Relapse

Used 2014-02-09 Relapse (AlKHall Sobriety Recovery)

The definition of ‘Addiction’

And when i say ‘Relapse’, i don’t mean mine but Philip Seymour Hoffman’s. He forgot that we cannot drink from the same river twice.

TMZ reported that Philip Seymour Hoffman’s swan dive into addiction started with a slip: a sip of alcohol. He had been clean for 23 years, and then had a drink at a wrap party and the rest, unfortunately, is history.

i have met people in AA who had decades of sobriety and watched it all slip away when they forgot they couldn’t even have one drink. Their horror stories of what it was like when they “went out” are one of the things that helps keep me sober.

Before i got sober, i wallowed in my alcoholism, wore it like a puke stain, felt proud about how i could binge with regularity and still balance home and work (here’s the secret: i couldn’t).

Five years ago, i was so cavalier about my drinking i started the other website (Diarrhea of a Chronicle Drinker), elected myself Functional Alcoholic Slurperson, established D.R.I.N.K.E.R. (Drunks Really Involved Now Known as Exiles Reunited), and founded the Bar None.

In recovery, one of the first best truths i learned was when a fellow AAer said, “I can never be cavalier about my drinking again.” i knew exactly what she meant as soon as she said it. i can choose to lose my sobriety whenever i want, but i cannot go back to the place i was before. i know too much, now.

Picking up the drink again would mean drinking with a vengeance and in a few weeks or months, i would be at the same place it took me thirty years to arrive at the first time. But the destination would be the same, except my life might not be saved.

Understanding that, and knowing the other option is happiness in recovery, make it easier for me to choose ‘sobriety’ each time.

Remember not to forget.

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About Al K Hall

Like a battered drinker or a punch drunk boxer, i am here for another round. For those of you who don’t know me, i’m a semi-professional writer on the rocks and a non-practicing alcoholic (if after 30 years of practicing, you still can't do something well, it's best to just give it up). For those of you who do know me, thanks for stopping by anyway and where’s the ten bucks you owe me? Welcome to my Bar None. A hole in the wall where we can hang out and trade the kind of stories you swap only when you’ve had one too many and either can’t find your way home or are afraid to. Hell, it’s cheaper than therapy and plus the pictures are prettier. Here we’ll crack open bottles and jokes and ‘last call’ are the only dirty words you’ll never hear. Pull up a stool and make yourselves at home. http://about.me/AlKHall

Posted on February 9, 2014, in Alcoholics Anonymous, Alcoholism, Lessons in Recovery, Recovery and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.

  1. Keeping it at the forefront of the mind is the principal aim I have in life today.

  2. It’s funny.. I had this thought yesterday ‘Ooohh… I can smoke pot whenever I want!!’.. and my naughty addicts brain got all excited at the thought.. Like I’d forgotten with all this sobriety stuff that it was only alcohol I can’t touch so Yay for me I can still get out of it on pot!! It was scary how exciting that thought felt.

    I don’t think I should touch pot either.

  3. Relapse is part of my story, and I know that every time I went out in the past, I drank with a vengeance, as you described in your blog. Closer to death each time. Thank God, this sobriety I worked the program with passion and surrender from the start. And continue to do so as best as I can. Now over 2.5 years sober, I can honestly say…I fear ever going out again. And I wish to stay sober and keep my seat in sobriety.

  4. So sad. He was great in Happiness and so many other movies.

    I remembered seeing him in a video talking about his role as Truman Capote and how he had insight into (Capote’s) heavy drinking lifestyle. He told his tale of how he gave up alcohol and drugs and how his life improved. I would count that interview as influencing me to quit my drinking.

    I think this article says it best:

    http://www.slate.com/articles/health_and_science/medical_examiner/2014/02/philip_seymour_hoffman_s_drug_death_the_science_of_addiction_recovery_and.html

  5. I used to think it was utter BS when I’d hear people say “alcoholism is a progressive disorder”. Now, I know it’s true. There was a time when 2-3 drinks truly was enough for me. I shit you not. There was no alcoholic compulsion present. But now, when I drink I MUST put the hardest of the hardest imbibers to shame. There’s no going back to The Land Of Moderation. That ship has long since sailed. As you so poignantly said, I know too much now. Now 2-3 drinks is not even getting warmed up. It’s a quaint little taste to begin the days-long binge. The tricky thing with a successful sobriety is that it’s easy to forget how bad it was. You feel happy and alive and you may even have a spring in your step, which can easily lead to relapse if you’re no vigilant. Every relapse I’ve ever had (each worse than the last, BTW) was the result of me being so strong and happy that I thought I could have that one drink. Afterall, “I’ve changed and I’m strong and happy now!!! how could one drink defeat me? It may have before but what are the odds it’ll knock on my arse this time?”
    *I know that was wordy but I had to get it off my chest*
    Cheers.

    • Colin!

      Thanks for getting it off your chest here, brother! Let’s hope we can stay sober, just for today, armed with the knowledge that drinking could never make our day any better. i appreciate the visit and the wisdom.

      Keep coming back,

      Al K Hall

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