Relapse: IS it a conscious decision to do so?

I was clean 17 months in December 2021 and now I have been in a rut every since. I have been using for the past 9months. My question is has that been by choice after so long or if it has become a necessity again just to survive on a daily basis? I just can’t seem to get clean on my own for any real length of time.


Necessity ? No.
Choice ? No.
Answer C: or because you are still an addict ? Yes.

Welcome Dehlia.
Relapses are not the end, they are just a bump in the road. You did 17 months before so you can do it again.


I couldn’t get sober on my. This place and a recovery program got me sober


@Dmurch73 Hello and welcome to the community.
I had 2 years sober then just decided 1 day that I’d have a couple of pints. That’s how simple it was, I was out shopping and fancied a pint. That led to 6 months continuous heavy drinking every single day, I never went 1 day where I drank less than 10 pints.

That first drink was a conscious decision by me. I thought foolishly that I could be like ‘normal’ people.

I ended up back here and I’m currently into my 4th day sober. Reading and working hard not to drink.


In advanced recovery yes it is a conscious decision to do so but the relapse starts well before that final decision is made. We do things like quit working out recovery, quit being around other people in recovery and then we lose focus.

In the early stages of recovery its harder to control impulses… the addiction is strong our brains are hijacked, chemical balances all messed up.

You’ve cleaned up before you can do it again with us. Reach out anytime you need, someone will be here. Best wishes and welcome!


When all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail…

When the only coping tool you have us using, that’s all you will use to cope.

Recovery programs help you learn new tools to cope with life so that you no longer need to use.

Sobriety, specifically recovery, is much more than not using, it’s releasing you from the burden to use by recovering your true self.

And to answer your question, if deciding to not use is a choice, so is using. The choice is yours.


Perhaps it’s sobriety that’s the choice. One we must make everyday. It certainly doesn’t happen by accident!


Choice no, well kinda

So it’s a loaded question,

You were sober for 17 months, what were you doing in that time that kept you sober? Now you said you been in a rut for 9 months so essentially half your sober time.

Like it was mentioned previously we relapse long before we take that first drink. It starts slowly. Usually by stop using the tools of recovery that you were using, complacency kicks in, you got it all figured out till you don’t.

I’ve seen relapses happen a few different ways,

  1. People feel they are “recovered” and can handle alcohol in moderation,
  2. Stop doing the things that helped you recover, meetings, hobbies, different social circles. The idea that after a little while those things that helped you stay away cured your disease and your well, I say all the time alcoholism isn’t like having a bout of bronchitis where you get some antibiotics and R&R and your all good, it’s a lifelong disease that needs to be maintained
  3. The omg this is so stressful the only answer is to get drunk, probably the most common in early recovery, but what does it solve? What’s at the end of an empty bottle? Nothing it’s empty, and tomorrow you’ll feel like trash, your broke physically and financially and mentally, and the same stressor is still there just been “avoided”

Start by backtracking, how did you get sober? Look at your sober time and see where you started to fall off the path, take notes and when you try again, use the tools you gained to get sober; to keep you sober


I think so. Sometimes impulse takes over and causes a relapse.


I believe it is a choice. It was for me. But in the moment, I don’t think I often felt like I had a choice. As an addict, I used to tend to go to what I knew… drugs and alcohol. I knew no other way. So it felt like I had no choice. But in reality I did. Once I began to see what my other options were instead of using, it was more apparent that I had a choice. But I needed that support from others and I needed to be willing to go any lengths to try new things and recover. I have a fairly big list now of other things I can do instead of using. I had to find what works :slight_smile:


I agree, “Recovery; choosing to not use substances of any kind is a choice I will have to make every minute of everyday, from awaking to before I retire each night before bed”, and yeah I have done it the past and I can and will do it again.
28 days vacation soon coming up to cenikor treatment center…


This. I have tried a few times to quit and for some reason my “goal” wasn’t quitting. Just wanna get off the hard stuff I’d say.well, that’s not how it works. Have a beer out. Have some beers out. Have a beer in. Have a double wine in. Have 9 beers in. Decide to hell with it and buy the hard liquor. Get real drunk. Piss everyone off. Do that a few times. Realize “gee there’s a pattern” but it’s too late because you got kicked out of the house and the family literally hates you.


It was a choice for me, my “relapses” started with the thoughts and voice of the addiction:

  • you can drink during holidays
  • you did great, you deserve a drink
  • that sucks, you’re allowed a drink
  • you’re one year sober, so you can drink like a normie now

I choose to start drinking for all those reasons in the past. Now I choose recovery :pray:


I do think we mentally relapse before we pick up that first drink/drug when we have a long enough sober time.
When we are starting out at sobriety I think its kicking the viscous cycle that is more impulsive.

If you are really struggling remember your life is on the line, addiction does nothing but kill us slowly, and if we dont quite it will happen to us all.
Please get some professional help, many of us here have and its not as bad as we imagine it to be.
Take care of yourself, keep reaching out and get to some meeting.
Keep reading and posting here, it’s such a great supportive community that has helped many of us.

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I couldn’t either. Depending on usage it can be dangerous as well. So if you can’t do it yourself go to e.g, rehab, detox. There is no shame in that…,

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The concious decision comes at the beginning of a relapse. The addict is clean or sober for a time, the makes the choice to pickup again. That’s where the free will ends and the reenslavement begins.

I could choose to drink (my DOC) tomorrow and I could just as easily choose not to drink. The difference is I was once enslaved to alcohol and choosing to drink again would likely lead right back to that mental,.spiritual and physical condition. Or, I can choose not to drink, and by doing so remain free.


If we dont have a good network or defence against lifting or using then our brains will see no way out and we lift or use again ,stopping dosnt make us cured it gets us started then we have a choice to use the programs available we all need support doing this alone is hard and sometimes fatal wish you well


The physical withdrawal symptoms were nothing compared to that little voice in the back of my head saying “it’s just a beer with dinner” “it’s just some social drinking at camp” “my back pain Is flaring, gotta relax those muscles”