Slips, relapses and blogging

I have read lots of blogs recently where people are dealing with relapse and trying to understand what the next step is.

And a few bloggers have disappeared…maybe thinking they don’t want the pressure or will begin again in 2018….I don’t know, I just know my heart goes out to anyone struggling.

So. All I want to say is that in a sober community I really hope there is no need to hide or pretend things are better than they are. We all have struggled and felt defeat and couldn’t understand our own behaviour and created long, elaborate excuses for what we knew were not our best choices. We all learn by sharing our experiences.

This is hard. Really hard. Every day of sobriety is a win. Every time we choose not to drink is a act of self compassion.

In the year before I finally quit I swore every Monday that I was done. I always felt that horrible, post drinking anxiety and self loathing. I felt physically exhausted and mentally beaten down. By Thursday or Friday I would have perked up enough to begin to reconsider and in my head an argument would begin. I derserved to have a drink after a hard week. Everyone else drank. I was FINE. That thinking would grow and grow and become, what anothe blogger today called the fuck it’s.

I can still feel that intense tornado of anxiety that went with those thought. And eventually I would give in. I never ever expected to want long term sobriety, so even short term seemed unreasonable.

In a few weeks I will have 4 years of continuous sobriety. My life is dramatically more fulfilling than it was in 2013, but it is also very much the same. Same job, family, home. But I am very different. In these 4 years I have tried to explore support, open mindedness, asking for help, complete honesty. I have made sober friends in pèrson and online. 

So…where am I going with this…if you can at all relate to what I wrote and you have even a few days of sobriety, hold on to it. It is fragile and precious and needs nurturing. Talk to someone. Go to a meeting. Ask for support and if people say they don’t think you are “that bad,”,know all that matters is what you think. Because self denial is strong, but soul crushing.

On the other side is freedom and joy. And a different way of life that might seem scary and boring and bleak, but is beautiful.

And if you have longer term sobriety. Cherish it. I have many times considered if I could drink again…maybe it woüld be different. Maybe I’m more self aware and less self destructive. But I just can’t imagine I would be worth risking freedom and joy for alcohol and numbness. The basic fact it’s even a consideration reminds me why I don’t drink.

So keep writing. Keep tryin. Keep patting yourself on the back and telling yourself you love yoü. 

And don’t drink today!

Stillness and peace

Anne

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35 thoughts on “Slips, relapses and blogging

  1. Brilliant post Anne. It’s no secret that I have lapsed and relapsed many, many times. The last two times (both recorded on my blog) were different to the others though because the lapse didn’t turn into a relapse. I honestly believe that the only two reasons for this is because 1) I’ve had enough and 2) the fact that I am recording and blogging about it. I also told my family as soon as it happened which made me accountable. It’s so bloody demotivating when it happens but by getting up the next day and trying again you break the chain of shame. When you can forgive yourself for the lapse you can love yourself enough to try again instead of spiralling back into the pit. This sobriety thing is a one-day at a time deal. Only deal with today, that way it’s never too much to cope with. People with years of sobriety behind them lapse or relapse. This doesn’t negate all the time they spent sober unless they don’t try again.

  2. Anne, Really enjoyed this piece. As a long-time blogger (mostly long-time reader now). I’ve seen so many come and go. I hold all in my prayers as we navigate this journey. The online community is wonderful. I’m uplifted every time I see another post whether or not it involves relapse. Of course, I hope it does not, but as Liz stated, we don’t shoot the wounded.

  3. Hi Anne- I can so relate with your over and over again struggle to stop- I always used Mondays as well and, yes, by Friday that argument would always begin and end with my drinking. Also, the thought that “maybe this time it would be different…” after achieving some sober time. I’m still here (5 months next week!) Just flat out too busy. I’ve had a number of days at my new job where it would have been real easy to stop on the way home for a bottle but amazingly enough the thought has repulsed me. My drunken grand finale is still fresh in my mind. I hope it stays with me forever. Thank you for your (as always) gentle and loving words of encouragement and inspiration.

  4. I am still here and sober! 21 months! I don’t blog anymore because the blog I did has served its purpose for me….although at my 2 year mark I might make a comeback!!!!! Always reading though! Love your blog Anne!!!! It’s real and raw! Love it! xo

      1. Well…this got misplaced. But…whatever.

        (And a lovely, supportive, encouraging blog entry, anne!)

  5. Beautiful post Anne. I too think about those that have gone quiet.. and definitely taking my sobriety a little for granted right now… the struggle to get here and the whole new world it opened up. I think I need to write more again. Life’s always a little better when I do check in here more frequently, on others, and myself.

    I was thinking I should
    Probably seek out an AA meeting here, just be good to hear some real stories and remind myself of that past, and connect a little.. wow.. seems like a lifetime ago.
    Thank you Anne. Xx

  6. Yes beautiful Anne. It has been your words of wisdom telling me to treat our sobriety with respect and care that helped me so much. To understand it is fragile, it is a moving state and not just a “decision”.

    The state of sobriety becomes part of our life and for me requires nurture and work.

    Michelle xx

  7. Beautifully said Anne! We’ve all struggled and we all know just how easy it is to slip and how hard it is to admit it publicly. This is a safe place, keep trying fellow warriors !

  8. i love the line “we don’t shoot our wounded” Indeed the blogging community are like a collective Florence Nightingale tending to the wounded, listening without judgement and offering kind words of wisdom.
    I toyed with the idea of waiting til new year but that is so much potential for more damage mentally and physically and I know from years of experience auspicious day for quitting drinking hold no stronger staying power than a quiet random Wednesday when you decide enough is enough.
    I miss so many of the old bloggers and hope they are ok.

  9. Lovely post, Anne. I would add to your words about keeping writing through relapses – you never know who your words may help. I know that I was personally greatly helped in early sobriety by reading relapse stories – in particular FitFatFood’s and Lily at onetoomany – both of who described their relapses in such agonising detail that it really helped me see the reality of what it would mean to drink again. It is also wonderful to read bloggers who have experienced relapse and who have now put together a string of continuous sobriety – Auntie Lex for example who has been through so much to get sober.

    There is no one path – just one goal, which is the peace and freedom we find in recovery. Thank you as ever for your ongoing thoughtful service in this space. Xx

  10. Nothing easy about knowing people who slip. So good that you are here, online and in person, to be there if they change their mind and want to come back.

    I’m working with someone at the moment who is recently back from a slip. Working with him in the flesh. I’m so grateful he came back into the folds. A lot of people I get radio silence from never return. And that is heartbreaking.

  11. Hi, I’m new to your blog. What a wonderful, open-hearted and understanding post. I’ve done the disappearing act from old blogs when the booze has taken over again and just up and left an amazing bunch of people wondering what happened to me. Yet it’s hard to be part of a sober community if you’re drinking.

    Congrats on your upcoming four years soberversary. So inspiring.

  12. great post. I think i need to really work on growing my sober blog community. At home i have a small group i attend 6 days a week. Seems like sober blogs are a small niche but i will put in the work

  13. Hi there, I am new to your blog and indeed new to blogging. I am glad I have come across this post today, its a very encouraging read and very timely for me as I’m almost 4 weeks sober and finding it tough. “every day you choose not to drink is an act of self compassion.” – love this.
    Thank you x

  14. Wonderful post. There are a few bloggers in particular that I worry about. Their posts helped me immensely when I was struggling with early sobriety. I can only hope that they are sober and too busy having a wonderful life to post anymore, but of course I fear something darker. I hope they know that we’d all love to hear from them any time, no matter the state they are in.

  15. It took me a long time to get even one year of sobriety, because in the back of my mind, I always thought I could drink again. I no longer think that way — like you, I know that nothing is worth risking my freedom.

    It helps that when someone blogs about slipping, they’re usually miserable. I try to learn from their experience instead of having to relive it (for the 100th time) myself.
    Thanks for the reinforcement, Anne!

  16. Hello! Well, I slipped. After ten months of not drinking, I had a ‘break’ from sobriety ‘just for the summer’ and had a drink on July 28th of this year so that I could drink rose during my summer holiday. Promising myself that on 23rd September I’d stop again. And here I am….four months later have those crazy cyclical conversations that make one feel so crap and so crazy. So totally predictable. Which is really embarrassing. And I’ve been doing the ‘that’s IT, I’m done’ to ‘fuckit’ two-step dance mentally, over the last few months. But now, I’m BACK. So reading this entry in your blog has been really comforting and encouraging. I’m going to keep reading this. And Sobermummy’s and others too as last time the blogs and books really helped me. Thank you for your blog and for this particular post. Have a good weekend!

  17. Thanks for your wisdom. I am new to blogging and sobriety. I’ve been trying sobriety for almost a year. I have 60 days here, 30 days there, and I have about two months right now. Starting over is rough. They say becoming sober is harder than being sober. I believe it! I’m definitely not giving up. Keep up the great work and I look forward to reading your posts. They’re definitely encouraging and uplifting. Congrats on the four year anniversary! Hugs.

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