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Need Help - Relape

Posted: September 22, 2021, 4:28 PM
Hello everyone - wish I was writing with more uplifting content.

As I wait for my doctor's to admit me into a rehab facility, I was hoping that anyone could share with me some content (article, movies, clips.. anything!) that I can give to my parents. They can't comprehend how I could relapse after 4 and a half years of sobriety and a great life.

I just want them to understand how my brain works, and how I can't really comprehend it either.

Any help is incredibly appreciated

Posts: 293
Joined: October 20, 2007

Posted: September 23, 2021, 8:07 AM
Hi Kyle,
First of all I want to say huge congratulations on achieving four years plus sober. That is absolutely amazing and here's the good news will reach that milestone again one day at a time.

Please don't look upon your need to enter rehab as a failure. Look upon it as a chance to start over and to identify the triggers that caused you to relapse in the first place. They say that picking up a drink is at the end of a long slippery road that first begins with a mental and emotional relapse. Were you perhaps 1) bottling up emotions; 2) isolating; 3) not going to meetings; 4) going to meetings but not sharing; 5) focusing on others (focusing on other people’s problems or focusing on how other people affect them)?? Any of these can be triggers.

If you need to show your parents something there are a wealth of 'scientific' articles on relapse and relapse prevention. But instead maybe show them this thread. I have 14 years sober now but that was only AFTER 5 /6 years of constant relapsing. Every time I went back to AA with my tail between my legs feeling like a complete failure and only waiting for someone to say "get out, you don't belong here." But they didn't say that. They said "Welcome back. It gets better one day at a time". And you know what? It did.

But first I had to completely and unequivocally accept that I was an alcoholic and I would never be able to drink like the rest of them. No matter how hard I tired, how many different strategies I tried. Alcohol would lick me eventually. I did the suggested things. I got a sponsor, got a Higher Power into my life, developed some humility and gratitude and slowly but surely things started to change.

Kyle, it gets better. You need never have another hangover again. You can do this. Somewhere inside of you, you know you can. Do this for YOU. Not your parents, or friends, or anyone else. Do this because you deserve a peaceful, good, full life.

The best of luck to you friend. Please keep coming back to ARG. It is a fantastic resource and helped me tremendously in my early days of getting sober. It will help you too.

The very best of wishes to you.

Posts: 6374
Joined: January 5, 2008

Posted: September 23, 2021, 4:08 PM
The Phenomenon of Craving
The Big Book on page xxiv (The Doctor's Opinion) says that an alcoholic has an "allergy to alcohol". An
allergy is an abnormal reaction to any food, liquid or substance. If nine out of ten people have one reaction
and one out of ten people have a different reaction, then the reaction of the one out of ten crew is abnormal.
It also says on page xxvi that "the action of alcohol on an alcoholic is a manifestation of an allergy; that the
phenomenon of craving is LIMITED to this class and NEVER occurs in the average temperate drinker." (A
phenomenon is something that you can see but can't explain). "These allergic types can NEVER safely use
alcohol in ANY FORM AT ALL". Then on page 22, "We know that while the alcoholic keeps away from
drink, as he may do for months or years, he reacts much like other men. We are equally positive that once
he takes ANY ALCOHOL WHATEVER into his system, something happens, both in the bodily and mental
sense, which makes it virtually impossible for him to stop." This includes substances that contain alcohol
like mouthwash, cold remedies, some chocolates, food prepared with alcohol, etc.). Your body doesn't know
if you are having a drink or taking Nyquil for a cold, it only senses alcohol and begins to process it. It also
says on page xxviii that, "all the different classifications of alcoholics have ONE symptom in common: they
CANNOT start drinking without developing the phenomenon of craving. This phenomenon may be the
manifestation of an allergy which differentiates these people, and sets them apart as a distinct entity." Dr.
William D. Silkworth, M.D. who at that time had nine years experience specializing in the treatment of
alcoholics and drug addicts, wrote this in the late 1930’s. He called it a "phenomenon of craving" because at
that time there was no way to study metabolism. Since then, science has proven his theory as correct.
The following is an explanation of what happens when alcoholics put alcohol into their bodies, and how it
is a completely different experience compared to non-alcoholics. No wonder why non-alcoholics can't relate,
and make statements like, "Can't you just stop after one or two drinks?" It shows why alcoholics can use
their willpower against everything EXCEPT alcohol.
Alcoholics make up about 12% of the population. The body of the alcoholic is physically different than
the body of someone who is not an alcoholic. The liver and pancreas of the alcoholic process alcohol at
one-third to one-tenth the rate of a normal pancreas and liver. As alcohol enters the body, it breaks down
into its various components, one of which is acetate. We know now that acetate triggers a craving for more
acetate. In a normal drinker, the acetate moves quickly through the system and exits. But that doesn't
happen in an alcoholic. In alcoholics, the acetate of the first drink is barely processed out, so by staying in
their body, it triggers a craving for more acetate. The alcoholic then has a second drink, now adding to most
of the acetate of the first drink, and that makes them want a drink twice as much as the normal drinker. So
they have another. Then, having almost three times the craving as a normal drinker, they have another.
You can see from that point how alcoholics have no control over how much they drink. The craving cycle
has begun and they have no choice but to keep drinking. Once the acetate accumulates in their body, and
that begins to happen with only ONE drink, they will crave another. And how many times does an alcoholic
think it would be nice to have JUST ONE drink to relax, but has many more? Now you see why. AND THIS
On top of THAT (like it's not bad enough already), alcohol is a poison because it destroys human tissue.
The two organs that alcohol damages the most are the liver and the pancreas. So the more the alcoholic
drinks as time passes (or doesn't drink, because the liver and pancreas also deteriorate naturally as we
age), the less their body is able to processes the acetate. THAT is why alcoholism is a progressive, fatal
illness. Bill W. says on page 30, "We are convinced to a man that alcoholics of our type are in the grip of a
progressive illness. Over any considerable period we get worse, NEVER better." Pretty revealing, huh. It
explains many things I never before understood.
But if you think about it, we never have to deal with ANY of this if we DON'T put alcohol into our bodies in
the first place. So the MAIN problem of the alcoholic centers in their mind and in their spiritual condition. My
mind tells me that it's okay to TAKE the first drink and doesn't see that what I'm about to do is harmful
(otherwise known as the alcoholic’s mental obsession or our powerlessness), and if I'm NOT spiritually fit I
can't STAND being sober because my thinking and emotions are too uncomfortable (otherwise known as the
spiritual malady or our unmanageability). So whether they’re drinking or not an alcoholic is powerless over
alcohol, because of the mind and the body; and their life is unmanageable, especially their INNER life,
because of their spiritual condition. Coincidentally, the Steps deal DIRECTLY and EFFECTIVELY with both
our spiritual condition and with the mental obsession. BUT, the way the alcoholic’s body handles alcohol will
ONLY get worse as time passes, so there is NOTHING we can do about the physical feature of alcoholism
except staying away from the first drink.
So that's the simple definition of what it means to be an alcoholic - we can't handle DRINKING (because
of the mental obsession and the physical allergy) and we can't handle NOT drinking (because of the spiritual
Barefoot Bill

Thank God for what you have. Trust God for what you need

Posted: September 23, 2021, 4:24 PM
Ruth, Bill... thank you. I really needed that.

I know that you have never met me, nor owe me anything, so it really means a lot that you took the time to reach out with your support.

I'm on day 2 now... ready to get back to work and get those 4 (+400) years back

God bless and thank you again!

Posts: 6374
Joined: January 5, 2008

Posted: September 24, 2021, 6:49 AM
Hi Kyle congratulations on day 2. I relapsed after having 19 months of sobriety. My family was very upset and angry at me. I would go on to drink off and on for another year each time vowing it would be the last time. When the last drunk I had was the worse one ever I made the decision to go to a treatment center ,where I learned about my disease and also learned tools and had counseling etc etc.. That was in 2010 . In August of this year I celebrated 11 years of sobriety living one day at a time. I wish you all the best and please keep coming back and let us know how you are doing. Just take it one day at a time because no matter how many weeks, months or years of sobriety we rack up we all just have one day. Take care

This post has been edited by pirate on September 24, 2021, 6:55 AM

Thank God for what you have. Trust God for what you need

Posts: 4174
Joined: July 18, 2006

Posted: September 27, 2021, 7:55 AM
Sobriety is more than just not drinking. What we really have is a daily reprieve, contingent on our spiritual condition. We needed help from something other than our own thinking to battle this disease.
"Normal" people don't understand this disease--a disease of the mind AND body--that bewitches us while in the throes of drinking. Oddly, when we work a program of principles and actions, we have an opportunity to create a new and lasting sobriety in which we can face any set of problems that may come our way. There IS a solution.
WE are the problem and until WE are willing to face that problem the loved ones around us will suffer mightily.
Seek out others who suffer from alcoholism and ask them how they did it. One day at a time.


Faith is not belief without proof, but trust without reservation.

Posts: 53
Joined: April 26, 2020

Posted: September 28, 2021, 9:45 AM
People who haven't had addictions dont understand how hard it can be sometimes to stay away from your addictions, I just walk away from any conversation where people are talking about getting high or glorifying their past addictions. i never interject myself into their conversations.

Posts: 4174
Joined: July 18, 2006

Posted: September 30, 2021, 8:19 AM
Whenever anyone reaches out for help I want the hand of AA to always to be there and for that, I am responsible.

Our primary purpose it to stay sober and to help others achieve sobriety.

Someone helped me (lots of folks and many who used to show up here) and I'm asked to pay it forward without any expectations of repayment. Service--it's a by-product of Spiritual Principles found in the Twelve Steps of AA.


Faith is not belief without proof, but trust without reservation.

Posted: April 19, 2023, 9:16 AM
Hi, there's a Family & Friends forum on this message board that should help them better understand.

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