I’ve been writing this post for months, in my head. Which is funny, because I didn’t really know I’d relapsed until last week.
I mean, I knew it. But I didn’t know it. I now see it’s why I stopped wanting to write this blog. Why I seemed to run out of things to share. I relapsed.
And it happened just like they said it would happen. How’s that? Continue reading.
1. I stopped having a healthy fear of relapse. I believed I would NEVER EVER EVER use again… I couldn’t see how I could possibly drink again. In short, I stopped being humble and let my ego and sense of self importance and self reliance take over.
2. I took pain medication for an abscess tooth. A lot of pain medication over a period of several months. While the pain I experienced was genuine, its remedy triggered the obsession. Before I knew it, I was back in it. Not using but thinking about it, fantasizing about it, ALL THE TIME.
3. I failed to share with my support network the quantity and duration of my pain killer use. I justified this by telling myself no one would understand; I would just be judged. The reality is that I would have found help had I opened up.
4. I failed to be honest with myself. And here’s the real kicker about honesty: it’s impossible to be honest with others when you can’t be honest with yourself.
5. I stopped going to meetings and blew off my sponsor.
6. I gradually stopped talking to anyone I’d met in recovery.
7. I even stopped talking my family and friends.
8. I began to isolate and feel sorry for myself, resentful of others.
9. I became utterly convinced I wasn’t an addict or alcoholic and that I could drink socially. Because I was cured and better. Or maybe I was never an alcoholic to begin with. Enter any number of delusional rationalizations.
10. I drank.
In writing this, I see, just like I heard from those before me, that a lot happened before I ever picked up that first drink of alcohol. In fact, five months lapsed from the time I began dealing with the abscess and when I drank that glass of white wine.
People told me, warned me, for years: You’re either on the path to recovery or the path to relapse. I thought I comprehended that statement before. I didn’t.
I’d like to take a moment to thank the Universe. Nothing bad happened to anyone else or myself as a result of my relapse. I was once again blessed with a “high bottom.” As in, no major externalities. Hurt feelings, yes. Fear, certainly. Guilt and shame? Unfortunately. How lucky I am. To be healthy, safe, and surrounded by loved ones who are healthy and safe and extending me more compassion than I can find for myself right now.
So, what do I need to do? Where do I go now? How do I recover?
I have to admit, out loud and to everyone, I am powerless over alcohol and drugs. I am not a social drinker who’s just depressed or a girl so scarred by her mother’s own drinking that she can’t think about alcohol rationally. Nope. I am an alcoholic. It’s there and if I don’t recover, it will eat me alive.
I have to keep talking. I hope that my experience can be useful to others, certainly, but I also know the way out and back into recovery is to share. It’s also the best way to combat shame, in my experience. Shame only serves to keep me stuck. No interest in that.
I also have to get back to meetings. I am going to one tonight and tomorrow morning. I have people who’ve offered to meet me at others throughout the week. I’ve set things in motion so that I can’t just crawl back into bed or rationalize sick behavior any longer. Which is terrifying and a big, fat relief– all at once.
Finally, I have to continue moving forward. I did this to myself. I allowed a sequence of events to take place so that I could relapse. It happened just like they said it would happen.
A dear friend listened to my story this afternoon. I feared his rejection, anger, and disgust. Instead I was met with a helping hand, love, and the following comment– Andrea, you are going to learn so much from this experience. You will be okay.
I know it will take a lot of work, and some time, but I think he’s right. My relapse is unfortunate but it’s also an awesome life lesson. I get to take something from this and then I get to let it go. I have been given another chance to try again. For that, I cannot begin to express my gratitude.
Thank you all of reading. Peace and love.