Let’s talk about the “R” word….relapse. The word that nobody wants to hear once an alcoholic gets sober. When someone relapses, many will get pissed off and think that once we get sober, that’s it, we’re cured. Nay nay..That’s NOT how it works. No matter how many years one stays sober, they can NEVER say in all honesty they will never drink again. The best way I can explain it is alcoholism is a disease and when we’re in sobriety, we’re in remission, we’re never cured. I’ve met and spoke to many people who had sobriety in the double digests and they went back out.
99% of the time, when a relapse happens, we go back to the exact point where we left off. In other words, if we drank a gallon of rum at a time, that’s what we’ll do. Then the demons take over and it’s always worse than it was before. We fall faster and the disease progresses quickly. Relapses don’t just hurt the person who’s doing it, it hurts all those who loves the person who fell. They may feel anger, disappointment, sadness, resentment, even rage.
They don’t understand what it truly means to suffer from this addiction, so their feelings are understandable. It doesn’t matter how many times we go back out, what matters is how many times we come back in. Very early in my sobriety, I met an old man who had double didgets in his sobriety. He had a multi colored walking stick. At least I thought it was a walking stick. Curious, I asked him about it. He explained to me that the walking stick was made up of his chips. Quite a bit of it was white (the white chip is the chip of surrender, it means you’re willing to try living sober) He said to me, “When people look at this, they see how many times I fucked up….You know what I see when I look at it?” I looked at him all kinds of confused. He smiled and said, “I see how many times I didn’t give up.”
We try our best not to relapse, but it does happen. It’s what we do when and if it happens that matters. We can feel sorry for ourselves and give up, or we can jump right back on the horse and try again.
October 21, 2014
AJ Menendez, Master Male Illusionist