Relapse Excuses

Relapse Excuses

There is no good excuse for a relapse. However, there are several emotional triggers that are commonly used excuses people will use in order to justify a relapse.

Relapse Excuse #1. Resentment

Many of us have probably heard this: Resentments will take you back out. Holding a resentment is probably the most common relapse excuse. Resentments are usually in the form of:

Perceiving that others are trying to control their life

Expectations not being met

Perceiving that others are acting as if they are superior

Perceiving others to be hypocrites, taking others’ inventory

Superiors who abuse their power

Being hurt but others saying or doing something that negatively impacts the their self-esteem

When other people lie

Feeling slighted

Perceiving others to act unfair towards them and/or others

Relapse Excuse #2. Anger

“Holding onto anger is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die” When feeling angry towards someone else, the recovering addict/alcoholic often thinks that they will punish these other people by relapsing; of course the only person they are going to hurt is themselves.

Relapse Excuse #3. Boredom

After getting clean and sober, you might find that you have a lot of free time on your hands. Without hobbies or pursuing other healthy interests, you may become bored. This is another common relapse excuse: boredom. When we become bored, we may begin romanticizing our previous lifestyle, remembering the “good ol’ times” and conveniently forget about all the horrible stuff. This is a dangerous trend because, in the newly sober person’s mind, addiction wasn’t so bad after all. That mindset combined with agony of boredom is enough to convince most that relapse is the way to remedy their situation.

Relapse Excuse #4. Loneliness

This is kind of like the boredom excuse. When we stop drinking and drugging, we have to change people, places, and things. We may begin to miss our drinking and using buddies and, if we are not proactive in making new sober friends and getting sober supports in our life, then being lonely is the perfect relapse excuse.

Relapse Excuse #5. Disappointment in sobriety

As recovering addicts and alcoholics, we are used to instant gratification. That said, a life beyond our wildest in dreams in recovery takes time. Often times, we have to rebuild our lives from scratch. For some in recovery, this is frustrating and upsetting. They expect results and immediately! When this doesn’t happen, they will use that as an excuse to relapse

Relapse Excuse #6. Feeling depressed

Many addicts and alcoholics also have a co-occurring, or dual diagnosis mental disorder such as depression or bipolar disorder. In fact, that is why many of us sought out drugs: to numb those bad feelings. So, in sobriety, when those feelings come back, we retreat to the way we always dealt with them – by using drugs.

For those who do not have an actual mental health diagnosis, depression is still a factor, as it is for non addicts and alcoholics. Depression is a fact of life. But again, for recovering addicts and alcoholics, the temptation to escape these negative feelings may become too great to deal with and lead them to relapse. It is important to learn coping mechanisms that don’t involve drug use in order to achieve emotional stability in recovery.

Relapse Excuse #7. Feeling happy

Conversely, many people who have experienced a relapse say that it is when things are going really well that they slip up. Perhaps it is a way of rewarding themselves for doing so well. For others, it is a way to increase the already good feeling they have naturally. As addicts and alcoholics, we seek to increase the pleasure-causing chemicals in our brains while in active addiction. Once we are sober, it might be that this “taste” of euphoria from normal everyday good things, that is enough of a high for others, is just what it takes to leave us craving something more intense therefore causing some to seek it in drugs and resulting in a relapse.

Relapse Excuse #8. “Forgetting”

So many times, I have heard people who relapse say that they weren’t sure anymore whether they were an alcoholic or addict. So, they decide to go back out and “test the waters.” People will use the relapse excuse that they decided they weren’t really an addict and/or alcoholic in order to start drinking and drugging again.

 

 

Sources:

http://alcoholism.about.com/

http://www.psychologytoday.com/

If you need help with your addiction please call us at 800-507-7389.

Success Rate of Sober Living

Success Rate of Sober Living

The success rate of sober living is unknown but it is most definitely better than the success rate of someone who doesn’t attend any kind of sober living after treatment. Lack of a stable, alcohol and drug free place to live can be a serious and almost insurmountable obstacle for addicts and alcoholics. Destructive living arrangements can totally derail recovery for even the most highly motivated addicts and alcoholics.

Sober living is an alcohol and drug free living environment for individuals attempting to abstain from alcohol and drugs. Sober living is not licensed for funded by state or local governments and the residents themselves pay for the cost. The philosophy of recovery in a sober living house emphasizes 12-step group attendance and peer support.

So what are the success rates of sober living?

Research in one California study measured treatment outcomes over an eighteen month period from a sample of patients who were provided sober living as part of their outpatient treatment. Participants were male, with an average age of around 40 years old. A fourth of them were criminal justice referrals. A third of them was either homeless or lived in a shelter. Residents were dependent on cocaine, alcohol, marijuana, heroin and amphetamines. Participants were interviewed at intake and at 6, 12, and 18 months.

The study found that sober living clients experienced significant improvements when it came to stay sober and even days worked. Involvement in 12-step groups was the strongest predictor of reductions in alcohol and drug use. The outcomes did not vary by demographics such as age, race, and education. The study concluded that sober living should be considered as a part of outpatient treatment for clients who have access to limited financial resources or reside in destructive living environments. The reason being, success of the individuals who were in sober living and staying sober.

The success rates of sober living are much higher in comparison to someone who doesn’t attend sober living. And it seems like the success rates of sober living go up even more if the clients of sober living also attend a 12-step group. The longer amount of time spent at a sober living residence the better too. Someone who stays at a sober living home and attends a 12-step group for a long period of time usually has a much higher chance of success than someone who just goes back to the original living environment and does not attend a 12 step group.

I know this is especially true for myself and most of the people I know who have multiple years sober. Sober living really can get addicts and alcoholics who have been unstable for so long the ability to start off on a stable and sturdy foundation instead of going back into the same unsteadiness once again. The success rates of sober living aren’t exact but they are good. The risks of going back into an old environment or giving yourself a better chance at staying sober with a sober living environment seems like an easy choice to make.

 

If you need help with your addiction please call us at 800-507-7389.

Behavioral Signs of a Relapse

Behavioral Signs of a Relapse

Behavioral Signs of a Relapse

Anyone who has any sobriety before they relapsed can tell you that the relapse starts long before you ever pick up a drug or a drink. It is a slow process that begins long before you drink or use. The steps to a relapse are changes in attitudes, feelings, and behaviors that gradually lead to the final step: picking up a drink or drug. Here are some behavioral signs of a relapse:

Behavioral Signs of a Relapse: You stop going to meetings and helping others

When you are headed towards a relapse, one of the first things to go is 12-step meetings. You start to make excuses as to why you cannot go. You may say you do not like the fact that everyone talks about their past substance abuse too much or that you’re just “too busy” to get to meetings. Since you aren’t going to meetings, you also stop reaching your hand out to the newcomer and offering help. This is dangerous, because we only keep what we have by giving it away. Ask yourself every night how many people you have helped today. If the answer is zero, than that’s what your recovery is worth.

Behavioral Signs of a Relapse: You stop praying and meditating

Besides meetings, prayer and meditation is one of the easiest things to start slacking on. For some people, the prayer and meditation goes first. Expanding spiritual consciousness is done on the honor system, in the privacy of your own home, so it’s easy to stop without anyone noticing. Once you stop doing that though, you may notice that…

Behavioral Signs of a Relapse: You begin to act the way you did when you were using

This is also known as a “dry drunk.” You may begin to be irritated by little things. You start to take things personally. You become resentful easily, and you don’t do anything to change the way you are feeling. You feel restless, irritable, and discontent. During this time, you may start lying, cheating, or stealing. This kind of behavior starts small-like making an excuse as to why you were late for work, and then the lies start becoming bigger. You may start acting out in other ways or using sex, shopping, gambling, or food as a way to make yourself feel better.  You stop living by spiritual principals, and if anyone points it out to you…

Behavioral Signs of a Relapse: You get defensive

The feelings will be familiar. It’s the same feeling you had when you were encouraged to get sober and wanted everyone to mind their own business. It’s denial and self-righteousness. Instead of listening to what people have to say, you get defensive and start picking out what is wrong with them and everyone else. You make yourself feel better by focusing on other people’s flaws.

Not everyone’s relapse happens in the exact same way, but if you notice any of these behavioral signs of a relapse in yourself, it’s time to take action and make a change. There is always a way back from this path to a relapse. The important thing is to recognize it’s happening and be honest about your attitudes and behaviors.

If you need help with your addiction please call us at 800-507-7389.

If I relapse should I go back to rehab?

Should I go back to rehab?

If I relapse should I go back to rehab?

Working in addiction treatment, this is a question that I hear all the time. Many people who go back to using drugs and alcohol after treatment don’t think they should go back to rehab if they relapse. They’ll say things like “I’ve been to rehab before and it didn’t work” or “I already know everything they have to tell me.” The thing is, rehab is a lot more than therapy and learning about recovery. Even if you feel like you have learned everything you need to know about the disease of addiction and yourself, there are still reasons you should go back to rehab if you relapse.

If I relapse should I go back to rehab? Environmental

One of the most important things about rehab is that it gives you a safe place to be during those early days of recovery. The first thirty days are often the hardest, and many addicts and alcoholics relapse during this time, especially if they are in the same environment where they were using. If you want different results, you need to do something differently, and changing your environment is one of the first changes you should make. Just because you know how to get sober, it doesn’t mean you actually can or will do it. This is why it is important for you to go back to rehab if you relapse.

If I relapse should I go back to rehab? Support

One of the most important reasons you should go back to rehab if you relapse is because of the support system it provides. The real thing that keeps people clean and sober is not knowledge of recovery, it is their relationships with other people; their support system. There is a reason that 12 step groups have meetings and you are supposed to get a sponsor-we need other people to recover. What most people need in early recovery is support from people who understand what they are going through, not tips on “how to avoid triggers.” They need to see people who were once where they are and who have had success in recovery. They need to build relationships with people who can show them how they can attain lasting recovery.

If I relapse should I go back to rehab? Knowledge

Ok, you may think that you know everything about recovery, but you don’t. Recovery is not about memorizing the 12 steps or reading every page of recovery literature. If you went back to drugs and alcohol, then there were obviously some fundamental things you did not learn in rehab. For example:

  • You did not surrender.
  • You did not take suggestions from people who were trying to help you.
  • You weren’t completely honest.
  • You were not open minded enough to learn everything you needed to know.

Most people who relapse, if they’re being honest with themselves, know that they did not grasp one or more of these fundamental concepts. Going back to rehab if you relapse is the safest and smartest option and it gives you the best chance for recovery in the future.

If you need help with your addiction please call us at 800-507-7389.

How to stay away from that first drink

How to stay away from that first drink

 

How to stay away from that first drink

If the act of just physically staying away from that first drink worked alcoholics would be able to stay sober easily. Unfortunately and not so unfortunately sobriety is not as easy as staying away from anything. There has to be more than will power or doing anything “just for today” as many new alcoholics hear, to find long-term sobriety.

If you want to know the truth in how to stay away from the first drink it is not in your ability to stay away from bars, wine aisles at the grocery store, people who drink or anything of the like-it is in your spiritual prowess, your spiritual fitness, and whether you like it or not, your relationship with a higher power.

In order to stay away from that first drink which does set the entire horrible alcoholic cycle in motion you must have some kind of defense and for those who are real alcoholics the defense cannot be human. There are multiple stories, experiences and lives that can show you and tell you time and time again how a human defense or human power has failed them. For instance, some people choose to use work, a career, their family, their own self-knowledge, their own will power, their friends, their relationship, shopping, money etc. in order to stay away from that first drink and what usually ends up happening if they are real alcoholics is they end up drinking again and are left to wonder why. The why is because their defense against the first drink was in something that would always fail them, something that wouldn’t last, something that could not take on every emotion, thought, obstacle, achievement in order to ensure that they remain sober. Human power is not enough to stay away from the first drink and this is why reliance upon a higher power is the only way the real alcoholic can begin to stay away from that first drink.

Finding a relationship with a higher power is much easier than it seems. It usually happens gradually through working a 12 step program or by having a complete and total change in perspective. Regardless of how it happens, it happens and this is when you can learn how to stay away from that first drink. Probably the coolest thing about not relying on a human power to stay away from that first drink is the fact that you don’t even really have to “stay away” from alcohol in any capacity in order to remain sober. If you are spiritually fit and have a relationship with a higher power you can walk into any liquor store, be inches away from alcohol and walk down the wine aisles at the grocery store and not even think twice about drinking and if you do think of drinking it is merely a passing thought, a whisper in the wind.

For those who are real alcoholics the thought of a spiritual solution in their how to stay away from that first drink can seem daunting but it is promised to work if they follow a few simple steps. Steps that change their entire perspective on the world and not only give them the ability to stay away from that first drink but also give them the ability to live a much fuller, healthier, and vivacious life full of attainable dreams, dreams come true, and helpfulness to others. Who would have thought it was as easy as that? Not me at first. But it is. Spiritual grounding, relationship with a higher power is how you will stay away from that first drink and it’s how you get your well-being and your soul back without having to fight tooth and nail against alcohol. You can finally be free from having to think about that first drink in anyway.

If you need help with your addiction please call us at 800-507-7389.

Why meetings are so important to long-term sobriety?

Meetings for long-term sobriety

Why meetings are so important to long-term sobriety

When I first heard that I’d be expected to go to meetings for the rest of my life as a member of Alcoholics Anonymous, I was appalled. In fact, this kept me out of the rooms for a long time. I tried every other way to get sober, just so I wouldn’t have to go to AA. I tried religion, exercise, abstinence, alcohol maintenance, marijuana maintenance, suboxone, meditation, travel, moving, changing friends, changing boyfriends, changing careers. I bought a book that told me that it could cure my addiction, and I followed every step. I saw therapists. I bought a dog. I even tried going to AA meetings.

Let me just clarify: going to AA meetings did not keep me sober. I went to meetings, but I didn’t get a sponsor or work the steps, and I ended up back in treatment.  I do not want to downplay the importance of meetings. I regularly attend meetings and I definitely think they are important to long-term sobriety. However, meetings alone could not keep me sober.

Why meetings are so important to long-term sobriety:  Fellowship

Without meetings, I would not have met most of the wonderful people in my life today. I would not get to hear the experience, strength, and hope of fellow alcoholics. I feel at home at AA meetings, surrounded by people who have survived many of the same things I have. To this day, I hear speakers that open my eyes to the world around me.

Why meetings are so important to long-term sobriety:  Accountability

In my addiction, I often isolated myself. Usually, when I fell off the map for a while, it meant things were getting really bad. I’d be holed up somewhere, getting high, while I declined every call that came in on my cell. Eventually, people stopped calling or my phone would get shut off because I didn’t pay the bill. It was a sad, lonely existence, but it served me well. If I was alone, no one could criticize me for my choices, make me feel guilty for using, or monitor how much I was using. I wasn’t accountable to anyone.

Meetings are important to long-term sobriety because they help me stay accountable to other people. If I’m not there, people ask me why. If I show up and I’m clearly upset or in my head, there are people there that notice.

Why meetings are so important to long-term sobriety: Helping others

The number one reason that meetings are so important to long-term sobriety is that they allow me to carry the message to newcomers, which is our primary purpose in recovery: to carry the message to the addict who still suffers. If I don’t go to meetings, I don’t get to see these newcomers or pick up new sponsees. Taking another woman through the steps is very important to long-term sobriety, at least in my case.

All-in-all, I’ve learned to love meetings. I no longer see it as a “chore” to have to go to a meeting. In fact, when I start looking at it as a chore, that’s probably when I need a meeting the most. To give one hour of my life to my recovery in a day is a pretty good deal.

If you need help with your addiction please call us at 800-507-7389.

My roommate relapsed. What do I do?

My roommate relapsed
My roommate relapsed

When your roommate relapses it can be really scary for you. When someone you are living with and are close with decides to start using and drinking again all sense of security in your living space goes out the window. So the question now is, if your roommate relapses what do you do?

You have three options if your roommate relapses.

The first option is you can just let it go. If you just let it go though you have to understand that you can expect nothing from your roommate anymore. This means that you cannot expect him or her to pay rent on time, respect your things, respect your living space, etc. Addicts and alcoholics in the grips of a relapse are not usually thoughtful of other people’s feelings, belongings, spaces, time etc. Living with your roommate that has relapsed is definitely something you can do but it is definitely not your best option either.

Your second option is to ask them to seek treatment. If your roommate had any amount of clean time before he or she relapsed then they might want help they just don’t know where to go for it. Asking them if they would be willing to go to detox or treatment would be a great place to start. If they are not willing to go to detox or treatment and their using and drinking is really bad you may want to think about having an intervention for your roommate. You can involve their family, an interventionist, whatever you think is necessary. You will probably have to put an ultimatum on your roommate if they aren’t willing to go. This means you may have to say if you don’t go to treatment you can’t live here anymore. If your roommate decides they will go to treatment that is great! Let them know you will be there for them no matter what because they are choosing to do the right thing.

The third option if your roommate relapses is to kick them out or tell them they need to find another place to go until they get help. This is closely related to the second option of getting them help except you aren’t going to put yourself in the process. If your roommate relapses you can ask them to leave until they go to detox and get their act cleaned up or you can just ask them to leave for good. If your roommate that has relapsed is really volatile just kicking them out may be your best option. If they are somewhat still ok you may want to help them find detox and treatment not just kick them out on the street. Either way you really should protect your space, your living situation, and yourself by either offering to help them get to detox and treatment or telling them they need to leave until they do so.

If your roommate relapses and you are wondering what do I do; it is fairly simple. You just have to make sure that you are ok with making them upset if they aren’t willing to leave or get treatment and doing what you need to do to keep yourself safe. In the long run getting your roommate help through intervention or treatment no matter how mad they are could save their life. The same goes with kicking them out for the time being. Letting them stay, while it is an option, could end up hurting you and your roommate more than you could possibly imagine.

If you need help with your addiction please call us at 800-507-7389.