Some self discovery after a relapse

Yesterday I relapsed pretty hard. I took a cocktail of things, including my DoC (which are opioids), meaning that I will be resetting all my counters; and washed it all down with a big dose of “I don’t give a fuck anymore”. To be completely honest, I did think about posting here to reach out, but I obviously didn’t. I felt sad, depressed, a little suicidal, and somewhat frustrated and angry with the cesspool of stress my life has been, and I just couldn’t bring myself to do it even if I should have.

When I woke this morning and I was able to look at the world much more objectively than the previous day’s pity party would allow, I asked myself why I didn’t reach out, and the first answer was one that I’ve explored before; that being the fear that no one would answer my call for help. My formative years were full of having to fend for myself and not receiving help if I needed it–asked for or not–and that imprinted on me the idea that there was no point asking for help, and if I did then I was only setting myself up for disappointment.

But as I mused over this, trying to break it all down again to figure out why I have such a visceral reaction to reaching out (to anyone not specifically to this forum), asking for help, or even telling someone else that I might be having a crisis, I realized that I was also afraid on a very deep level of being punished, scorned, derisively dismissed, or mocked for doing so. This was a new realization, one that I’d likely buried away because consciously admitting to such a thing before would have only brought out feelings of defensiveness that would have driven any such realizations back underground to be comfortably forgotten. So I spent time exploring and picking these thoughts apart and I will continue to do so for some time, I expect.

The idea that I would be ignored, scorned, dismissed, or made fun of in this forum is not something that would consciously come to mind; however, I can definitely say that I do have a conscious fear of taking the risk of reaching out and saying I’m on the edge, only to get nothing back. I think the people in this forum are amazing, and I see it as an extremely open and supportive place, so this is not a negative statement toward this forum, but rather an honest confession of my own fears in this area of my life. I’m still only making baby steps in asking for help in mundane ways. Doing so in areas that really matter are difficult in the best of times, even with a conscious effort, but when I’m emotionally compromised I tend to backslide into old patterns which include the idea that I must do everything alone and that it isn’t worth the risk to ask for help even if I suspect I really do need it.

I don’t enjoy putting my deepest feelings down in words for my own consumption, let alone for others to read. Leaving an honest record of how I feel has always been an unsafe thing for me. To keep a journal was simply asking for it to be found and to be punished for what I’d written. But I’m doing so now to keep myself accountable, to not be a hypocrite, and to allow myself to be vulnerable no matter how uncomfortable or down right frightening it might be.

I wouldn’t say that yesterday was worth having to reset my counter. I’m still not feeling great physically and emotionally, and it’s taking everything I have to not go back for more; for just “one more time since I’ve already messed up”, which then would turn into the same tomorrow and the next day and the next day until I’m back to making it a habit. But I did have an insight into my own behavior as a result of it and that’s what I’ve decided to take out of this experience.

The way I look at things is that if I learn something from an experience, then it wasn’t a waste, no matter how bad the experience was. I’m not proud of my decision, but I’m not going to emotionally punish myself either. What’s done is done. I can’t change the past, but I can choose what I’ll do in the future.

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It certainly seems that you’re doing all the right things after a relapse, or a slip up in this case seems more fitting. The accountability and the fact that you’re back here so soon is amazing and shows serious strength.

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For me the reason for not reaching out before I would relapse was the fear that someone might stop me from drinking…and deep inside I had always already made the decision to use when that thought of reaching out came to me…

Bottom line is that not reaching out made it possible for me to relapse. So what I had to do different was to start reaching out, no matter what. Recovery is about change and doing things differently. Reaching out was one of the hardest things I had to do, but I had to do it. No matter how that made me feel.

Reflection is really important, keep doing that. Do you have a sponsor, that you could do that with?
12 steps saved my life. I suggest heading to a meeting.
Look forward and learn from the past. One day at a time. :slight_smile:

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The positive thing is that you’re here now, reflecting on what happened and why. That way you can avoid it in the future. I think asking for any kind of help is hard for everyone.

Wishing you all the best, don’t be to hard on yourself. It happens and it’s not to late to start over.

We’re all here for you.

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I can totally resonate with your fear of reaching out @Chiron. You send the message, no reaction only the feeling of being exposed. Also being vulnerable is a huge fear factor for me.

But, if we hold on to our fears in recovery than it evidently circles down to the saying:

“If nothing changes, nothing changes.”

I really hope you have this next round in you and wish you a nice thoughtful Sunday. Maybe write a personal diary entry as well, to help you going forward.

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@Dan531 Thank you for saying so. I really appreciate it. Perhaps you’re right that ‘slip up’ seems better. I’m not quite sure when it becomes a relapse, as in the past using after having not done so for a while always lead to quite a while of using before I cleaned myself up again and had to go through the joy of withdrawals. This thing of stopping at one day is new to me, but I don’t want to live my life as chronic relapser.

@Rain666 Thank you for sharing. I think that learning to reach out will definitely be something hard for me to do, but a necessary thing. I don’t have a sponsor. I’ve never been to any meetings or anything like that. Coming to this forum is sort of the first thing I’ve ever done to reach out for help. I’ve just kind of done it all on my own to this point, but I felt like I needed to get involved with something to make it stick. I’ve thought of joining one of the zoom meetings, but I haven’t taken that step yet. Perhaps by the time all this COVID stuff is over I’ll be ready to hit a meeting in person.

@MrsOdh Thank you. I know you are. The comradery I’ve felt on this site has really contributed to feeling like I could share what I wrote. I really appreciate you and everyone else. And I’ll try not to be too hard on myself.

@purr Yes. Definitely. Very exposed. It’s so unpleasant to feel that way and to feel vulnerable, isn’t it? But you are absolutely correct with that quote. Thank you.

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For sure. Sadly it leads to hiding, lying and all sorts of unpleasant feelings that can even trigger a slip or relapse. I try to accept my “dark side” every day. Push it to the sunlight and watch it closely. Sometimes I understand some aspects of it, sometimes it leads to nowhere. But I guess thats the game.

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Your here now. It happened. You know how your feeling. You can control it. Keep it that way and perhaps head to a meeting just in case. You know what to do :grinning: and you know that we are here for you regardless. Just next time, try to jump on here first , you know you will only receive love and care and open ears, not any judgement. And you know there is a ton of us here that will answer your call for help. Never think other wise. That’s what we are here for :heartpulse::pray::grinning:… Back on the wagon. You’ve done this before , you can do it again :heartpulse:

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Sounds like some serious analysing here @Chiron. Good job.
Relapses are not necessarily a bad thing, if they help us gain deeper knowledge about ourselves, our motives and thoughts.
You’re doing great. Back to day one, but with a valuable life lesson extra and with an increased self-understanding.
You’ll get there :+1:

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I’m sending a big hug, there’s some beautiful words of support already which I echo. You are so much a part of this forum and we are always here for you hun.:heart::heart:

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I suffer from anxiety and depression and all the same shit your suffering from you are a beautiful amazing person and can always reach out and talk to me if you’d like sometimes someone to talk is a distraction enough to help past those feelings and help get you past the self destructive thoughts and urges…:kissing_heart::two_hearts:

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Same here. Some of my earliest and most firmly established memories are of calls for help being unanswered. Your post resonates strongly with me. I learned to solve my own problems, because no one else could do it better. You made an excellent analysis. Thank you for sharing this.

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While I am sorry about your slip, I do appreciate your incredibly thoughtful and honest post. It takes a lot to reach out and a lot to put it out there after the fact. Putting your feelings and experience out there helps not only you, but all of us as well, especially those still struggling. A bittersweet gift if ever there was one.

I am glad you are still here working towards healing. Sending hugs and strength your way. :heart:

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@Apes2020 Thank you. You’re right, I do know that. It’s refreshing in a lot of ways to have a place to go to where there are people who understand and won’t judge.

@Fargesia_murielae Thank you. I appreciate you saying so. And I think you’re right that if a relapse happens and we’re able to gain deeper knowledge and understanding then it’s not necessarily a bad thing. It’s all about perception.

@Donna Thank you Donna. You’re always so sweet and supportive.

@Rob2886 I’m sorry to hear that you also have those emotional struggles. I appreciate your offer and perhaps I’ll take you up on it sometime. Thank you.

@RBG You’re welcome and thank you for sharing as well. I used to think that being able to do things on my own made me stronger than some other people, that at least I could do things for myself and that I didn’t need anyone. But I’m coming to understand that being forced to do everything on my own and feeling as though I couldn’t trust anyone to help me or to do as good of a job as me robbed me of learning how to trust and be stronger with others. I’m learning that to be so far on either side–to rely only on oneself or to only rely on others–is the weaker position to having a balance of both. It’s not enough to just know; we have to do it. And man… is that tough. You know?

@Sassyrocks Thank you for saying so. Honestly it took a while to actually post what I’d written for many different reasons. But I’m glad that I didn’t let my insecurities stop me. I know that the more I reach out and the more I let myself to trust, the easier it will get over time; but for now it’s still pretty difficult.

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Something to think about…those of us that are in AA follow a tradition of being in service to others. Helping other people with their sobriety allows us to step outside of our ego, which in turn helps us maintain our own sobriety. So when you reach out, you’re actually helping us as much as we are helping you!

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The other day when I told you I I usually provide all the resources and I appreciated you, what I was really saying was I help everyone else and no one helps me. Friday I described it as if I’m stuck behind a glass wall screaming for help. Everyone can see me, but no one hears me. They just keep walking by. I can relate to the fear you talk about and I’m very glad you shared it. I think its really great that you’re being vulnerable about this place that you’re in right now and I think you have a lot of people on here that have your back. Including me.

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@Tess That is a good thing to think about, and you’re right. That’s a really good way to look at it. I definitely would not want to deprive someone of being able to help. Thank you for the thought.

@slim.shieldsy Thank you very much. You are a gem. I can relate to the feeling of always being the one to help others but feeling like when it comes to me needing help then no one is around. It can be disheartening. I appreciate that you and everyone else is here for me. I genuinely means a lot. And know that I’m here for you too.

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