- Why do Alcohilics relapse??

Why do Alcohilics relapse??




Discussions related to 12 Step Recovery and Treatment

Why do Alcohilics relapse??

Postby txsuperman » Tue Jul 28, 2009 12:19 pm

We all know people who have had the spiritual awakening and pissed it away by resting on those laurels - as the expression goes.

Notice Step Eleven is not to "obtain" consscious contact with God but to INCREASE it! The reason for that is because by the time we are doing Step Eleven we have already established it an already recovered - now we have to GROW it! Failure to 'grow" is as good as going backwards for us.
OK. Enough The reason is "failure to enlarge" the spiritual life.
There is no other reason for an alcoholic relapse - not hard times - not refusing to go to a treatment center or do what an "addictions counselor" says. None if that. It also is not depression - not going into slippery places - not going to enough meetings, not doing 90 in 90 or not getting a sponsor or a Home Group. As a matter of fact NONE of that stuff even existed seventy years ago when thousands upon thousands of alcoholics where using the direction in the Big Book, "Alcoholics Anonymous" to fully recover from alcoholism and begin living wholly useful lives FREE from alcohol. They never put away a single folding chair, made a pot of coffee or bought a single package of cookies. Only failure to grow spiritually is the cause for relapse. That's IT!
Real alcoholics drink! NO MATTER WHAT! Until they recover. After that they drink only if they "flunk AA". To flunk out all one has to do it near to nothing. Go to meetings. Read the Big Book. Read The 12 & 12 and share. These are great ways way for a real alcoholic to relapse - in AA - right in plain sight of his fellows.
If I stay close to God, how can I fail? I CAN'T!!![/b]
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Postby gunner48 » Tue Jul 28, 2009 3:47 pm

First paragraph in chapter11 tells me exactly what I have to do to grow in my recovery. "NOTHING WILL SO MUCH INSURE MY IMMUNITY FROM DRINKING AS INTENSIVE WORK WITH OTHER ALCOHOLICS. IT WORKS WHEN OTHER ACTIVITIES FAIL."
Expierence shows me that. If you put me, god,a bottle of whiskey and a big book in a room together I will lie to God, use the big book as a coaster and drink the whiskey. Put another drunk in there and I will most likely pour the whiskey drown the drain and ask God for help. I must have several things lined up . A good Spirital Man in my life to talk to(sponsor if you like), other people in the program to remind me where I come from, A big book to follow directions from and God to direct my thinking and actions. It all works together.
Rarely have we seen a person fail that has throughly followed our path. I believe the path mentioned is the path back to God and a spirital life. 12 steps 12 spirital principles that I can rely on to take care of me.
Over the years I have had friends stop going to meetings and hanging out with other drunks. They went to church and things were good for them until things happened and they found themself once again on a island alone. Some drank and some came back to AA. I hope I never forget how important you other drunks are to my recovery.
After 20 years of being a member of this great program I still need you. AA will do fine After I'm gone but if AA goes I am Doomed.
I will go to my meeting tonight and share my hope. Will meet with my sponsor tomorrow for our weekly lunch date and call at least 2 other drunks today to see how they are doing. This stuff is FUN today.
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Postby txsuperman » Tue Jul 28, 2009 4:55 pm

Step 1. Admitted we WERE powerless over alcohol, that our lives had become unmanageable.

The word WERE is past tense. For me, I was powerless over alcohol. Now it has no power in my life. It doesn't dictacte where I go, what I do, or who I hang out with. The book tells me I can be around alcohol, serve it, have it in my house, or even go to bars. As long as i'm spiritually fit. The book tells me that God will SOLVE the drinking problem for me. So if you were to put me, God,a bottle of whiskey and a big book in a room together I would not drink. God removed the obsession to drink. If he has removed that obsession, then do the steps again. If I put alcohol in my body, then I would become powerless over it once more. Hope that cleared up my point of view.

I will go to meetings after 20yrs, after 50yrs if i'm still here. I don't think it's wrong. But for me, I don't go to meetings because I need them to keep me sober. God has solved the drink problem for me. I go to meetings to bear witness, and to search out a newcomer. In order for me to keep what I have, I have to give it to someone else...over, and over again. If I "NEED" a meeting, then I am not needing God.
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Postby angel143 » Tue Jul 28, 2009 5:17 pm

Thank you for taking the time to explain your viewpoint.

I am always appreciative when someone gives me their time to explain their way of seeing things.
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Postby gunner48 » Tue Jul 28, 2009 5:58 pm

Each person has their ways. What works for me may not work for others. The desire for boose was lifted from me long ago. I can be around booze if needed. I simply chose not to sit in a barber shop unless I need a hair cut. I chose to socialize with other who have the same illness as I. The statement of me in a room alone with a bottle, big book and god was just a statement of where I need not go. Lack of Power was my dilemna, never was it booze. By working the steps and developing a set of spirital principles by which I can live I no longer suffer from a Lack of Power
1. Am I honest with myself
2. Am I open minded to new ideals and concepts
3. Am I willing to let god work in my life
4. Have I experienced Humility
5. Am I free from the bondage of SELF
6. Am I willing to be the person God wants me to be
7. Am I eager to become that person
8. Do I have compassion for my fellow man
9. Have I experienced forgiveness ( both giving and recieving)
10. Am I growing
11. Have I accepted Love in my Life
12 Can I now Love back
If I keep doing the things I know are right for ME to do I will never have to worry about if I will drink again. Doesn't enter my mind these days unless I am working with someone new. Then I need to go back to what it was like for me and share my life so that person doesn't feel alone or different. Yes I go to 4 meetings a week. Get to meet new people. After all I am retired and it gets me out of the house. I get to see old friends. My home group lets me go to the treatment center once a month or so. WE share that blessing. I meet my sponsor weekly on Wed. We spend a lot of time talking about life together and about 30 minutes talking about AA stuff.
Yes the desire Has Been Lifted. Yes I have God in My life Today. Life has taken on a new meaning. To watch people recover, to see them help others, to watch loneliness vanish, to see a fellowship grow up about me, to have a host of friends---this is an experience I Must not miss. Frequent contact with newcomers and with each other is the bright spot of my life.

Peace and Love to everyone.
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Postby Dallas » Tue Jul 28, 2009 8:44 pm

txsuperman wrote:Why do alcoholics relapse?


1. They drink alcohol. The alcoholic, recovered or not, is still unable to manage staying sober on their own. Sooner or later, when they stop doing what they were doing that kept them away from taking the next first drink -- they'll take it. Or, they'll take it anyway.

The fact that I'm powerless over taking the next drink, regardless of how recovered I am, is the fact that makes me alcoholic.

If I'm no longer powerless over alcohol -- then, I'm no longer alcoholic. Period.

Perhaps, the best way to understand Step 1, instead of just saying "we admitted we were powerless over alcohol"... is to follow through with what that admission means.

It means to me, that I am alcoholic. I am powerless over my "alcoholism". Drunk, sober, cured, recovered... the fact is: I am powerless over my alcoholism -- and it's my alcoholism that makes my life unmanageable.

There's a neat little story of an alcoholic in the first part of Chapter 11 Vision for you. They guy is a sober AA. He's real confident in his recovery. His life is going well. And, he says something like he wouldn't even drink if he could!

The book goes on to call him a Sally. He's only fooling himself.

2. Some were still in relapse all along. They thought that they had recovered and we're no longer powerless over their alcoholism. Chapter Three, More about alcoholism explains this.

3. By Step 10, where we can be restored to sanity, it says we're not cocky or afraid. So, is that saying that if the alcoholic is cocky... he hasn't been restored to sanity yet? Yep. As the book explains "he only thought that he had recovered."

It's one thing to tell alcoholics "how it will work for you in 20 or 50 years"... when you haven't worked it that way for 20 or 50 years.. (that's called theory)... and it's another thing to stay sober for 20 or 50 years... that's called the facts of reality.

I'd suggest trying to stay sober for a few years doing whatever it is you're doing... and, if it works, that's great. And, if it fails, and you get another chance... you can always change your mind about how it works.

The mind. The mind. The mind. The problem centers in the mind.

The alcoholic mind -- is constantly telling the alcoholic "Hey! You're no longer powerless over alcohol! You're in fit spiritual condition! You're walking hand-in-hand with the Creator of the Universe!!! You've got it together man! You're recovered! ............... and it keeps telling us that, until one day a strange little voice in our head expresses an idea... "a little sippy poo... mixed with this or that -- will be okay for you!" OR WORSE YET... it says "nothing at all"........ it's totally silent, and you never knew what hit you, until you're looking at that glass in your hand having a moment of clarity of "how in the hell did this happen?"

That my friend, is the difference........... in a REAL ALCOHOLIC... and a problem drinker... that only thought they were alcoholic.

I believe the problem drinker can become cured. The problem drinker can recover to the point of being "recovered"... so, that they could actually go back to drinking again!

But, if you're the REAL ALCOHOLIC, like the Big Book was written for... and you no longer think you are powerless over you're alcoholism -- I'd suggest you go back to Step 1, and figure out what it means. Because you may have taken Steps 2 through 12, and feel really good and cocky about your sobriety... but, if you ever stop practicing Step 1, or... you never took it to begin with... you're just whistling in the dark.

Dallas B.
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Postby DiggerinVA » Wed Jul 29, 2009 6:24 am

I know I'm a REAL ALCOHOLIC. I kind of consider that a leg up on the problem. My Grandmothers sobriety spanned 4 decades. I have some advise from her and I believe if I am able to follow it, things will be OK. I say I hope I will not relapse. The biggest thing for me, from her advise is to accept the way of life and it is a good way of life. Then live it. That will keep me spiritual fit.
So 10 and 11 daily (more if needed) and 12 when God calls me. I've got a doozy of a project right now.
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Postby garden variety » Wed Jul 29, 2009 1:48 pm

Hiya Peeps,

I think Gunner and Superman pretty much hit the nail on the head.

I can say it short and simple which might get some folks that don't like "God-talk" slightly upset (don't worry, I know you'll be strong):

"Faith without works is dead."

Or I can use my favorite expression, because it was my idea, and it's ALWAYS all about me! :lol: :lol: :lol:

"CONSTRUCTIVE ACTION NEVER FAILS"

That sums up what I read in the book, and for me, this ACTUAL passage says everything I need to know about "relapse". Go to the bottom of page 14:

"For if an alcoholic failed to perfect and enlarge his spiritual life through work and self-sacrifice for others, he could not survive the certain trials and low spots ahead. If he did not work, he would surely drink again, and if he drank, he would surely die. Then faith would be dead indeed. With us [that would be "us alcoholics"] it is just like that."

These words are simple to me, but they are also ominous. Those WORDS OF WARNING from the book ought to be shouted out in experience, strength, and hope at every single AA meeting. That's the stuff I need to remember instead of that "AA Lite" garbage like "Don't drink, go to meetings, and pray".

And who is this "Shirly" :wink: character they talk about all over the book? I believe that "surely" written in the Big Book of AA means it's a for sure thing ("RELAPSE") that will happen if I don't heed the ominous warning. It's like some of those simple things that Jewish Carpenter fellow said in one of his books. "Surely" - - Sho' 'nuff!

Move on to page 84:

"We have entered the world of the spirit. Our next function is to grow in understanding and effectiveness. This is not an overnight matter. It should last a lifetime."

Plain and simple stuff, huh? "It" doesn't happen overnight." So why fart around with watered-down "abrieviated AA" slogans like telling newcomers to "Take the cotton out of your ears and put it in your mouth." Yup, out of the mouths of 20, 30, and more years sober men and women, spout forth this abbrieviated crud. Then the same crud is parroted by 2-3 year sober folks who now know everything. :roll:

I also better not OVERLOOK that word that comes after "understanding". I'm also supposed to grow in EFFECTIVENESS. The only measure I have to determine if I'm growing in understanding is my EFFECTIVENESS. In other words that means to me, I test out "my" growth in spiritual understanding on "we". How effective is my self-sacrifice and unselfish constructive action? Don't ask "me", ask "we". If you want to know how effectively I'm growing spiritually, ask my girlfriend, my mother, my boss, my neighbor - or if you REALLY want to go DEEP - ask my rival or enemy! :shock:

Then knowing I need to do something that "lasts a lifetime", well, by God, that means its gonna take my whole darn life to do!!!

I'm supposed to "PERFECT and enlarge", not just "enlarge" (nuttin' personal, txsuperman). How am I supposed to "PERFECT" my spiritual life when the dam book says we are not saints and these are just guidelines to spirtual progress and not perfection?

Well heck! I don't know exactly how any of us are supposed to "perfect" our spiritual life. The only thing I pretty much understand is that I'm supposed to be practicing sobriety in all my affairs, and it's gonna take a lifetime to get that job done.

"ALL" of my affairs is another one of those "forever-infinite" things. Not just with alcoholics, not just in the meetings of AA. But every doggone place my foot steps.

So if I don't want to "relapse", well I just need to read the darn book and stop listening to abbrieviations of the book. That means every single darn word like "perfect" and "effectiveness" even though the rest of the sentence sounds good without them. Then as I'm reading the darn book, I get one of those darn sponsor fellows who's already read the darn book, and I ask him/her to teach me how to make actions come out of them darn words in that darn book.

Over here in northeast Ohio, I have NEVER seen a man or woman relapse while they were actively helping another alcoholic to achieve sobriety, or practicing the AA principles in ALL their affairs. That's a pretty good record for plain and simple "suggestions" from that Big Ol' Blue Book.
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Postby Dallas » Wed Jul 29, 2009 6:42 pm

During my 8292 consecutive days & nights... of being sober in AA, with no drinks, drugs, pot, powders or any other stuff in between... the one major lesson that I've learned is this:

We can all have different ideas, beliefs, concepts, thoughts, unbeliefs, faith or no faith, God or no God, sane or insanity, recover, recovery, recovered, sponsor or no sponsor, ideas on spiritual, spirituality, fit spiritual condition, unfit spiritual condition, .......... or whatever.......... and still stay sober! :lol:

We only have to believe, it seems to me, in one thing:

1. We can no longer drink alcohol -- at all -- nor whatsoever, in any form, shape or fashion!

And, the one thing that we ALL must do to stay sober is:

1. Work.

We can disagree on everything else and we often do disagree on everything else. We can believe all kinds of sane, insane, corny or logical ideas about everything... EXCEPT that it's okay to take the next first drink.

The work is the common solution mentioned near the bottom of the first page of Chapter 2, "There is a solution"...

Our book says... that WE COULD all agree absolutely... on the Solution... the 12 Steps. And, why we don't all agree on them absolutely... is probably due to our alcoholic Egos.

But, to me, as I see it, and as I've seen it in the last 8292 days, it's the WORK that will keep us sober. Regardless, of God and everything else there is a Power Greater than all of us... in the 12 Steps, if taken and applied.

The work is not about working on me, either.

The first 11 Steps prepare me for THE WORK. Step 12, tells me to GO TO WORK. And, without THE WORK... everything, regardless of what it is, will fail to keep me sober.

I can believe in God as much as Jesus did... and have as much faith as He did... but, there is a huge difference:

a. He was not alcoholic and I am alcoholic.
b. He had his work He had to do, and as a sober alcoholic -- I have my work that I have to do.

In the end, if I'm looking up to the heavens and asking "Father, Father! Why have you forsaken me!" I already know what the answer will be... it will be "Because you weren't working!"

You might be able to tell a tree by the fruits it bears... but a tree that bears no fruit... is only good for the bar or the fireplace.... or both!

Paul, mentioned it above in his quote from our book:

Big Book wrote:If he did not work, he would surely drink again, and if he drank, he would surely die.


PERIOD. The work works... when EVERYTHING ELSE FAILS...

Bill Wilson was not too spiritual nor did he have much faith when he stood in the lobby of the Mayflower Hotel... KNOWING that HE WAS GOING TO DRINK AGAIN... if he didn't find another alcoholic!

He didn't get on the phone looking for a prayer meeting a prayer partner or prayer, or a revival... or to get spiritual .... He got on the phone frantically searching for another alcoholic to carry the message to him.

Bill knew two things:

1. He's alcoholic and he WILL DRINK AGAIN...
2. And, his ONLY HOPE of not drinking again, was to find another alcoholic and try to help that other acoholic to achieve sobriety.

That was it. That was AA in a nutshell. And, that nut, with those nutty ideas... impregnated the world with Alcoholics Anonymous. And, in a few days... a few weeks... another sober alcoholic was born, that would stay sober until the day he died.

This principle is examplified ind Dr. Bob's story. "If we're going to stay sober... we better get busy and find us another alcoholic to work on!"

He didn't say "If we're going to stay sober... we better hit our knees, polish up our message, insure we've got faith, or get spiritually fit, or recover, recovered, or whatever.......... He didn't say we better start a meeting or go to a meeting or find a sponsor!"

He simply said "If we're going to stay sober we better find us another alcoholic to work on!" And, they looked and they finally found Bill D., AA #3... and immediately they started looking for #4................

Sometimes, we can be focused on the black on the white... the ink on the pages in the Big Book... and we can find all of this profound and complex ideas........ and right in the middle of profundity... there are a couple or three or four words... that we miss entirely.

That's why Dr. Bob, said "Keep it simple. Don't louse it up with all kinds of Fruedian ideas or theology"....

a. You can't drink.
b. Go to work.

AA is not a program of Thinking... it's a program of ACTION. It's a program of DOING.

They told me a long time ago... when you spend too much time thinking you'll not be spending enough time doing! Leave the thinking to the Philosophers and Scientists... Leave the Psychology to the experts... Let the Theologians and preachers take care of the religious stuff... We as ALCOHOLICS that are sober in AA... have ONE JOB TO DO... ONE PURPOSE FOR GOD TO ALLOW US TO STAY HERE AND BE SOBER... and that is "TO BE TRYING TO HELP ANOTHER ALCOHOLIC TO ACHIEVE SOBRIETY!"

Why do so many spend so much time trying to convert other AA's "to their way of thinking?"... I think that question is just as important as "Why does an alcoholic relapse?"

If you've got too much time on your hands to spend thinking, and recruiting and convincing and converting......... I can tell you now... you're not busy doing THE WORK.

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Postby Tim » Thu Jul 30, 2009 2:20 pm

Good discussion! I have nothing further to add or subtract from what's already been written.
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