Addiction Relapse: Stumble Don’t Fall

March 27, 2010 — 36 Comments

addiction relapse

It’s not very often that I fall, but sometimes I stumble. Yesterday I stumbled. I could have fallen if I let myself. Something inside wouldn’t allow myself to fall. Without thinking about it I steadied myself before I fell. I got my balance back and was able to stay standing on my feet instead of hitting the floor. But I did stumble. I drank beers.

Yesterday I had about 6 beers. I had what is called a relapse. Sure, drinking wasn’t what I really had a problem with but I have decided to practice abstinence from all mood altering substances. Because of that decision, yesterday I relapsed. Sure, I could choose to believe one of the myths of relapse which is because I didn’t do the exact substance that I was addicted to that I didn’t really have a relapse. But I know that I did.I’m not going to sugarcoat it for myself. That would get me nowhere. What I’m going to do is look real closely at what I was doing and thinking prior to me taking that first drink. By doing that hopefully I can today see some of the warning signs that I didn’t see yesterday. If I can see what some of the indications that I was going to relapse were, then I can be sure to be on the look out for them in the future.

I had that old voice inside of my head telling me that it’s ok to drink beers once in a while. You’re not an alcoholic so what’s the difference. It’s such a beautiful day out, you deserve a beer. These are just a couple of the thoughts that were swirling around this addictive thinking brain of mine. Sadly, I gave into these thoughts.

Do I feel shameful about my relapse? No, I can honestly say I don’t. Do I feel guilty about it? Ya, there is a little guilt there. I regret doing it because I see that I got absolutely no fun out of it. I let myself believe that by drinking a few beers and catching a buzz I was going to have tons of fun. I didn’t. What I got was that old guilty feeling and a little disappointment with myself.

If I could give any advice to anybody out there that has just been craving for not only the drug/drink but for the “fun” time that comes along with it, it would be: Just don’t take the first drink/drug. Do whatever you can to avoid it. In the end it’s not really fun. What happens is that you envisioned it as being so great that when you actually do it and realize it isn’t, you’re disappointed. On top of that disappointment comes the disappointment with yourself for allowing yourself to relapse after all your hard work.

To end on a higher note (no pun intended), today is a new day. So now what I will do is not use any mood altering substances for this twenty-four hours. Tomorrow when I look back on today I will have a feeling of accomplishment and success. I can’t say that about today’s yesterday but it will definitely be the case tomorrow.

36 responses to Addiction Relapse: Stumble Don’t Fall

  1. Stay strong Erin, it’s not what you have but instead what you will do that is important.

    Good Luck

    The Discovering Alcoholic

  2. Sounds like you drank some beers, had a ‘relapse’ for the sake of blog fodder. dumbass.

    • Your’e the dumbass. It’s not just ‘blog fodder’ this is serious business. Maybe you’re not an addict/alcoholic but the fact of the matter is many of us are. Posts like these can help us relate to our own sobriety. But calling somebody a dumbass because they relapsed is low man. This is life or death for some of us and belittling someone about it is not cool.

  3. Ouch…you found me out. In fact, I not only had a “relapse” for blog fodder but also had an entire “addiction” just to have something to write about.

  4. I had a relapse 2 weeks ago. I did meth. It had been almost 2 years since I had the stuff. But it was there and I was depressed and….
    The good thing that came out of this is that I did it that once and not again and then sort of forgot about it. Now it seems like a dream that I relapsed and did it at all.
    By the way, because I am not multi addicted, I am able to still drink (just wine). And I do not abuse alcohol. There are some people who have specific poisons. Meth/Speed was mine.

  5. Erin, man i know its hard bro…the little voice creeps in my head too..i have quit smoking weed after 5 years of smoking everyday…not out of will but because i was caught…i feel this is my time though, to rid of my addictions and be drug free…anyone else out there in the same position that needs that strength..dont do isent worth it, paying to get that sense of security or feeling in ur head…

  6. Well shit with a name like Erb you’re almost born to smoke weed right?

    Thanks for the encouraging words. I actually wrote this post a little under a year ago and I feel that I’m moving on pretty well in my recovery. Hang in there…it only gets better.

  7. Don’t look now, but you’re sitting in front of a mind altering substance -aka- the internet.

  8. I just relapse after 2 years of sobriety. It started off with a Vicodin prescription (my weakest substance), and didn’t handle it the way I was suppose to. Of course, the gate was now open, and I was drinking on the job and trying to get prescriptions for Xanax. I’ve finally succumb to the issue. Today is my first clean day. I’ve been clean all day. Something to be proud of. I never thought I’d relapse. It happened so quickly, and I forgot EVERYTHING I learned in recovery. That says a lot. We will forget, we will forget. And when we do, we’ll distroy ourselves and everyone around us again. I’m glad I caught my relapse soon, found a sponsor, and going to a meeting tonight!

  9. I just relapsed after 2 years of sobriety. It started off with a Vicodin prescription (my weakest substance), and I didn”t handle it the way I was suppose to. Of course, the gate was now open, and I was drinking on the job and trying to get prescriptions for Xanax. I’ve finally succumb to the issue. Today is my first day clean. Something to be proud of.
    I NEVER THOUGHT I’D RELAPSE. It happened so quickly, and I forgot EVERYTHING that I learned in recovery. That says a lot. We will forget, we will forget, we will forget. And when we do, we”ll distroy ourselves and everyone around us again. I’m glad I caught my relapse soon, found a sponsor, and going to a meeting tonight!

  10. i just relapsed yesterday after 11 years sober.

  11. I was preparing for a trip to the UK this evening and was looking in my bedside drawer for a pair of earrings to pack. Right in the corner of the drawer was a dusty, dirty amphetamine tablet. I just got my six-month token, was going to meetings daily as well as calling my sponsor. I had just begun step 4. I had also lined up meetings and rides in the UK. I popped that pill without even thinking anything. It seemed to happen in a nano second. As I felt high, I started to come up with all the excuses to hide what I had done. I had energy to run errands but as I was driving I kept thinking of the program and the term “rigorous honesty” I got home and called my sponsor, she said it was my decision to give up my sobriety date. So I’m back to day one. My biggest fear was my husband as he said if I used again I should just go back to England to live and leave him and our boys in peace. Again my sponsor told me it was my decision if I wanted to tell him. I wrote it in the form of a letter since I was so emotional and fearful. He read the letter and said he understood but mostly appreciated the honesty which had been lacking in our relationship. While sad, I feel as though I’ve really grown into an adult today. My sponsor is meeting me tomorrow at a meeting. I could pick it to pieces and try and find people, places or things to blame but ultimately I accept the responsibility. All I can say is AA rocks, keep coming back!

  12. Lizzie
    You did exactly what you are supposed to do when something like this happens.

    You held yourself accountable and you were honest even though that was a really, really hard thing to have to do. I think that now that you have experienced what it is like to have to tell your sponsor and your husband that you used again it will make you do everything in your power to avoid having to ever do that again.

    These things happen and you handled it beautifully. Congratulations

  13. My husband just relapsed after 2 years of sobriety. I dont know what to do I am so angry with him he spent money we didnt have and now. I just cry and want the life that we had before all of this. I wish he could tell me hes done and he say he hopes he is but his brain wont let him stop thinking about drugs. Anyone got any advise for someone who doesnt understand?

  14. I just relapsed after a year. I don’t want to drink again. My problem is I can’t tell anyone. If I do I will lose everything that means anything to me. My kids,family,sponsor. I feel like killing myself. I don’t know what to do I don’t crave alcohol. I know I can stop. I just feel so guilty.

  15. My boyfriend of 6 months just relapsed. I don’t know what I should say to him. I want to be supportive, but I don’t want to let him off the hook. I have 2 small children and will not tolerate drugs around them. What can I say to him that will be loving and still let him know that this sort of thing is unacceptable? I know he is bound to feel guilty right now, and he was honest with me – but I kind of caught him at it. Something felt wrong and I stopped by this place. His heart was racing and he left immediately – very atypical behavior. He said he was going off to meet AA friends. I wonder if he would have told me if I had not seen him acting oddly. I wonder if it will happen again. Words of advice?

  16. Erin,

    Sorry to hear about the relapse. I have been following you since you started and have thrown in a few words of encouragement along the way. Gratefully, I have 841 days today, just for today. On Thanksgiving, I got a phone call that caused me to re-evaluate my life. The woman I love and met in recovery with 5 months clean passed away in her sleep at the age of 45. I can not tell you the feeling in words or type that described the feelings I had 2 weeks ago. Jackie showed me that even with relapse (she relaspsed 4 yrs ago with 13 yrs), there IS HOPE. I got clean at the age of 45 and consider myself to have a pretty good head on my shoulders. I “got clean” just to get off the oxy’s from surgery only. My higher power showed me that NA and the steps can get you through anything. By practicing the program in ALL my affairs, I am able to see into the future see that I will be ok. If I run to the drug….OR decied to grab my usual bottle of Korbel, all bets are off.

    Look……I’ve wasted SOoooo many years of my life due to my addictions. Jackie and I traveled to places people only dream of and went to meetings along the way. We had planned to attend the convention in MD that weekend. But now…that dream is gone.

    Higher powers have a way of letting you know your not alone. Although I struggle with GOD, I am learning to believe in Him. Jackie’s sponsor is devistated, but we have made a decision to help each other get over the person we loved with all our heart and soul. She will always be with us. We are becoming close and learning more about aourselves by being totally honest with each other. Remarkable things are happening for both of us.

    The reason I mention this is because her sponsor had just relapsed in September. I was very dissappointed and told Jackie that if SHE ever relapsed, that we would probably not continue our relationship. The guilt I have over saying those horrible words is hard to let go, but I’m getting better with each passing day. I still feel like an ass at times, because I have no right to judge someone. Regardless……..No matter what……..I did not use, and for this I am full of gratitude today.

    I hope this helps you in your recovery process. There is NO reason to use. What they say is true… only get what you put into your recovery process. I put my life into it. It’s the only one I have, and I have been made aware of that in one of the most painful ways, but losing a part of me in the process.

    Dig deeper into your process. You will do what winners do by living it. Even though I had a loss, I AM A WINNER.

  17. In an effort to recover from substance abuse and mental disorders referred to as dual diagnosis, recovery often involves unique treatment steps. My client, Silver Hill Hospital is excellent at Dual Diagnosis procedures and can detect and treat many substance abuse/mental disorders.

  18. Brother Brades March 22, 2010 at 6:01 am

    I’ve relapsed tonight. Don’t know why, but I bought myself a 20 pack of beer and an eight ball of cocaine. Told myself I’d never do it again. The blow.

    Had a ten ounce beer in the middle of the week. After roughly 2 months, I figured I was rehabbing myself into someone who could have a beer here and there. Two days later, I end up buying a 6 pack and then finishing off with another 20 pack of brew. Roughly 16 beers total, to myself, by myself, no social interaction.

    I was fiending and blowing up my dealer’s phone all night. Didn’t work out. But Sunday was a different story. It worked out. Full blown relapse with another 20 pack of Budweiser and an eight ball of cocaine. Lost my girl to it, just today. Changed her number.

    I fail and then succeed for awhile. I wish I could get push aside the feelings and the urges of addiction. It sucks I’ve complicated my life with someone so avoidable, so taboo.

    I know I’ll get clean, I just don’t want it to be too late.

    Hope you’re doing better Erin. It sucks that we’re labeled addicts and if we use we’re included in a “relapse”.

    Stay strong and realize there is something more out there.

  19. It sucks…i will go clean for somtimes years then all of a sudden get urges and within a day or two find someone to get me on- have a 3 day binge then struggle to stop again. sometimes it’s months sometimes years but one thing i know it’s always in the back of my mind just lurking around waiting for a moment of weakness for it to strike again. People close to me say it’s my own choice but sometimes i feel it has an overide button and takes over without me being able to do anything about it.
    As much as i want to be drug free forever i think I love that first hit/high which f&^ks everytime!

    • Boots,

      It’s going to be ok. Just keep it One Day at a Time. PLEASE! It is important not to get ahead of yourself, so really………….give yourself a break and just do it on a daiy, if not minute to minute basis. You do NOT have to use. read a few posts up to what happened to me 2 years ago…….trust me, you dont have to use! Faith, my friend.

      • I think I should try NA meetings, After reading your post I might have a better chance then going at it alone like i always have. thanks for the words of wisdom

        • Your very welcome. Your never alone in a room full of people trying to get another day clean. Good luck and make sure you put your hand up and let everyone know where your at, how hard it is for you, and get some numbers to call in case you need to reach out. Good luck!

  20. Hey everyone I’m Lloyd.I’m 27,live in Australia.I have been trying to get clean for about 4 years.I was addicted to booze,pot,eccys,speed,benzos. But alcohol is definitely the worst. I went to rehab in 08, got three months,busted,another rehab,same deal.In 09 went to another one, 6 months, busted,and it is like a cycle.I’m currently three and a half months clean.But fuck am I struggling.I feel doomed being an addict.I know this sounds childish but it is so unfair! I hate having these CONSTANT thoughts to do something that I know will screw up my mental health, and my life in general.Im living with my Mum at the moment thank God really cos if I wasn’t I know I would drink.I am trying to do some good stuff, volunteering, looking after my nephews, but its like I’m void of happiness…I miss the excitement of when it first was…its just not like that anymore.I am so full of shame from my last bust…it was ugly.So I don’t know…I guess i just want to know how people with long term sobriety are happily sober? but please, don’t recommend AA cos I have done it to death.Thankyou.

    • Addiction is a vicious circle, I was in AA for nearly three years and had a relapse, I didn’t find AA was for me but it’s an individual thing for each person.. I went into detox and had nearly three months up and relapsed… llyod I also am from Australia and would like to talk to you further or anyone else for that matter.. my email is
      Good luck to everyone

  21. I am new to the whole sobriety thing. I have known for years that I had to get sober.. It just never got that bad. I decided 30 days ago to go to AA and get sober. I was making some progress- although not fast enough for me… I picked up again last night. 3 vodkas,4 glasses of wine at a dinner show. I came home, felt so ashamed. My kids were disappointed in me, I found something to blame my husband for- and punched him and gave him a black eye in front of the kids.
    My in laws came ( my 12year old called them) and I was reamed out until 4am. I was back in AA today… It’s never worth ever picking up again. I will lose everything, if I haven’t already.

  22. My name is Yolanda addict/alcoholic and I have 5 days clean and sober. I am coming back into the recovery process after being clean and sober for 2 years and 4 months. I am what is termed as a “chronic” relapser. The most amount of clean time that I have ever had was 2 years and 7 months. There was so much pain going on in my life that I picked up the first hit and it was off to the races again. I thought that I was in recovery for the long hall this last time in and I never thought that I would go back out because the desire to stay sober and clean was so strong in me. I know that God had worked a miracle in my life and I never wanted to let Him and my family and friends down again. My heart hurts for myself today, but also for my friends, family, and the Lord. The insanity of the first substance….Today I do not have a desire to use/drink thank God!!!!

  23. Really good post, and the follow up comments are good reading too. I recently attended a workshop on relapse prevention which was helpful. We went over a checklist of common relapse triggers or situations, checking the ones each of us had. We each made a list of ten people to call in case of the threat of relapse, and also were advised to call them and tell them they were on our list and tell them our triggers. There are books on relapse prevention I would like to check out.

  24. I have been in a relapse for a year now, I went thru a divorce and couldn’t handle dealing with reality. I had been sober almost 6 years. I am a alcoholic and wake up from passing out every morning feeling like shot and knowing I am slowly killing myself with self pity and booze to cover up the misery. Today I am sober and tomorrow I hope to be sober.

  25. I am a recovering alcoholic. I went to rehab and became good friends with several people there. Now one of the those people (heroine addict who has been to rehab 9 times in his short 24 years) seems to be relapsing. He has dropped off the face of the earth and keeps saying he’ll call me in “a bit” and never does. I talked to him 2 times yesterday. The first time he seemed more down and quiet than I’ve ever heard him. 30 mins later (after an old friend came to get him) he was cheerful, relaxed and laughing. Now he has dropped off the face of the earth again. Are these true signs? I care about him deeply however, I am recovering too (almost 90 days!). What do I do? The thought of him using is causing cravings for me. I feel like an idiot – know I should be focusing on my own recovery – but I can’t stop calling him and texting him and trying to get him to just talk to me – even for 30 seconds. Help.

    • Honestly, take this from a recovering opiate addict, when in doubt on these subjects a policy of guilty until proven innocent should be taken, remind him of what his goals are and don’t let this little bump turn into a freefall, if you can catch it early enough this can remain just a relapse and not a return to total addiction. It sounds harsh, but trust me, the cravings don’t go away, and quite often its 2 steps forward 1.9 steps back. Don’t give him an ultimatum of not talking to him ever though, opiate addicts quite often suffer from self-esteem problems (they already feel shitty about how their affecting others) and what can seem like an intervention to you will be taken as an attack to him, which will only make things worse on the road to sobriety.

  26. Need some advise….. My husband relapsed last night after 10 years of sobriety. He ran my car into the house but didn’t cause any major damage. Just enough for me to have to explain to my 13yr old son what happened. He was not home when it happened but my 10 year old was. Any experience out there on how and what I should discuss with my children. They know there father is an alcoholic but have never seen the damage it can cause until now.

  27. Honestly I just relapsed about 15 minutes ago, it was on my drug of choice, perscription painkillers, Oxymorphone/Opana to be specific. As soon as I felt the powder shoot up my nose, the guilt set in. I feel more guilt and shame then ever the thought of suicide has not crossed my mind. The pills I stole from a loved one, and I ask this one question for anyone who may be reading and able to answer, should I tell the loved one that I relapsed (my drug abuse is not a secret), or should I get back on the wagon and keep going like it never happened? Fast responces would be appreciated, and If within 24 hours nobody gives a reason not to, I am taking the path of cowardice.

  28. “Stumble don’t fall” and “what winners do” – excellent!! Relapses are the no. 1 reason why healing doesn’t work and at the same time the no. 1 reason why sustainable recovery DOES work. It is all about attitude and how to handle relapse.

  29. I relapsed but due to family money and everyone tied together. I can’t tell my sponsor! So upset. Three months. It wasn’t even my drug of choice …. Can I continue to lie, should I just get a new sponsor?

  30. I had a stinker of a relapse yesterday,no reason for it.I have been to AA on and off for years but never really gave it my all,spoke to another member today and we gonna sort out a sponsor next week.i have never done drugs but red wine and jack Daniels is my poison.

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