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Addiction Lapses: Recognize, Plan & Prevent

Posted by @hopeful33250, Nov 5, 2017

Many in our Mayo Connect community have written about how alcoholism has affected their lives. Perhaps it was an alcoholic parent or spouse. Perhaps even you have dealt with alcohol abuse personally. As we all know the holidays are approaching and until the end of this year, alcohol will unfortunately be a “main ingredient” in many holiday celebrations.

I recently read a blog on the Smart Recovery website that offers some suggestions. Here is the link for you to look at and reflect upon.
– A Portable Lapse Prevention Plan http://blog.smartrecovery.org/2017/08/29/a-portable-lapse-prevention-plan/

We would all benefit from hearing how you will approach “Lapse Prevention” in the next couple of months. I invite you to read the blog and then post some ideas of your own as to how you can make this holiday season one of peace and sobriety.

How do you prepare for celebration, holidays and alcohol? Do you have a plan?

Teresa

@georgette12 @brit @Gray @melsy @gman007 @lynn08

REPLY

While this is not easy to write about, it may help someone and, if so, it is worth more than a bit of regret on my part. I am a recovering alcoholic with 11.5 yrs. sobriety. Much of what leads to any addiction is irreparable, but it can be helpful to understand what you believe is or was the source of your addiction. I was personally a perfection/control freak and when things did not work perfectly or I could not fix it, I internalized and blamed myself. This left me with a damaged self image and I used alcohol to escape. While I am not a trained therapist, my wife has almost completed her EdD and works as a counselor/therapist and I have learned from listening, but having a spouse as your therapist is a bad idea. Please find either a therapist or a friend who can be supportive without being enabling or judgmental. As a practicing alcoholic – and I practiced a lot – I was not so certain I was one. I don’t know how you would define “addicted”, but if you use any substance regularly and/or in large amounts, there is a good chance you are addicted. I functioned and never hit absolute rock bottom as society would describe it, but I was there emotionally. The most difficult part of remaining sober for me (besides continuing would have killed me), was reliving and realizing the pain I had caused to those I loved. You may ask their forgiveness and receive it, but the forgetting part is difficult for everyone involved. I can tell you that I am not there in some of my dearest relationships, but there is an effort there. If you are religious, your God will forgive you simply from your asking and you have to believe that to be able to put it behind you in order that it does not continue to ruin the rest of your life, and I believe to help minimize your propensity to relapse. The best I can offer to avoid relapsing is the way you will feel the next day, hour, moment that you did not surrender. Try to find some humor as a way to combat your feelings of inadequacy from allowing yourself to get involved with an addiction, but I am firmly in the camp that there is a hereditary factor for many addicts. This is not an excuse, but please realize you have a disease as real as cancer, MS, heart disease, etc… and it is not necessary to blame yourself or anyone else, but it does need to be treated. One side of my family had more people who were addicts of some variety – mostly alcohol – than those who were not, but it was never an issue with my parents. I think I have rambled quite a bit and probably makes this a bit difficult to read and absorb, but I am happy to discuss with anyone who would like. I don’t have any finite answers and no formal training, but since I am disabled and home alone a lot, I have had a lot of time to reflect and may have an insight or two that may be helpful. If you are battling an addiction, you have my prayers and encouragement – I am pulling for you to succeed because there is so much of life to enjoy without being hostage to any substance.

Thanks for your very honest post, @gman007

It is so helpful for others to hear stories of addiction and recovery! I commend you and your wife for your ability to see beyond the problem and seek solutions. It is true that folks can be “held hostage to any substance” just like you said.

Teresa

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@gman007

While this is not easy to write about, it may help someone and, if so, it is worth more than a bit of regret on my part. I am a recovering alcoholic with 11.5 yrs. sobriety. Much of what leads to any addiction is irreparable, but it can be helpful to understand what you believe is or was the source of your addiction. I was personally a perfection/control freak and when things did not work perfectly or I could not fix it, I internalized and blamed myself. This left me with a damaged self image and I used alcohol to escape. While I am not a trained therapist, my wife has almost completed her EdD and works as a counselor/therapist and I have learned from listening, but having a spouse as your therapist is a bad idea. Please find either a therapist or a friend who can be supportive without being enabling or judgmental. As a practicing alcoholic – and I practiced a lot – I was not so certain I was one. I don’t know how you would define “addicted”, but if you use any substance regularly and/or in large amounts, there is a good chance you are addicted. I functioned and never hit absolute rock bottom as society would describe it, but I was there emotionally. The most difficult part of remaining sober for me (besides continuing would have killed me), was reliving and realizing the pain I had caused to those I loved. You may ask their forgiveness and receive it, but the forgetting part is difficult for everyone involved. I can tell you that I am not there in some of my dearest relationships, but there is an effort there. If you are religious, your God will forgive you simply from your asking and you have to believe that to be able to put it behind you in order that it does not continue to ruin the rest of your life, and I believe to help minimize your propensity to relapse. The best I can offer to avoid relapsing is the way you will feel the next day, hour, moment that you did not surrender. Try to find some humor as a way to combat your feelings of inadequacy from allowing yourself to get involved with an addiction, but I am firmly in the camp that there is a hereditary factor for many addicts. This is not an excuse, but please realize you have a disease as real as cancer, MS, heart disease, etc… and it is not necessary to blame yourself or anyone else, but it does need to be treated. One side of my family had more people who were addicts of some variety – mostly alcohol – than those who were not, but it was never an issue with my parents. I think I have rambled quite a bit and probably makes this a bit difficult to read and absorb, but I am happy to discuss with anyone who would like. I don’t have any finite answers and no formal training, but since I am disabled and home alone a lot, I have had a lot of time to reflect and may have an insight or two that may be helpful. If you are battling an addiction, you have my prayers and encouragement – I am pulling for you to succeed because there is so much of life to enjoy without being hostage to any substance.

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@gman007 – Addiction treatment is possibly one of the biggest needs in our culture. Not only drugs and alcohol, but any life controlling addiction.

I applaud your willingness to help others by sharing your own experiences and lessons learned. Thank you.

Jim

@gman007

While this is not easy to write about, it may help someone and, if so, it is worth more than a bit of regret on my part. I am a recovering alcoholic with 11.5 yrs. sobriety. Much of what leads to any addiction is irreparable, but it can be helpful to understand what you believe is or was the source of your addiction. I was personally a perfection/control freak and when things did not work perfectly or I could not fix it, I internalized and blamed myself. This left me with a damaged self image and I used alcohol to escape. While I am not a trained therapist, my wife has almost completed her EdD and works as a counselor/therapist and I have learned from listening, but having a spouse as your therapist is a bad idea. Please find either a therapist or a friend who can be supportive without being enabling or judgmental. As a practicing alcoholic – and I practiced a lot – I was not so certain I was one. I don’t know how you would define “addicted”, but if you use any substance regularly and/or in large amounts, there is a good chance you are addicted. I functioned and never hit absolute rock bottom as society would describe it, but I was there emotionally. The most difficult part of remaining sober for me (besides continuing would have killed me), was reliving and realizing the pain I had caused to those I loved. You may ask their forgiveness and receive it, but the forgetting part is difficult for everyone involved. I can tell you that I am not there in some of my dearest relationships, but there is an effort there. If you are religious, your God will forgive you simply from your asking and you have to believe that to be able to put it behind you in order that it does not continue to ruin the rest of your life, and I believe to help minimize your propensity to relapse. The best I can offer to avoid relapsing is the way you will feel the next day, hour, moment that you did not surrender. Try to find some humor as a way to combat your feelings of inadequacy from allowing yourself to get involved with an addiction, but I am firmly in the camp that there is a hereditary factor for many addicts. This is not an excuse, but please realize you have a disease as real as cancer, MS, heart disease, etc… and it is not necessary to blame yourself or anyone else, but it does need to be treated. One side of my family had more people who were addicts of some variety – mostly alcohol – than those who were not, but it was never an issue with my parents. I think I have rambled quite a bit and probably makes this a bit difficult to read and absorb, but I am happy to discuss with anyone who would like. I don’t have any finite answers and no formal training, but since I am disabled and home alone a lot, I have had a lot of time to reflect and may have an insight or two that may be helpful. If you are battling an addiction, you have my prayers and encouragement – I am pulling for you to succeed because there is so much of life to enjoy without being hostage to any substance.

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You are spot on with that assessment. One thing that is in vogue right now is rehab centers popping up, doing a horrible job, collecting from medicaid and then they do it all over again with the same person the next calendar year. Most programs are for 30 days and if your brain has been compromised or stolen by opiates, that is not long enough to get your hard wiring straightened out.

@gman007

While this is not easy to write about, it may help someone and, if so, it is worth more than a bit of regret on my part. I am a recovering alcoholic with 11.5 yrs. sobriety. Much of what leads to any addiction is irreparable, but it can be helpful to understand what you believe is or was the source of your addiction. I was personally a perfection/control freak and when things did not work perfectly or I could not fix it, I internalized and blamed myself. This left me with a damaged self image and I used alcohol to escape. While I am not a trained therapist, my wife has almost completed her EdD and works as a counselor/therapist and I have learned from listening, but having a spouse as your therapist is a bad idea. Please find either a therapist or a friend who can be supportive without being enabling or judgmental. As a practicing alcoholic – and I practiced a lot – I was not so certain I was one. I don’t know how you would define “addicted”, but if you use any substance regularly and/or in large amounts, there is a good chance you are addicted. I functioned and never hit absolute rock bottom as society would describe it, but I was there emotionally. The most difficult part of remaining sober for me (besides continuing would have killed me), was reliving and realizing the pain I had caused to those I loved. You may ask their forgiveness and receive it, but the forgetting part is difficult for everyone involved. I can tell you that I am not there in some of my dearest relationships, but there is an effort there. If you are religious, your God will forgive you simply from your asking and you have to believe that to be able to put it behind you in order that it does not continue to ruin the rest of your life, and I believe to help minimize your propensity to relapse. The best I can offer to avoid relapsing is the way you will feel the next day, hour, moment that you did not surrender. Try to find some humor as a way to combat your feelings of inadequacy from allowing yourself to get involved with an addiction, but I am firmly in the camp that there is a hereditary factor for many addicts. This is not an excuse, but please realize you have a disease as real as cancer, MS, heart disease, etc… and it is not necessary to blame yourself or anyone else, but it does need to be treated. One side of my family had more people who were addicts of some variety – mostly alcohol – than those who were not, but it was never an issue with my parents. I think I have rambled quite a bit and probably makes this a bit difficult to read and absorb, but I am happy to discuss with anyone who would like. I don’t have any finite answers and no formal training, but since I am disabled and home alone a lot, I have had a lot of time to reflect and may have an insight or two that may be helpful. If you are battling an addiction, you have my prayers and encouragement – I am pulling for you to succeed because there is so much of life to enjoy without being hostage to any substance.

Jump to this post

@gman007

The only rehab I’m personally acquainted with is Adult and Teen Challenge. It’s an international Christian program for people with life controlling addictions, with many locations around the US, and in other countries. They have an exceptionally high success rate. I’m confident in recommending the organization to anyone.

Jim

@gman007

While this is not easy to write about, it may help someone and, if so, it is worth more than a bit of regret on my part. I am a recovering alcoholic with 11.5 yrs. sobriety. Much of what leads to any addiction is irreparable, but it can be helpful to understand what you believe is or was the source of your addiction. I was personally a perfection/control freak and when things did not work perfectly or I could not fix it, I internalized and blamed myself. This left me with a damaged self image and I used alcohol to escape. While I am not a trained therapist, my wife has almost completed her EdD and works as a counselor/therapist and I have learned from listening, but having a spouse as your therapist is a bad idea. Please find either a therapist or a friend who can be supportive without being enabling or judgmental. As a practicing alcoholic – and I practiced a lot – I was not so certain I was one. I don’t know how you would define “addicted”, but if you use any substance regularly and/or in large amounts, there is a good chance you are addicted. I functioned and never hit absolute rock bottom as society would describe it, but I was there emotionally. The most difficult part of remaining sober for me (besides continuing would have killed me), was reliving and realizing the pain I had caused to those I loved. You may ask their forgiveness and receive it, but the forgetting part is difficult for everyone involved. I can tell you that I am not there in some of my dearest relationships, but there is an effort there. If you are religious, your God will forgive you simply from your asking and you have to believe that to be able to put it behind you in order that it does not continue to ruin the rest of your life, and I believe to help minimize your propensity to relapse. The best I can offer to avoid relapsing is the way you will feel the next day, hour, moment that you did not surrender. Try to find some humor as a way to combat your feelings of inadequacy from allowing yourself to get involved with an addiction, but I am firmly in the camp that there is a hereditary factor for many addicts. This is not an excuse, but please realize you have a disease as real as cancer, MS, heart disease, etc… and it is not necessary to blame yourself or anyone else, but it does need to be treated. One side of my family had more people who were addicts of some variety – mostly alcohol – than those who were not, but it was never an issue with my parents. I think I have rambled quite a bit and probably makes this a bit difficult to read and absorb, but I am happy to discuss with anyone who would like. I don’t have any finite answers and no formal training, but since I am disabled and home alone a lot, I have had a lot of time to reflect and may have an insight or two that may be helpful. If you are battling an addiction, you have my prayers and encouragement – I am pulling for you to succeed because there is so much of life to enjoy without being hostage to any substance.

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teenchallengeusa.com is their website.

@gman007

While this is not easy to write about, it may help someone and, if so, it is worth more than a bit of regret on my part. I am a recovering alcoholic with 11.5 yrs. sobriety. Much of what leads to any addiction is irreparable, but it can be helpful to understand what you believe is or was the source of your addiction. I was personally a perfection/control freak and when things did not work perfectly or I could not fix it, I internalized and blamed myself. This left me with a damaged self image and I used alcohol to escape. While I am not a trained therapist, my wife has almost completed her EdD and works as a counselor/therapist and I have learned from listening, but having a spouse as your therapist is a bad idea. Please find either a therapist or a friend who can be supportive without being enabling or judgmental. As a practicing alcoholic – and I practiced a lot – I was not so certain I was one. I don’t know how you would define “addicted”, but if you use any substance regularly and/or in large amounts, there is a good chance you are addicted. I functioned and never hit absolute rock bottom as society would describe it, but I was there emotionally. The most difficult part of remaining sober for me (besides continuing would have killed me), was reliving and realizing the pain I had caused to those I loved. You may ask their forgiveness and receive it, but the forgetting part is difficult for everyone involved. I can tell you that I am not there in some of my dearest relationships, but there is an effort there. If you are religious, your God will forgive you simply from your asking and you have to believe that to be able to put it behind you in order that it does not continue to ruin the rest of your life, and I believe to help minimize your propensity to relapse. The best I can offer to avoid relapsing is the way you will feel the next day, hour, moment that you did not surrender. Try to find some humor as a way to combat your feelings of inadequacy from allowing yourself to get involved with an addiction, but I am firmly in the camp that there is a hereditary factor for many addicts. This is not an excuse, but please realize you have a disease as real as cancer, MS, heart disease, etc… and it is not necessary to blame yourself or anyone else, but it does need to be treated. One side of my family had more people who were addicts of some variety – mostly alcohol – than those who were not, but it was never an issue with my parents. I think I have rambled quite a bit and probably makes this a bit difficult to read and absorb, but I am happy to discuss with anyone who would like. I don’t have any finite answers and no formal training, but since I am disabled and home alone a lot, I have had a lot of time to reflect and may have an insight or two that may be helpful. If you are battling an addiction, you have my prayers and encouragement – I am pulling for you to succeed because there is so much of life to enjoy without being hostage to any substance.

Jump to this post

We have one locally for men only that is faith based and the last time I heard the founder speak, who is a very long sober alcoholic, their recidivism rate is only about 15%. The clients pay nothing, help to run several thrift shops they have, and most learn a trade if they didn’t already know one before their lives spiraled out of control. This article was in the last issue of Time – http://time.com/life-after-opioid-addiction/?iid=sr-link1 – it paints a great picture of what opiate addiction is and does to an individual. As someone who has chronic pancreatitis, I would not have much will to live for very long without opiate therapy and it is obviously worrisome to my docs and wife knowing my history, but I have never felt any euphoria from my pain meds. I think some of that is divine protection and most of the doctors I have dealt with have said that you will, generally speaking, be OK until you take that first extra pill after your pain is alleviated. I have also been able to go up when pain is worse and back down to nearly zero when pain level is low. This is not easy because of withdrawal symptoms, but I force myself to do it if my pain will allow because I have to know that I can.

Don't Feed the Tiger: Facing Your Feelings

This is the title of a recent SMART Recovery Blog

Here are the first two paragraphs:

"There is an unfortunate reality in life, sometimes you don’t feel good. This is not “news” to anyone reading this . . . you may even be having a bad day right now! In these moments, do you have the impulse to use a substance to change how you feel? Or engage in some other distracting behavior in order to change how you feel? Do you think you can’t handle a bad day?

What if there is a benefit to allowing yourself to experience those bad feelings without working to make them go away?"

I encourage you to read the entire blog. Here is the link, https://www.smartrecovery.org/facing-feelings/

Teresa

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Hello!

Many of us have been touched by addiction, either through personal addiction or a family member's addiction. As I am part of that group, I know how vital recovery is. Did you know that September is National Recovery Month? Here is a link to some information about this special month dedicated to recovery:

https://www.naadac.org/national-recovery-month

Here is Youtube video that speaks to the recovery process:

How are you doing in your recovery?

In continuation of September as National Recovery Month, I read this article on SMART Recovery and wanted to share it with you. It is a story of a young man who passed away due to an alcohol-related death.

I have copied a portion of this blog for you to read:

"After he suffered an alcohol-related brain injury leading to his death in February 2018, Jay Gibson’s family wanted to shed light on his struggle with alcohol in hopes of helping others similarly challenged. They didn’t want the role of alcohol in his death to be overlooked, should his fatal fall be viewed as an unfortunate freak accident. They believe Jay clearly represents the dichotomy within so many battling substance use disorder, for whom reaching out and connecting with a formal, structured, program like SMART Recovery was just beyond their grasp. And they, like so many families, had grown frustrated by their failed efforts to help, coming closer to the belief that you can’t help someone who cannot or will not open and avail themselves to that help."

"The dichotomy within so many battling substance use disorder" is an important phrase. I encourage you to read the entire article by clicking on the link below,

https://www.smartrecovery.org/jay-gibson-education-and-outreach-fund-a-legacy-to-help-others-seeking-recovery/

What thoughts does this bring?

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