“It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that if you want to stay sober you don’t go into a bar, order a drink, and sit and look at it. There’s a technical term for folks who test themselves that way: relapsers.”
A doctor who treats himself has a fool for a patient.
That applies double to non-doctors — two fools for the price of one.
I answer a couple of dozen emails and blog comments a week, dealing with various aspects of addiction and recovery. Every now and then it becomes clear that someone wants me to cosign a desire to experiment with using again. Most often it’s folks who want to know if I think it would be OK for them to have a glass of wine at dinner occasionally, or folks who have stopped using some drugs but want to go on using another (usually marijuana). So I think it’s time to write a few words about this particular form of denial.
Addicts in early recovery often think they can overcome the effects of relapse triggers, despite having spent a long time proving otherwise.
Valentine’s Day is one of our oldest Western holidays, dating back to the 5th Century. Valentine was executed for performing the wrong marriages, subsequently declared a saint, and ever since we have associated his feast day with love, marriage and general togetherness.
We’re told “No relationships in the first year” and here it is, the Relationship Day, so I thought I’d discuss relationships in recovery…
Now that we’ve had a Merry Christmas, let’s look ahead to the start of a sober New Year: the last day of this year and the first few hours of 2013. Back in The Day, we used to call New Year’s Eve “Amateur Night.” Be that as it may, there is no question that December 31st and the early hours of the following year are the premier venues for chemically-enhanced “fun.”
Traditionally, on New Year’s Eve the rules are loosened up a bit and behavior that would be looked at askance (at best) on other occasions is tolerated and even encouraged. That being the case, it’s a minefield for people in recovery, especially newcomers. So we here at Sunrise Detox thought we’d share some of the strategies that have helped us have a sober new year.
More from the Sunrise Detox Blog:
We all know that most relapses occur in the first few months after we get clean and sober. Many of them are related to Post-acute Withdrawal Syndrome. We talked about PAWS in a previous post, but I wanted to go into it more specifically here….
More details here: PAWS: Why We Don’t Get Better Overnight
Glamorous tales abound of high-rollers losing millions in a night, but the sad truth is most gambling addicts go bankrupt one scratch card at a time.
One of the first things we hear in recovery, both in treatment and around the rooms of the support groups, is “No new relationships in the first year.” If it’s not one of the first things we hear, it’s certainly one of the first things that get our attention.
That’s hardly surprising. Emotions that have been suppressed by alcohol and other drugs are suddenly bubbling to the surface with none of the edges knocked off. Add to that the fact that we’re feeling at loose ends, with all that time on our hands that we formerly spent using, and the fact that we really don’t want to face life directly yet, and we’re ripe for distraction. Since rehab romances are one of the most common issues in early recovery, it crosses our minds, “Why not, as long as the other person is in recovery too? We’ll have so much in common!” Read more..
Some addicts believe that the 12 steps can solve all their problems. But they’re designed to treat addiction—not depression, anxiety, and the like. So how do you know when you need a therapist, and what kind do you need?
For many people (especially those of us in the northern hemisphere) September is the beginning of fall, and with the fall months come the winter blues, or worse, Seasonal Affective Disorder. The time to start prepping for those dark and gloomy cold-weather days is now, before the sun and warmth are gone completely.
Get thee to a meeting!
Previously we mentioned that the pleasure center is a portion of the brain over which we have no conscious control, and that it can be stimulated by a variety of chemicals — some of them produced inside our bodies and some that we introduce from outside. We said that the pleasure center rewards us for activities that it interprets as contributing in some way to our survival, whether they be social interactions, exercising, or more prosaic things such as eating. We also stated that these pleasurable feelings, when pursued too far or for too long can create problems. Now we need to examine how that happens….
Both of my faithful readers will by now have noticed that I’m not posting very regularly on this site. It’s not though lack of interest, and I didn’t relapse (in fact, I just celebrated my 21st sober anniversary on 9/14/10).
Thing is, I’ve taken a part-time job writing for a recovery site, and I don’t have time to maintain both blogs. Since the other (paid) job covers the same territory, and since I have the potential to reach more people, it was a no-brainer. I’ll continue to post here from time to time, but it will be irregular at best.
I invite you all to subscribe to my posts at the Sunrise Detox Blog. (Click the thingy at the bottom left of the page.) Thanks for visiting WhatMeSober.Com, and thanks for your interest.
Keep on keepin’ on,
I received this letter as a comment on another site. It is reproduced with the permission of the writer. Edited for clarity in one place (brackets).
I’ve been smoking pot for about 3 years now, and was smart enough never to get into anything hard because that would equal death.
Around 16 yrs. of age I was put in a juvinile program “rehab” due to all my marijuana tickets. Things were alright for the first couple weeks without out my bud, but as they days went on things became very dysfunctional. I always felt stoned without out the euphoria. My reflexes were slow, I was socially impaired, i couldn’t concentrate, and had mad swings of emotions. I’ve never cryed as much as I did that year. I felt suicidal and very depressed.
I’ve been going on what I call smoking binges for awhile now. I smoke literally all day. I couldn’t work or go to school, because by the time i smoked a few bowls i would be completely sober in a half hour. I had to be high. My tolerance became to high and the bud was not enough, no matter how much i smoked i couldn’t get high because i always felt fried, wihtout the euphoria.
I was wondering if PAWS could [result from] HEAVY MARIJUANA USE? I’ve been having these symptoms for over 3 years now, because everytime i sober up i make usually to 4 months and every thing is so dysfunctional and scary i relapse into another binge. THank you SO MUCH FOR THE SUPPORT.
All 12-step programs use some variation of the following as their first step: “We admitted we were powerless over (insert addiction here)–that our lives had become unmanageable.” Many of us had trouble admitting to ourselves that we were powerless, and in some cases were unable to come to terms with the idea that our lives were unmanageable. So here’s as simple an explanation as I can come up with.