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"Recovering in AA, Relapse when they stop going to AA "
by Toby Rice Drews
by Toby Rice Drews
When a recovering-in-A.A. alcoholic has relapses in the first few weeks/months of his/her journey of recovery, I don't believe those are 'relapses' per se..... the person has just not yet gotten sober.
But when a person in A.A. has years of sobriety, and drinks again -- here are some thoughts on this.......
a. 99% of people who drink again after years of sobriety have stopped going to A.A. meetings ---- or cut down greatly on those meetings til they were almost non-existent b. the others almost always have come bumping up against issues that they think they cannot deal with, or cannot stand.
Some of those issues are ------
1. never having really thoroughly laid to rest the need for the hyper-excited atmosphere that goes along with much alcoholic drinking
2. sexual or gambling addiction issues
3. clinical depression or bipolar disorders 4. When coming back into the rooms of A.A. after a relapse, most people think the real problem is embarrassment//guilt//shame.....but I believe those are immediate hurdles, but not the real problem.
The real issue is, has the person truly started to look at the disease process in terms of the progression of alcoholism?
What are some of the facts that one needs to look at, to prevent future relapses?
1. The oldtimers in A.A. say, "it takes three to five years to get out of the woods"..... Basically it means that the brain damage needs TIME to clear up. I've seen many an alcoholic who, when coming into A.A., had difficulty articulating clear sentences.....their speech patterns were disjointed.....and it usually takes about 7 years for that to totally clear up.
Brain damage in alcoholism is very frightening...... once a person reaches a certain point of "wet brain", there is no going back...... it is irretrievable brain damage and the back wards of mental institutions have many hundreds of thousands of people in them who drank to the point of no return.
And people who "go in and out" of A.A. often tell themselves four things--
(a.) "I'll just go right back to the meetings if I drink again"
(b.) "time in A.A. doesn't matter"
(c.) "we only have today"
(d.) "I see some people with longterm sobriety that have lousy sobriety, as far as I'm concerned..... I wouldn't want their idea of sobriety"
What are they really saying to themselves and others? What are they really believing about themselves and about this disease?
(a.) they are telling themselves -- "I don't believe the oldtimers in A.A. who say, "you can know you have another "drunk" in you..... but you can't know if you have another "recovery" in you." (what does that mean? it means that one of those times you "go back out drink", you may not have the choice, anymore, to "come back in" to A.A...... you may have lost the choice because of the disease process's working on the brain and central nervous system.
(b.) they don't believe the facts of the disease of alcoholism...... one of the facts is that it takes un-interrupted sobriety time for the brain and central nervous system to continue to recover.
(c.) with relapses occurring, the disease continues its progression. (d.) When they tell themselves that "longterm sobriety is only really good if it is "quality" sobriety"..... they are unconsciously and subtly telling themselves that it's ok to drink again if they don't have "quality sobriety" in the future.
What is the truth about that? ------ Everyone's life goes up and down...... and everyone has times ----even long times -----that they feel they handle badly. ------ Your ego, your guilt, your morals, your ANYTHING, cannot be "neck and neck" with your sobriety........ because at least if you don't drink, you have a shot at straightening your behavior out. If you drink, though, your behavior will automatically get worse despite any good intentions you may have.
And if you don't drink, the chances are, you won't kill a child on the road while you're driving. And if you don't drink, the chances are, you won't screw up the judgment part of your brain and tell yourself that "you can handle it when you drink and drive."
One more thing-- when someone says of an oldtimer in A.A. who acts arrogant and nasty-- "oh, he's better off if he goes out and drinks..... maybe he'll get humbled by it and act better when he comes to meetings again."-- What do I think of that statement? Well, again, who's to say he'll be able to get back in A.A.? And isn't his behavior better (for the world and his family!) if he's sober rather adding alcohol to the mix? ..... And again, very important-- he might kill someone on the highway before he "comes back to A.A. and gets humbled".
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