17 Dec

Today I’ve read several tales of relapse, two including people at similar stages to me in sobriety, and it’s been incredibly helpful to me to read them. 

No matter how much better I feel from not drinking, I still have it in my head that at some future point I will drink again. I try not to dwell on this thought, because it’s hugely unhelpful, and all my focus is going on getting through the 100 day challenge. I pray that when I’ve got that chunk of time under my belt, I won’t ever want to go back. But that’s a decision for tomorrow.

Today’s focus is remembering that drinking was never as good as wolfie wants me to think it was. I build up this delicious moment in my head of drinking, and sometimes turn it over in my mind, but force myself to ‘play the tape to the end’ to remember why I don’t want to go there.

But the relapse stories I’ve read today have shown me it’s not worth it.

Here’s Girl on the Lean’s story, who drank at just before 30 days:

“The first glass was, in that moment, the most crisp and delicious thing I thought I’d ever tasted.  That momentary pleasure, though, seemed fleeting.  I felt guilty for a moment.  As people arrived I let myself just not worry about it.  I had as much wine as I wanted.  I didn’t keep track.  I did make sure I drank water throughout the night.  I didn’t really get drunk.  I did get tired.  I felt heavy.  I felt a bit irritable toward the end of the night and was surprised that I felt unable to let go and really enjoy myself despite the alcohol.”

That doesn’t sound like a fireworks moment, does it? An explosion of ecstasy?

Nor does this,that Belle posted from one of her readers:

“I’m on day 1. Had I not slipped up, it would have been 30 days today.  😦 

It really, truly, was not worth it.  Maybe I needed to experience that, though… to test the waters. It was just so… anticlimatic. 

I’m reading “Parched” by Heather King right now and she talks about how drinking is never actually fun, but it always feels like you are about to have fun in 15 minutes.

My drinking was never about glass one, but about the end of glass 2. That was my pleasure point. But at the end of glass 2, you reallllly want glass 3 and that’s where it all goes wrong. 

And this from Sober Jessie:

“ I think more and more about it, as I have let my sobriety go, I have also stopped taking care of myself in other ways. Gym? Not much. Healthy eating? Hardly. Relationship with hubby? Not great. When I toe the line with my sobriety, everything else falls into place. When I don’t, I’m a hot mess.”

So the relief from the effort of sobriety is relieved, but so much is lost. I wish these women well who have slipped up- they all sound strong in their posts and have, crucially, learnt from their relapses. Sometimes, I think, relapse is a necessary evil as part of the sobriety journey- last time I broke my sober streak it was so horrible it confirmed why I don’t drink. Wow, I just typed “I don’t drink” like a decisive statement that I believe and am committed to rather than something I’m gingerly trying out. That has a shelf life. The ultimate aspiration is that when someone offers me alcohol I say “I don’t drink”, something that I will only feel secure in after 6 months or more of sobriety.

To get there, I need to stay focused. Currently, the main thing stopping me drinking again is truly the thought of another day 1. Time has moved so slowly since I stopped drinking. I have barely reached 40 days and it feels a lifetime. Resetting that clock would be too dangerous- I can see myself so clearly struggling again to string together more than 4 sober days.

If I can just stick to reaching 100, I hope my perspective will, shift, that I’ll be happier booze free, that I’ll romanticise it less. That may not happen, so I need to keep in mind why I should stay on the path I’m on. 


8 Responses to “Relapse”

  1. losedabooze December 17, 2013 at 5:14 pm #

    I had my slip after 45 days and I’m back to being AF and feeling ok with my choice. I have told Belle to count me out of the 100 day challenge as it was seriously making it that my focus from day to day was more centered on alcohol. Now that I don’t have that to look to, I am simply not drinking by choice – not because someone told me not to or because of some challenge. I guess my rebel nature can’t handle those challenges – especially since I wasn’t really feeling any better and perhaps even worse for wear.

    I do respect your position and I have such great respect for each individual on this very personal journey. We do learn from each other – our slips, trips and yes our successes too.

    Wishing you continued success as you strive to the 100 day mark!

    • FitFatFood December 17, 2013 at 8:30 pm #

      This is so interesting, and I can totally relate.

      I worry about how much I’m thinking about alcohol. The counting of days and the 100 day marker is something I want to reach to give me a good stretch of sobriety but worry that doing so much counting is making it seem harder.

      I’ll see how I go, but thanks for your perspective- it’s been really valuable.

  2. jenisthesoberist December 17, 2013 at 6:32 pm #

    I am really scared of having to start over, too. It was really hard for me to stop in the first place, and I don’t want to go through that again! I think reminding yourself of that fact can be really helpful. I also think that those thoughts of drinking in the future fade somewhat as time goes by. I used to think them a lot more than I do now. It gets easier to clearly see all of the benefits and not want to give those up. At this point (4 months for me) I am really excited to see how I feel at 6 months, or a year… I bet it is pretty great. 🙂

    • FitFatFood December 17, 2013 at 8:31 pm #

      I hope so!

      I nearly drank tonight, even after writing that post. It gets easier, right?!

      A bit shaken up but I’m sober. Phew.

      • jenisthesoberist December 18, 2013 at 3:54 am #

        You got through it! It does get easier.

  3. girlonthelearn December 18, 2013 at 4:13 am #

    Thanks for reposting a bit of my story! It’s true, that it sucks being back on day 2. The first 10 days when I started this originally were seriously excruciating. This time is not quite as bad, because I had been sober for a while and my slip wasn’t too crazy. But it still sucks. I don’t feel nearly as good as I did on day 27, or as I would if I was on day 31 today. It’s not really about what number day it is, but there’s something about rewinding the clock that is a big bummer. So stay motivated!! All I want is to get back to where i was. Love what you say, “the relief from the effort of sobriety is relieved, but so much is lost…” That’s exactly how it felt. Fleeting relief with a whole lot of grief. Bleh.

  4. The Treatment Specialist November 7, 2017 at 10:39 pm #

    Thank you for sharing your story to help others who are looking for answers on how to handle sobriety and relapse. Relapse does happen and the main thing to remember is that you dust yourself and get back up and get support and back on track. There is no point dwelling on what happened, but how you can prevent it next time and get stronger and learn from the past. I also am a huge advocate of support meetings, whether they are non 12 step or 12 step, like AA or Smart Recovery. Having a layer of support is so important and so helpful when you have a bad day or the desire to use. Also for those who can add more layers of support, attending an outpatient program or sober living as well. The more support the better. Source:

    • FitFatFood November 11, 2017 at 6:38 pm #

      Thank you for this comment. I wrote this post 4 years ago. Just before I relapsed myself. I’m glad to say I’m now several years sober and I agree that these support systems are critical.

      Thank you.

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