I’m like a dog with a bacon flavored chew toy. Once I get an idea in my head I can’t stop nibbling, until I’ve exhausted the subject and myself. Take relapse for instance. I wrote about relapse yesterday, because it seems to be top of mind in every recovery meeting I have attended. But then Kristen wrote a Facebook comment, “I have heard that the process of relapse begins long before the first drink is taken,” and I realized I had not begun to wear myself out on the subject.
I am sure the families and friends of those who relapse are surprised and guilty when it happens. As if they should have spied the warning signs or talked more openly and honestly. But let me remind everyone that alcoholics are a sneaky bunch, practiced in the art of obfuscation, and thinking about drinking is our dirtiest secret. Also, sobriety is really our responsibility..
Seven Ways to Not Relapse:
1. Stick with what works for you. DO NOT shake it up. I pray, write the blog, go to meetings, read literature and talk to my children and friends. When I stop doing these things I want someone to call me on it.
2. Do not romanticize drinking or the times you drank. I do talk about the good ole/bad ole drinking days because the stories are oftentimes funny, but they are more allegories than fond reminiscences and I never wish to be back there doing that. Never.
3. Work on your attitude. When I drank I was moody and angry and selfish – I try to remember it’s not all about me and to do something for someone else each day.
4. Bet cha can’t drink just one. I have written about this one. I do not ever think, “I have been sober for a while now, I can probably have a glass of wine with dinner…”
5. You really shouldn’t look up old drinking buddies or go to locations that are drinking triggers. There is a reason I avoid the entire Commonwealth of The Bahamas…
6. Do not get defensive or deny it, when you are called out for “pulling away from the positives”. See number one above.
7. Do not neglect your psychical, spiritual or mental health. Johan Hari says, “So the opposite of addiction is not sobriety. It is human connection.” More brilliant words were never spake. I try, every day to avoid the isolation that is natural to my addiction and to embrace community wherever I can find it.
You can do this.
I can do this.