I will pray for you and will check back to this forum later to see how you are doing.

Hugh H. London Ontaro

thanks Hugh

@Hugh - Thanks for your response. It really resonates with me. Having 17 years and recently picked up marijuana, I am honest with my sponsor, my close friend and my therapist. I am still in recovery- nowhere does it say we have to be honest with a group in a Big Book. My sponsor trusts me that MY ultimate authority is my god- whatever the conception of it may be. That does not mean I am not being account able - I am trusting that God is speaking to me through them and that if I do not surrender the marijuana, I am not going to heal.