Two years ago, I was making great strides on the road to recovery and everything seemed to get back to normal. I was clean and sober, attended regular meetings, rediscovered my woodworking hobby, and I was getting along splendidly with my wife.
Everything was going well, when…
Things took a turn for the worst when she had to take a weekend trip to visit her sister. I felt so lonely, confused, and disoriented that I didn’t know what else to do. After pondering about it all day long in her absence, at 7 pm I went straight to the guest bathroom, removed the ceramic tile and took out the Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Honey I hid there a while ago.
The next day I woke up with the phone ringing. I barely managed to get out of bed due to a nasty headache and answered it. While she was asking me if I’ve been drinking last night, I saw the empty bottle of Jack on the floor. She went on to tell me that I’ve sent her over 20 bizarre text messages late last night.
I tried to mumble something, but I couldn’t because I knew I’ve broken my word. I was feeling ashamed and guilty since I didn’t manage to keep one simple promise, that of staying clean and sober. I tried to think about what happened, but the urge to pour myself another glass froze all my thoughts.
By 4 p.m. she got home devastated and wondering what happened to me from the moment she pulled out of the driveway to 24 hours later. I was not proud of what I did, nor did I try to deny or justify my actions. I just told her it happened and tried to drown away the guilt.
It’s not a matter of one drink or 100
While I thought I had things well under control, the truth is that I used to wonder if I can drink like a normal person this time. The lesson I learned from my first relapse is that once you abuse alcohol, there’s no turning back. You simply can’t drink again.
It actually doesn’t matter if you have one sip of champagne at a party or an entire bottle of whiskey; a relapse is a relapse. When I turned to my old pal Jack during that weekend, I didn’t just break a promise to myself and my wife. I flushed my credibility, accountability, dependability, and reliability down the toilet. I had no other choice but to start my recovery all over again.
Why do recovering alcoholics relapse?
After this episode, I was longing to find an answer for what I did, so I decided to seek the counsel of a behavioral therapist. The conclusions we reached came as a shock: when an alcoholic finally manages to get a grip over his life, there’s a chance he’ll subconsciously sabotage the recovery. Even though I was feeling much better and healthier, the overall experience was uncomfortable and unfamiliar. I’ve lived with alcohol for so long, that I had a hard time accepting the clean and sober lifestyle.
Relapse is rather common with recovering alcoholics and you’ll turn to drinking more than once for your own reasons. Even if a slip-up happens, don’t allow yourself to fall completely!