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Relapse Justifications

Many people think that in times where life gets hard, people in recovery from addiction and alcoholism are likely to relapse. This leads some people in recovery to hold certain events as excuses to be able to drink or use again. People think to themselves “If a family member dies” or “If I get into a bad car accident” “I will be able to use then.” They come up with certain reservations to justify a relapse. Even implicit reasons that are held in our brains are NOT okay for us. The only reason people relapse is because they are not doing what they need to do to stay sober one day at a time.

Magz, the author of a blog called Sober Courage, discussed how she kept a list of reasons she will be able to justify a relapse if it happens again. She explains how she has relapsed although it was not because of any of her all ready planned list but because of a divorce. To me, I DO NOT think that this sort of excuse making is healthy. I also believe that putting labels on “reasons” that one relapsed is running away from taking responsibility for one’s own actions.

As I look back at the multiple failed attempts I have had in the past to get sober, I can see the many mistakes I made in not fully committing to recovery and Alcoholics Anonymous. I used AA as an excuse for negative behavior by twisting the words of fellows. I never gave my full will up to my higher power and I never changed my actions and took responsibility for my actions.

The ONLY reason I can say took part in my relapses is the lack of commitment to the program of Alcoholics Anonymous and the 12 steps. When I hear people not taking responsibility for losing touch with their program and placing blame on outside issues for their relapse, I get frustrated. Relapse rarely has anything to do with outside issues. As a recovering alcoholic and addict I know that I can face anything in my life that is good or bad and be OKAY! I do not have to be scared about relapsing because of certain events possibly arising in my life.

DO NOT let anyone fool you. Everyone in recovery can work through everything that goes on in life with the help of the tools given to us in AA. We do not have to be scared of alcohol or drugs.

“And we have ceased fighting anything or anyone- even alcohol. For by this time sanity will have returned. We will seldom be interested in liquor. If tempted, we recoil from it as from a hot flame. We react sanely and normally, and will find that this has happened automatically. We see that our new attitude toward liquor has been given us without any thought or effort on our part. It just comes! That is the miracle of it. We are not fighting it, neither are we avoiding temptation. We feel as though we had been placed in a position of neutrality- safe and protected. We are have not even sworn off. Instead, the problem has been removed. It does not exist for us.” – Alcoholics Anonymous, Works Publishing Company, New York City, 1939.

#sobercommunity #livesober

2 thoughts on “Relapse Justifications

  1. Hello. Thanks for using my post to make your point. But your point is not what I was trying to say. And outside issues are often the reason people relapse – it’s often why people drink. So yes. We need to be ready for those events and be extra diligent. Also, you seem to put a lot of judgement on the relapse as a failure. But people relapse because it’s part of the process – people dieting relapse often too they just call it “cheating.” My post was to show that even though I had a list of possible reasons to drink I was aware of those and ready to tackle when they came – however I wasn’t ready for divorce. And yes we must be diligent to stay sober with which ever program or path we chose (because AA is not the only one!) however relapse happens and the most important part of it is that we do not shame ourselves or allow others to shame us into failure – instead we find a way to get back up, and are able to gather the strength to return to our sobriety and recovery. Because putting more shame on relapse will make it impossible to come back and for many that means a certain death.

  2. Hello, I also did not mean to “shame relapse”. Relapse happens. It is often part of people’s journeys. It is not failure, it is a learning lesson. I have relapsed many times before I was able to get sober THIS time. I do not think that I failed, I think that there were things I was not ready to face and I was not fully ready to give up my will and give everything to MY program of action. I still had my “list” of “reasons to drink” which was completely unhealthy FOR ME. Having a back up plan, so to speak, or a list of justifications why it would be okay to drink in the future is not something that is healthy for MANY people. Those are not outside issues. They are merely what one often times does in order to hold out and be excited at the thought that they may be able to drink one day. In my recovery community, we see those as unhealthy and at the same time, it is part of the journey. Many people have those lists and need to go through the relapse that is to come with them to learn for their future that we can make it through ANYTHING without needing a drink or a drug. I have learned as part of my journey that I have to give up my will (including lists) and I do not need reasons to drink or not drink. I know that I cannot drink. I also know that I will not need to drink in times of hardships. I have people surrounding me to support me and I have tools to use that will help me. You see, my point is to show that you do not need to drink when times are hard. It does happen to some, but we have a certain freedom from drink with the recovery programs given to us that make it so that drinking does not need to be the solution to our problems.

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