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What's a Relapse?

Any tips or advice to prevent a relapse, alternatively any of your stories about your own relapses.
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zarajenkin
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Re: what's a relapse?

Post by zarajenkin » 06 Sep 2010 09:04

Hi Alex,

Thanks for your post - really helpful for me today! I can do two or three weeks fairly easily - even six or seven weeks leading up to my law exams in June but can't seem to embrace sobriety as a permanent way of life - even though clearly much, much happier without it.

However, the fact that we are here means that we CAN do this. Yippee!!!! :D

Sending you masses of support. <:)> Think we chatted on BE over a year ago.

And also support to all others here on BE today. We are in the right place.

Zara

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AlexT
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Re: what's a relapse?

Post by AlexT » 06 Sep 2010 23:04

zarajenkin wrote:Hi Alex,

Thanks for your post - really helpful for me today! I can do two or three weeks fairly easily - even six or seven weeks leading up to my law exams in June but can't seem to embrace sobriety as a permanent way of life - even though clearly much, much happier without it.

However, the fact that we are here means that we CAN do this. Yippee!!!! :D

Sending you masses of support. <:)> Think we chatted on BE over a year ago.

And also support to all others here on BE today. We are in the right place.

Zara
Nice one Zara and good luck in your LAW exams (good for you!! Im studying event management over in sweden but cant start till ive mastered swedish, im upto alevel standard now so going good and not bad for an aging binge drinker hehe)

Yes we did chat last year good to meet you again ;)

Also totally hear you about the 3 week itch. Every january i always do booze free and i dont know what it is, boredom, listlessness, restlessness that kicks in, need to find other ways to make weekends exciting that dont involve bars, at least for around 6 months till you put some decent distance between yourself and drink

I also havent got an iphone yet but i really want one because then you can access bright eye in really weak moments out in bars and places!!

Keep at it!! good luck with your studies! (Think how much more of a powerful lawyer you will be when all the rest are all out on the piss every weekend hehe)

xx
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xxkellbellxx
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Re: what's a relapse?

Post by xxkellbellxx » 09 Sep 2010 14:35

hi everyone,

i can totally realate too... i go about 3 weeks and then get this desire to get hammered! it's like i can't think about anything else and i just drink myself stupid for a couple of days, feel totally ashamed and then get back on the wagon... What is it that makes us feel this way? im really going to try this time, it just destroys me each time i binge! x

Grendelslip

Re: what's a relapse?

Post by Grendelslip » 15 Feb 2012 07:00

zoe, I did read all the way through and thank YOU.

I have read about the 'relapses are inevitable' thing but the message I took away from it is that its a reality that most people will relapse at some point - any point - on the road to recovery and that one should not feel a failure when it occurs.

That seems to be borne out by the experiences posted here. Most of us fall, then are told not to worry, you did it once, you can do it again, pick yourself up, it is not the end of the world etc. All true and absolutely correct in my opinion.

My concern though is allowing this fact of life to become an enabling excuse, a sort of (un) safety net. 'I will not drink today, but if I do that is OK, I will just start over.' For me, each time I have had to go back to day 1 I have to convince myself that THIS time I will do it, but there is that little niggling thought - the good old EAF - in the back of my mind which says 'that is not how it has happened in the past, is it?' Currently I am dealing with it by trying to convince myself that this time I will not relapse because I have learnt from my previous relapses so it is entirely probable that I will not relapse again.

It is a tricky area, isn't it. Saying 'I will do this', when experience tells us otherwise and yet we need to preserve a part of us which can pick up the pieces should the worst happen. One of the things that really tugs at my heartstrings is when somebody has started drinking again and says 'I cannot do this'.

Thank you again Jos for another thought-provoking post.

Dave x

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Re: what's a relapse?

Post by Artlesschaos » 15 Feb 2012 09:39

I understand what you mean Dave. I had a bottle of wine last night (well it was Valentine's Day) thinking oh well, it's just a little relapse. I can get back on the wagon tomorrow (or when I feel like it :oops: ) and whilst this is true, it is all to easy to put it off and make excuses why today won't be the day to quit.
I am currently locked in this cycle of thinking and I need to draw on my 18 day previous achievment and get back the motivation I had then. My drinking was scaring me to death. I need to remember that to spur me on.
Sometimes you don't realize your own strength until you come face to face with your greatest weakness.

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hamster2
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Re: what's a relapse?

Post by hamster2 » 23 Feb 2012 16:45

My personal experience mirrors Zoe's with umpteen lapses between periods of sobriety. I totally agree that the main and huge part of recovery is a whole hearted acceptance of the problem - not an intellectual acceptance but a spiritual acceptance.

Part of reaching that spritual awareness or awakening (if you like), is through the trials and tribulations of lapses, through reflection and personal analysis and understanding of the triggers of lapses - At some point the light goes on and we say 'oh I get it! I cant drink'. Its not a thought but an awakening. I have thought a zillion times 'I should not drink its bad for me' but it took years to understand 'I cannot drink its bad for me'. Once I understood my problem, accepted my problem then the pieces of the jigsaw started to fall into place. Not drinking is normall place for me right now.

I think we drinkers need little excuse to drink so I dont really believe the idea that lapses are inevitable would be a serious driver for lapse. A drinker will find any excuse if the feeling is on them. I know I could and did.

If I drink again I will not be blaming it on any idea that a lapse is inevitable however true that may or may not be. I will continue to tell myself I dont drink and continue to believe I will be alcohol free forever, one day at a time.

I believe for everyone there is a time when the lapses stop. Its just that we dont know when that will be for any one person - we are special and unique individuals so how can we tell?

Pink - <:)> I do believe some people can find a way to control. I can't for sure - I have had my time of trying but I am so happy that you seem to have managed your lapses ina postive and constructive way. - good to see you enjoying sobriety so much <:)>

Julie
x

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2XS
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Re: what's a relapse?

Post by 2XS » 24 Feb 2012 08:30

Brilliant post Zoe and great responses from everyone too... thanks, these gems of reflection are so incredibly vital and a superb reminder for those who like me are returning or valuable reassurance for those just starting out.
It's made me consider all those dates where I'm likely to give myself 'the excuse'...
Bombshells- How to survive using the emotional umbrella technique

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hamster2
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Re: what's a relapse?

Post by hamster2 » 24 Feb 2012 18:58

hi Hiding

good to meet you. I remember 'needing' alcohol just about any time for any reason. When I finsihed work I really needed a drink, I needed a drink when stressed, sad, happy... basically, I just needed a drink. I would always love that first drink - that warm fuzzy feeling that promised to sooth away my stress, calm my excitment or temper my nerves. It was a medicine without which how could I possible get through what life was throwing at me.

The idea of going a day without a drink filled me with abject fear let alone two days, weeks or months!

A lot of this is bad habit breaking, learning to 'feel' again and learning to accept bad feelings and good as being part of you and being comfortable with that.

There is also the physical dependant part of it - not going through sweats, delerium tremours etc (not for everyone) but our minds wanting its fix. I used to think of my addicted mind as a baby contentedly sucking on a bottle when I was drinking and then when the drink was removed the baby would open its eyes, furrow its brow and start to cry and cry and cry ...- sometimes the crying becomes so loud we give in because we just need the peace.

We teach our children to sleep in their own rooms, beds etc by not giving into the cries but providing reasurance. We need to do the same with our inner child.

I became a parent to my own inner child - I have grown up a lot over the last 15 months. My inner child no longer cries night and day.

this probably sounds way rambly and incoherant but for me, it has been a combination of fully accepting my problem, parenting my inner child and to a lesser degree (never very good at it but I do try), practising 'mindfulness' .

Life is no easier - not a bit of it, but I am helping myself and my inner child grow and develope the emotional maturity needed to deal with every day life. With that, the cravings have become fewer.

I dont think I have it cracked, not a bit of it. I think I would be very vulnerable if I ever thought that. I see you are on the two week thread. I wish you all the best on your journey.

Julie
x

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hamster2
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Re: what's a relapse?

Post by hamster2 » 24 Feb 2012 19:01

2XS wrote:Brilliant post Zoe and great responses from everyone too... thanks, these gems of reflection are so incredibly vital and a superb reminder for those who like me are returning or valuable reassurance for those just starting out.
It's made me consider all those dates where I'm likely to give myself 'the excuse'...

2xs <:)> Lovely to see you again. I dont pop in often so Its good to see old 'faces' when I do.

Julie
x

Gnasher
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Re: what's a relapse?

Post by Gnasher » 07 Mar 2012 14:59

Hi,I'm a new member,just thought I'd say hi and I do need help/advice?! xXx

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Martina
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Re: what's a relapse?

Post by Martina » 22 Aug 2012 23:47

Zoe, I absolutely love your post from 14 Feb (just read it today...I really got to get around more!) What wonderfully articulated thoughts, and they really resonated with me.
“Nobody can go back and start a new beginning, but anyone can start today and make a new ending.” - Maria Robinson

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Shelsey
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Re: what's a relapse?

Post by Shelsey » 25 Aug 2012 21:36

Zoe, what a brilliant post! I feel the same. I often get the niggling "of course you will one day" thoughts - and the drinking dreams. Sometimes I sit with people who are having a drink and, out of the blue, I'll get the "go on that red wine looks so good, one won't hurt" thoughts.

However, I need things to be simple too. And simply I will not drink, not one, not ever. And if I wake up every day thinking "today I am not going to drink alcohol", it breaks everything down into manageable pieces. And I intend to spend the rest of my life waking up and thinking "today I am not going to drink alcohol". Tomorrow is none of my business :-)
Aka STB - new name, still as much trouble!
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Re: what's a relapse?

Post by Mora » 29 Oct 2013 04:22

Hi everyone. I am not sure if I am in the right place but I hope someone might be Able to advice me. My partner is currently in the army and stationed in another country. He has been sober for 7 months but relapse this last Saturday. Ever since he has been very short with me which is a concern to me but most importantly I am afraid this could be the beginning of him going back to drinking. He has been attending counseling because it's mandatory for him every since he got into a fight 7 months ago, he says he will not mention it to the counselor about his relapse. He has been struggling a lot with personal problems and it seems when things are about to turn out good- it fails, he is also feeling very lonely, I think he reached his point. I asked he if he was going back to AA, he said no that it's to boring and to depressing listening to others talk about their problems, that it works for some but not for him. He says that just because he had a drink doesn't mean he will do it again that he wouldn't like to but that he is dealing and struggling on his own right now so if having a drink will help him and according to him it it even for a small moment then he will do it again. Is there any way I can help him, especially being so far away? I've honestly never delt with anything like this, we meet a little after he stopped drinking so I've known he was is recovery he also told me that he would never like for me to experience what is being with him while he drinks because he isn't himself but a self destructive person. I didn't think he would go back to it especially since that I am aware about he was doing good, he was changing his life style. He is an amazing man and I care about him a lot. Any possible advice would be soo much appreciated.

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Topcat
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Re: what's a relapse?

Post by Topcat » 29 Oct 2013 06:22

Mora, this must be very tough for you especially with your partner being so far away. From the perspective of a former drinker though I have to say that the only person who can help your partner at the moment is himself. He has to want to stop drinking again. He isn't being open with his counsellor and he doesn't want to go back to AA so it sounds as if he isn't willing to face up to his problem. All loved ones like yourself can do is be there and hope that he decides to stop the destructive behaviour.

Sorry I can't be more helpful. Perhaps someone else might be able to help more <:)> <:)>
#5 on the 2020 Challenge
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Libelula
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Re: what's a relapse?

Post by Libelula » 02 Dec 2013 01:28

Envy wrote:Zoe I just came across your post on the previous page.

by zoe » 15 Feb 2012 00:19

I just wanted to say thanks for sharing and it has really made me think about my own journey and similarities. We are certainly not alone in the feelings we have towards alcohol and I think we all share some of the same experiences. Im not sure some of the veterans on this site, like yourself, gets the appreciation they deserve. Sharing your experiences along the way, and offering support is truly helpful.
Relapsing is what we all try to avoid after stopping for a period of time and trying to find the reasons and triggers, should be our main goal now.
Envy, thank you for drawing attention to Jos's post.

That is a b****y brilliant post, so thank you Jos for sharing such wisdom.

As Envy says, the veterans, the survivors, the long distance plodders - you all give so much hope to us stumblers, it is very much appreciated.

x
I want to be the best possible mum to my son.

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tee
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Re: what's a relapse?

Post by tee » 24 Jun 2014 09:23

So this time I reached the lofty heights of the 2 month Challenge, and am just noting down some personal thoughts to myself more than anything really, on where I went wrong.

2 months sober is a great achievement and I'm happy that instead of beating myself up about the relapse, I'm focussing on how I can get back there again, and maybe even beyond this time. ;)?

I think it's the complacency that got me, once the first drink has been taken you start to make excuses. For example, out in a restaurant if I had stuck to my guns and NOT taken that glass of wine, there would have been no more permission thoughts - 'it's only a glass of wine, not like it's vodka or anything'. Cos that inevitably led onto - 'visitors are coming, as long as I stick to the wine and don't go onto vodka it'll be OK'. Then I started to fool myself some more - 'yes I'm drinking wine but I'm still with my thread buddies cos I';ve still not drank any vodka since the day before Day 1, won't mention it tho in case it causes them to relapse' :?

Which finally led onto 'this wine costs a flaming fortune, better off buying a bottle of vodka which will last MUCH longer so cheaper in the long run'. And then the classic 'Jeez that vodka didn't last long did it' until finally 'OK a whole bottle of vodka in a day is NOT OK' This is serious relapse territory. :o Get back to day 1 and park your arse there until you can sincerely get 7 days AF back in the bank.

So here I am back at Day 1, feeling a bit ashamed of course. Not just the relapsing but also the sticking head in sand stuff, maybe if I had just been a bit more honest to my thread buddies about what was actually going on with me....anyway. Onwards and upwards :roll:
Perseverance is not a long race, it is a series of short races one after the other.

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Re: what's a relapse?

Post by Rachel » 24 Jun 2014 09:32

Tee well done for two months :) I did many two months before I got beyond that point. It became a real sticking point for me. You have the right attitude. You know it can take ages to learn how to combat critical cravings (although some of my relapses seemed to be initiated by quite casual desires in the early days).

Honesty to others is a good one. I suppose it's a mainstay of AA?? (Even if you/one doesn't like it, it has some good points!) It's much harder to be dishonest with yourself if you are honest to others. (er.. sorry not sure my logic cells are working today! I sort of mean that if you keep things to yourself, you can be less than rigorously honest with yourself.)

Alas one drink does tend to lead to another, to a bottle to take home to etc..
Rachel

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tee
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Re: What's a Relapse?

Post by tee » 24 Jun 2014 16:34

Thanks Rachel and Envy for being so lovely <:)> and yes I did read that post by Zoe, she always speaks so much sense at just the right time you need to hear it (::)

I had to go to the shop today to get supplies and caught myself thinking 'Oooh in for a penny in for a pound, now that it's official I f*cked up, may as well just get a cheeky wee bottle of wine while I'm here'. :roll: We've all been there eh...

However after yesterday's binge, I felt a bit sick at the thought of any more alcohol and quickly did a swerve of the booze aisle, phew.

Now I just need to remember that sick feeling every time I'm tempted. And compare it to the fab 'look at me I'm doing SO WELL' feeling being abstinent brings. :) I'm not sure about forever, it's too long to contemplate but if I can make it to 3 months this time, and see how I feel then, I'll be doing well. Each day at a time though, and I should probably change my signature to something like 'Being abstinent does not include the odd glass of wine!' :lol:
Perseverance is not a long race, it is a series of short races one after the other.

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Rachel
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Re: What's a Relapse?

Post by Rachel » 24 Jun 2014 22:17

well done for resisting, Tee! The question this thread asks is what's a relapse. Well for me it's precisely when I have acted out on that 'I might as well.' and 'but I'll just drink today, not tomorrow' on repeat, usually for about two weeks by which time I am on my knees again

I still don't do 'forever' Tee. And there's a reason i have not signed up for the calendar year challenges!
Rachel

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Re: What's a Relapse?

Post by loopenval » 21 Jul 2014 15:53

Thanks Bella

I found the link a good read in understanding relapses and our thoughts about them




Just LINKS
by Selfish Bitch » 23 May 2010 12:59

There's been a few people recently struggling with lapsing and what it might mean - this link discusses a number of mistaken beliefs about a relapse and is definitely worth a read.
2015. # 59

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