Relapse Takes Many Forms

I always thought IF I were to relapse it would resemble a drunken stupor of olden days: I’d fall into a bottle of whiskey, hate myself for it, drink more, do something stupid, start a fight, get bloody, hate myself some more, wake up not knowing where I was and spend the next three days battling an excruciating hangover with a heavy dose of the re-re’s (regrets & remorses).

Who knew you could fall from the proverbial wagon and have it drag you by your ankles from mid-October to December??

For me, I think it started right before Thanksgiving. After a year of continuous sobriety I figured I was ready for a relationship. Nothing I couldn’t handle, right? [Wrong.] I was feeling confident in my sober ways: I had a strong routine of meetings & meditation, was active in my home group, engaged with my sponsor. I was ready to live in the real world.

I met a hottie just two weeks after receiving my 1 year medallion. We were intensely hot n’ heavy fast — all of my impulsive, impatient, alcoholic glory unleashed and it was a thing of beauty. I love you’s within weeks, moving in together within months, it was indulgent bliss and I was hooked on those good feels. He became my drug of choice.

So when he told me someone close to him confessed her love, my fix felt threatened and the ego beast was [unknowingly] released.

Words like “cunning”, “baffling” and “powerful” are often used to describe this infliction of mine and I now understand why. Within a week of being told this news — and doing my damndest to put it out of my mind — I was mentally spiraling. I had no idea how or why I was unravelling at the time, all I knew was that I felt out of control and needed something to grasp onto.

Pausing here to say: I really want to live a self-sufficient, sober life built on honesty, clarity and integrity. Unfortunately my natural condition is more drawn to escapism. dependency, anger, self-pity and ego. Finding a balance between the two will be my life-long struggle.

So, jealousy was provoked and My Ego was now in charge. Change your appearance. Change your diet. Be better. Be prettier. Get high. Get attention. Tell him all your secrets. Depend solely on him. Secure the future. Don’t fuck this up. Say something loving, we need another hit.

Within weeks I had abandoned all of those daily practices that were keeping me sober, healthy and grounded. I stopped going to meetings, stopped meditating, stopped exercising. I was overwhelmed with the stresses of work and life, constantly snapping at people as I engaged in unnecessary drama. My only conversations with a Higher Power were demands and I was clinging to any external source for a feel good solution.

“Well, at least I didn’t drink today” became my nightly mantra. As if it mattered, I was by no means ‘sober’. Fortunately I caught myself before things got too bad — well, fortunately my sponsor caught me and I felt terrible enough to actually shut up and listen. Sweet surrender.

I have a new sober date to mark my milestones with. I proudly consider it my launch date into a whole new level of awareness. Complacency need not apply.

So relapse takes many forms and with it brings a unique blend of disappointment, pain and motivation. Like stepping on a bear trap so clearly marked “BEAR TRAP!!”. Why did I do that? That was stupid. Shit, this really hurts. How the fuck do I get out of this as quickly as possible?!

There is no cure for my addict brain — no amount of time will “fix me” — all I have is a daily spiritual reprieve. Meaning: I have to do the things that keep me sober every single day or chaos will ensue. I see that now and am so grateful for the experience that brought me to it.

Onwards and upwards from here…