Relapse and Red Flags


Or as they are called….Triggers

I wanted to talk about relapse for a moment. I have seen a lot of posts on the subject relapse and the struggles that people go through when they do relapse.  First off relapse does not have to be an option, but for me it was and I want to share how I got through it. Stop judging yourself and thinking about all the people you let down during your relapse. This brings on major guilt and keeps you from coming back to the tables of recovery. It will bring you no glory to sit and beat yourself up over a mistake that you made. Learning to forgive yourself and accepting that you are human is the very first step in recovery and will get you back around the tables much more quicker. If you sit in your crap long enough it will eat you alive and the disease will take you with it down the road of helplessness, hopelessness, and discontent.

When I had my first relapse I had to figure out why I relapsed. I would sit down with old timers for hours and pick their brains and they were more then happy to help me figure it out. You will find that most old timers only want to help and they are great for helping you along the way if you want a straight and honest answer. Don’t worry about then hurting your feelings because at this moment you are willing to o to any lengths, at least I know I was.

I had to figure out what was my red flags (trigger) and how where they going to save me? I had found out that I had not set up any healthy boundaries and I was only falling back onto what I knew before coming to the tables so I had to do some deep thinking about what made me react the way I did.

I didn’t not pick up the phone as soon as I started to relapse in my mind, second off I did not change my actions. Every time I was miserable or un happy I would just drive to the liquor store to pick up my favorite drink and start numbing the pain all over again instead of putting another action there. Look, nothing changes if nothing changes so I had to change my reaction to certain situations and if that called for me to drive to a meeting instead or in my case we had a local 12 step club that I could drive to and sit and release whatever feelings I had without feeling any shame because the people there knew exactly what I was going through.

You have to change your reaction.  So I made safety plans for myself. If I felt like I wanted to harm someone  or myself by drinking I had to change my reaction to it and by doing so it helped me. I was able to volunteer at our local 12 step club for 3 months and that kept me very busy and it made it easier for me to grow. If you dont have anything like this in your area find a local food bank, church, anything and volunteer some of that time you have to helping others. I promise it will help you stay sober.

Find out what your red flags are. Mine was family, chaos, loneliness, resentments  ect… Pin Point those red flags and write them down on paper and then make a safety plan for yourself.

EXAMPLE: ONE OF MY REAL LIFE SAFETY PLANS

When visiting my mothers home there was always gossip and negativity in her home. I hated it and it made me feel some kind of way so I decided that when me and my children would go there on holidays we would always have a safety plan, so I sat them all down and we discussed what we would do if we started to feel uncomfortable. I told my kids if I approached them at their grandmas and said ” it is time to leave”,  do not question me, lets just go. Then I told the kids if one of them started to feel uncomfortable they could approach me and say “we need to leave”, I would not question their feelings and we would go.

WOW….There is a solution to our problem with family.

Some people, places and situations are just not good for you and you need to figure out what they are and figure out a solution to dealing with those situations instead of falling back onto your old behavior.

Relapse is optional but if you truly want to live a Happy, Joyous, and Free life you MUST do the work.

I never judge a person on a relapse because I had several of them and every time I went back out I learned a new lesson. Some of us recovering alcoholics, addicts, whatever you may be need this process in order to learn and then some never, ever go back out again.

It has taken me many years to figure out a solution to all my problems today and if I don’t have a solution I don’t put myself in situations I don’t know how to handle but I can tell you, Today I have peace and serenity in my life because of the choices and solutions I have in my life today.

So with all this information I hope you have learned something about relapse.

Fight for your sobriety because you deserve it!

God Speed my Brother and Sisters

TNH

I Love You Man


  • To my first sponsor Sandy that I gave a hell of a time to and went kicking and screaming all the way, Thank You for not giving up on me, I Love You Man.
  • To my friend Laura that chaired the very first meeting I ever attended and whom I have always looked up to and always respected and wanted to be like, I Love You Man.
  • To Don, the first man who ever showed compassion towards me and never wanted anything in return and bought my Very First Big Book and told me to read the first 3 words on page 112, I Love You Man.
  • To all the women who stuck by me and showed me compassion and kindness and taught me how to trust once again, I Love You Man.
  • To my sponsor now, Thank You for being you and helping me along the way and giving me good direction, I Love You Man.
  • To God for not giving up on me and Loving me enough to give me The Gift of Sobriety in my life, I Love You Man.
  • Glory Judging


    I have found that some people around the tables no matter how much they go to meetings or how much they know the 12 steps and 12 traditions they want their glory of being right. I call this sicker then others. No knowledge what so ever can change me but taking action on myself and accepting people for who they are and what they believe helps me to develop a better relationship with those people. Last week I had an experience with an elder gentleman at a meeting that just insisted on interrupting the meeting and wanting to talk about the group and it’s finances, and other negative problems. I’m not the type to keep my mouth shut so I interrupted him and told him that none of what he was speaking of had anything to do with the meeting itself and that if he wanted to discuss it we could sit down and talk about it after the meeting. So then after the meeting I sit down with this man and he is making all kinds of false accusations about this group and saying that he was a group member. I said “Really? Because you must be the only group member”. This group had been taken over by new comers back in 2011 from Bridgeway that did not follow any steps or traditions and then just recently walked away with everything. Now before anyone gets upset, this sometimes happens when you don’t have a good foundation.

    I proceeded to listen to the gentleman and he just kept complaining about how he did not think he should have to get his paper signed and he didn’t understand why he had to go to certain meetings that lasted an hour and 1/2 while people took a smoke break and he felt that he should be able to leave early. I replied that he needed to speak to his sponsor about this situation and he replied that he had no sponsor. I was done. You cant get anywhere with someone that does glory judging.

    Glory Judging is a sickness. My definition of Glory Judging is when you want to focus on what everyone else is doing and you want to bring it into a negative light so that it makes you look better.

    I was once like him and ran my mouth 1 too many times in a meeting and was asked to shut up. I thought I had all the answers and my knowledge was so important that I had to share it in a group of 50 people or more. Well I learned my lesson that day. I got my feelings hurt because I was asked to shut up, I felt sorry for myself, and I was humiliated in from of everyone. Let me say that being asked to be quiet was not done in a rude way, they where very kind about it but my idea was that I knew all and needed to share all. I learned a lesson that day, Keep quiet and listen, I might just learn something.

    Then we have the Glory Judging by those who say, “Well at least I didn’t do that”. Well just because you didn’t get caught does not mean you did not do it. We have all made mistakes and when we get into the cliches of Glory Judging and surrounding ourselves with negative behavior we are continuing to feed our disease. Know one and I mean Know one is free of this character defect but once acknowledged it can be dealt with. Such as Step 4 brings us to most of our defects. I continue to make a list of my defects on a daily basis as I need to focus on myself and my inventory to make sure I’m not Glory Judging anyone or anything. There is a difference in talking to my sobriety sisters and sponsor to get another opinion of my thinking.

    Life on Life’s Terms


    I’m done trying to run the show in my life and spending time trying to control people, places, and situations in my life today. I think this was the most freeing experience I have had in my life when I gave up the control. It consumed my life in a negative way and I ran rapid trying tell everyone what they need to do or say. This New Freedom (Which is in “The Promises” in The Big Book on page 83-84) and New Happiness is something I will never forget. I’m no longer spending my time trying to run the show and in a negative way at that.

    I had so many excuses for everything and nothing was my fault. You could not get me to own anything because I lived in denial and did not want to face the truth and deal with me. It was easier to blame someone else for my problems instead of looking at myself and changing my actions. Of course I had to do some really deep soul searching and have a Spiritual Experience that came after working the steps but I would have never thought in a million years if you would have told me I could have this peace and serenity I would have not believed it.

    It’s not about my past today, I have owned that past and dealt with it, it’s about what I can do today for the next person that suffers and I choose to throw myself into action today. Not action that benefits me because that would be self centered but action that helps another person that suffers. I heard a speaker last night explain The Promises and he hit it head on. He said, “Think of The Promises such as you would think of a warranty on a new car.” If you follow The Promises it is like your warranty in life. So if I continue to work the 12 steps I will continue to benefit from The Promises. This does not mean my life will be perfect and I will be surrounded by butterflies and unicorns, but I will learn how to deal with situations that use to baffle me and my whole attitude and outlook on life will change.

    Today my life is not perfect, but I can accept it for who I’ am today and I’m not running around like a chicken with my head cut off trying to cover my tracks because I did something wrong. If I keep doing what I’m doing I will keep getting what I get. I don’t want to live in worry, fear, guilt, shame and remorse today. Today I choose to be happy and work The 12 Steps and call my sponsor and surround myself with people who are doing the same.

    *Life is so much better and peaceful today because of the actions I choose to take one day at a time.

    I’m grateful today that I can only be honest.

    No Longer Afraid


    For years I lived my life being afraid. Afraid of saying the truth, afraid of being me. I have been receiving threatening messages from family members because of my blog. Well I’m no longer afraid.

    I have boundaries and I respect myself enough to not fall into the chaos and the insanity that others bring from not being in control. Somehow, someway my sick family has found my blog and now wants to confront me on my past and what I should and should not be doing. Well I’m an adult and I will share what I want to share about MY LIFE and MY PAST struggles and I have every right to do so. Now if it bothers you that bad then DONT READ IT! AND yes, It’s that easy.

    For them it is all about control, it seems they have no control and so they want to try and force me to continue living a sick miserable life as they still do. Well my choice is to live in Peace and Serenity today.

    Sorry, It’s not gonna happen. I’m Happy, Joyous and Free today. Know one and I mean Know one will step into my life and tell me what to do. It has been years that I have distanced myself from these people and they still want to try and control my every action. I have been living in fear afraid to speak my mind and I refuse to live in fear today. If someone does not like what I write they don’t have to read it. Its that easy. Move on and get a life and stay out of mine. There is a reason for the distance and it’s because I don’t want to be associated with any of you.

    Now this does not mean I don’t have a past and I have not struggled , it just means I have dealt with my past and I have forgiven myself such as God has forgiven me and that is what makes me who I am today.

    But let me say this…By my family telling me what I have done does not fix me, I’m the one who haves to do the work on me and fix myself, trying to tell me what to do does not fix anything, it just proves to me that they are still sick and confirms that I’m making the right decisions in my life today. Just that easy. I have done a lot of work on myself and I’m in a peaceful place today and because they are not does not mean I should suffer. So with all this rambling I just want to say, I’m No Longer Afraid. No more trying to bully me into anything.

  • Get Your Own House In Order and focus on yourself.
  • Keep doing what your doing and keep getting what you got.
  • You cant control anyone or anything.
  • Dreams


    Lately I have been having some really bad dreams and I’m not sure why but my only guess is that since I have been working out at the gym these dreams have started to develop. The dream I had this morning seems so real to me that I woke myself up yelling. My dream seems to me as a nightmare and I still feel yucky inside and I say yucky because I cant quit describe what I feel other than fearful and yucky so maybe if I share the dream I can get some input on what it means or why I feel the way I feel.

    NOTE: This dream was about my sister for some reason, now let me explain some of the situations she has put herself in. She has very bad behavior when she drinks. She cant control her overall body functions down to her bladder. It’s almost as if she is in some kind of coma. My sister has had epilepsy since she was 12 and she has those kind of seizures where she looks like the exorcist girl when she does have them. Yes, she looks possessed and that really scares the hell out of me. I was never able to help her as a child when she had these episodes because I was so afraid and would have to run and get someone if it happened around me. I have only seen 3 episodes but she has many. OK, so back to her behavior, When you are around her drinking no matter where she was, with her children (all 7 of them) or in a public place, the responsibility of taking care of her automatically became yours. Especially if you are a family member.

    The Dream.

    The dream starts out in a very positive manner, I met someone I was happy to meet and was getting along so well with the person that we became close. I then made the decision to leave and meet this person later on that evening at a certain time. All was going so well and I feeling very content. I then get to my home in my dream and go inside of my home and I start looking around and everything is a mess. Too my surprise I start picking up everything and I come upon a persons leg so I follow it and figure out it is my niece. I then look up through the sliding glass door of my home and I see my sister laying out on the patio with some strange man (don’t know who he is). Now want to get ready as I want to meet my friend that I met earlier in my dream but I know this is going to be a problem because as I’m looking outside and opening the glass door to try and find out why she is at my home, more and more of her children are showing up. (small children, children that are unable to take care of themselves while my sister is under the influence). I ask my sister “What are you doing here?” she replies with some kind of jumbled answer “What The F** do you mean?” I’m frustrated by now because this will become my responsibility if I don’t get her out. I have to get her and her children out of my home in my dream I’m suppose to meet someone at a certain time right? So I start to tell her that she needs to get out and she goes all ape crazy on me (still in her drunken stooper) and grabs a bat and chases me to the neighbors house where I find safety. Now I know all of this sounds crazy but this kind of stuff actually happened in my life, not this situation but the actions are very close. Now I’m at the neighbors and so I eventually have to call the police to get her out of my home and the neighbors have to leave because they have another engagement so they leave me a lone in their home. A police officer shows up and is telling me they cant do anything even though she is drunk and has all of her children with her and they cant remove her from my home. What? Same ole same ole. So then the officer suggests that I call the children’s agency to come and do a welfare check. While all of this is going on my sister is antagonizing me and coming closer and closer trying to provoke me into reacting so I will come outside of my neighbors home so she can hit me with a bat. I’m fearful of getting hit with a bat so I’m trying to do the right thing by following all of the instructions that the officer is telling me to do. Needless to say the officer leaves and my sister (under her drunk stooper) continues to push her luck and cross those boundaries and get closer and closer to me even getting into my neighbors home and walking in and walking out right next to me with the bat. So finally I decide I have to stand up for myself and I yell loudly “Get Out Of The House!” This is when I wake myself up.

    The feelings I have are so undesirable after awakening. I felt so hopeless and helpless as if there was no way out of the situation. The boundaries I was setting with her where intentionally being broke so I got to the point where I was going to have to stand up to her and let her know that she cant do this any more. I know I did not want her to become my responsibility as it use to be in my younger days and there was no talking to her because you cant reason with someone under the influence and at the same time she was getting defensive and there was going to be no way out other then violence.

    So that was most of my dream and if anyone can help me with understanding it I sure would appreciate it. The feelings I had in the dream are still effecting me and probably will go with me through out the day until I have finally forgotten as this always happens.

    NOTE: This was only a dream. I have been in situations similar to this and I don’t like the way the situations make me feel.

    Guilt


    I find that this word is a very powerful word and can be used as many means of control over others. There are so many types of guilt that are also used and the list below are only a few.

  • Guilt from others expectations- Not living up to cultural expectations.
  • Guilt from not taking action- Guilt of doing or being.
  • Religious Guilt- Not being able to forgive yourself.
  • True Guilt- Being faithful to yourself.
  • False Guilt- Feeling guilt towards yourself for doing what another person wanted.
  • Guilt of shame – Feeling that you have done something wrong from another persons actions.
  • Survivor Guilt- Feeling you were less injured or less damaged than others.
  •  

    The Responsibility Guilt is when you do something wrong and you feel you need to make the situation right. An Ego Driven Guilt is when you start to realize you have done something wrong and decide to build a resentment towards others. You have to make others feel worse than you feel and go out of your way to manipulate the situation to work in your favor. By acting out in the Ego Driven Guilt a person becomes so consumed in trying to hurt another they become a miserable person themselves. Most people who carry this guilt can not hide their misery.

    You cant depend on others for your own happiness. Why should another person suffer for the way that you feel?

    So, there are many types of guilt and I choose to live focusing on what is in front of me and not behind me, I cant do anything about what happened yesterday but I can deal with all of the old behaviors that I have built up to protect myself as a child when I was being abused. The tools that I have today can be use in my life to deal with certain situations, if not for those tools I don’t think I would be here today. The control over others is not my goal but to live my own life and deal with what comes my way makes me so much more peaceful today. Which would I rather be, miserable or happy? I choose the happy road of destiny.

    pnissila’s Blog “Guilt has a powerful triggering effect on a victim of abuse.”

    I truly believe this quote, guilt can ruin a victims life and they may never recover from it.

    Learning Acceptance


    I have found through working a 12 step program and learning to live life on life’s terms today sometimes dealing with negative people and their actions can be very hurtful, especially when the actions come from family. I cant change someone’s negative behavior but I can feel comfortable in my own skin knowing I don’t have to spend any of my lifetime looking for ways to hurt others. The time that is spent hurting others is a horrible way to live because your not focusing on yourself and working on you and in the process of living that life you become a very miserable person and I don’t want any part of that. I don’t want to be one of those miserable person’s that are constantly looking for all the bad in anyone today, I feel good focusing on the positive and getting positive results in my life. So as I write this I may not have a family but that is my choice and I have set some healthy boundaries and I choose to be Happy and Grateful today. I surround myself with loving people who really care and will always be there for me to matter what and for this I’m truly grateful. So for all of you that have been with me through these past few years of life changing experiences and roller coaster rides I just want to say Thank You and I’m truly grateful that you are in my life today.

    It Still Hurts


    This week was a very hard week for me. I have 3 grown children who still continue to make mistakes but today I have the tools to deal with it. That does not mean when we see them make mistakes that it still doesn’t hurt. I received some very sad news this week about my youngest daughter and broke down in a manic cry for hours, the pain of knowing where she is excruciating. I have the tools thanks to my therapist on dealing with these situations. Feeling is not my best option but the only option I have at this moment since I have no say in her life. I have a strong background in Co-Dependency (Thank You Melody Beattie ) and healthy boundaries today and so I don’t interfere with what is going on in their lives, it makes me a nervous wreck just knowing and I don’t think they realize sometimes how much it hurts a parent to see them go down a bad road with a bad person. Acceptance to me today is excepting the fact that it is not mine and minding my own business even though it is hard not to speak out. Knowing that this child of mine was just struggling not even a year ago and now she is in the same situation just breaks my heart but I cant do anything other then to feel the pain and go through the process and allow myself to feel whatever emotion it is. Sometime not saying anything is saying everything but it still hurts.
    I know life is hard and things happen that we don’t want to happen but it is all in the way we react to these situations and I know better not to get involved as I feel it would just make it worse. Sometimes my emotions overload my mouth and I don’t need that right now. Love is the strongest feeling you can have for a person and my children are the people closest to me.The pain of knowing they will be hurt is the worst pain a parent can carry for a child but…It Still Hurts.

    A Struggle with Fear


    Fear is one of my many character defects that I will continually have to work on. If it is not fear from people it is fear from what will be done to me. I have been working with my counselor and thought that I had recovered but then we start to discuss a new topic and it opens me up to think about how I isolate myself from being hurt or taken advantage of. Looking at myself now I feel strong and depend on something more powerful then myself which is prayer but this does not always take all the damage that has been done to me as a child away. I’m learning so many new things about myself. Fear is one of the most controlling emotions that will always have a hold of me and run all of my decisions and actions that I make while trudging through this lonely life. I feel that Fear has also kept me from committing to a meaning relationship in these past 10 years of my life. I have been more then self sufficient and surround myself with positive people but the fear of allowing myself to trust is a horrible control.

    When I was a child family members, close friends, and sometimes strangers came to my bedroom wanting sexual favors from me, forcing me to do horrible acts of sex that no child should have to endure, only to pray to God to help me. These actions have not only damaged me physically but also mentally, my thinking will never be the same no matter how many years pass in my life. Not to be able to go to your one protector, the one person you trust after the fact and tell her that something bad happened last night, only to be faced with excuses for these sexual predators, blame me and tell me it was my own fault, is the most loneliest feeling in the world. What happened to that Mothers Love and Protection she was suppose to have? I always worried about my children, there was that built in mother wolf always looking out for them. I would never in one minute ever regret being over baring because I know I listened, I know I protected them the best that I could. My children were that small child that never got the protection that little girl should have received.

    How could a person, especially your own mother not want to get to the bottom of these terrifying accusations? My mother would tell me that I was lying, that I was making stories up, and I was trying to ruin her life. As a child and now as an adult I will never comprehend the treatment of a child such as this and I never will. It has taken me many years and many therapy sessions to finally realize that no matter what I did to try and get my own mothers acceptance it was not going to happen. I had to let go of the fact that my mother was a companionship humane being and would live in denial her entire life. There would never be any resolution to being able to try and deal with this part of my life and I had to except it for what it was and move on in order for me to heal and get better.

    I cry myself to sleep for that little girl many nights. Imagine not having the person you most trust in your life telling you your lying. I had know one to go to, to comfort me or protect me and love me, I was alone. I felt so abandoned and betrayed. It is the most horrible feeling in the world as a child.

    So today as I trudge through this life of adulthood Yes, there are many fears in my life and these fears cripple me from having a healthy, meaningful relationships with men. As I’m getting older I’m getting use to it as I would not wish upon any normal humane being to have to deal with my baggage so, I protect myself and I protect them also from myself and my damage.