Mental state that precedes a relapse!

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Mental state that precedes a relapse!

Postby avaneesh912 » Mon Feb 06, 2017 1:21 pm

The book, before getting into the stories in the chapter "More about alcoholism" talks about "the mental states that precedes a relapse into drinking" for it says "obviously that is the crux of the problem:

How then shall we help our readers determine, to their own satisfaction, whether they are one of us? The experiment of quitting for a period of time will be helpful, but we think we can render an even greater service to alcoholic sufferers and perhaps to the medical fraternity. So we shall describe some of the mental states that precede a relapse into drinking, for obviously this is the crux of the problem.

What sort of thinking dominates an alcoholic who repeats time after time the desperate experiment of the first drink? Friends who have reasoned with him after a spree which has brought him to the point of divorce or bankruptcy are mystified when he walks directly into a saloon. Why does he? Of what is he thinking?

Its so different from what you hear in the meetings today, they share as though the new-comer has a choice in drink. Totally alien to what is in the book.
Show him, from your own experience, how the peculiar mental condition surrounding that first drink prevents normal functioning of the will power (Alcoholics Anonymous, Page 92)
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Re: Mental state that precedes a relapse!

Postby tomsteve » Tue Feb 07, 2017 7:35 am

I agree, avaneesh. there are meetings I don't attend because,imo, they are "whateveryawant anonymous" meetings- take what ya want and leave the rest, the big book is only suggestions,meeting makers make it,etc.
and those meetings have a lot of people saying,"im back after a 'relapse."
i have upset a few people by sayin the relapse started some time before the 1st drink was taken and ended with a drink- people with some time sober have gotten upset with me sayin that.
but maybe that's where the problem lies-they are sober and not recovered?

although i haven't ended a relapse with a drink, i have been on one- a pre meditated drunk. came dam close to drinking. it was a few months worth of living my will- going to meetings and not doing anything more; no principles were being practiced.
took me some hard knocks to admit and accept that this doesn't get any easier than how the BB says it, and the BB says it,i believe it, and that's good for me.
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Re: Mental state that precedes a relapse!

Postby Brock » Tue Feb 07, 2017 8:50 am

i have upset a few people by sayin the relapse started some time before the 1st drink was taken and ended with a drink- people with some time sober have gotten upset with me sayin that. but maybe that's where the problem lies-they are sober and not recovered?

That's solid gold right there, the sort of currency that AA needs. And I also get the odd person upset when I share that solution, after a few people might have said things about the first drink get's you drunk, just stay away from the first one, and some nonsense about even if your backside falls off. Then my turn comes and I explain that you don't yet have the power to stay away from the first drink, and pointing to the stories in the book about the car salesman and the accountant, and the several times the book says you have no defense against the first without a spiritual awaking.

I do believe it's OK to speak about staying away from the first, providing it's mentioned that this is a temporary fix when we first come, and it's a struggle, the sooner you do the work the sooner the struggle ends and the fun begins. Unfortunately too many speak about the struggle, and don't mention the solution.

Thanks for the topic avaneesh, it's one that never grows too old to mention again, and any newcomer reading it will go away better off.
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Re: Mental state that precedes a relapse!

Postby Reborn » Tue Feb 07, 2017 11:42 am

BB page 24...

The fact is that most alcoholics, for reasons yet obscure, have lost the power of choice in drink. Our so-called will power becomes practically nonexistent. We are unable, at certain times, to bring into our consciousness with sufficient force the memory of the suffering and humiliation of even a week or a month ago. We are without defense against the first drink.

I hear the same "stuff" at meetings here as well. I always like to remind folks of the above paragraph...that it doesn't matter how humiliated we are or how much suffering the drink causes if you be alcoholic you will go back to the drink again....unless you find and tap into that inner resource....your Higher Power. I agree with the person above who shared about a relapse happening way before we pick up the drink. The plain and simple answer is if you still have an alcoholic mind it doesn't matter how much you fight...you will go back to the drink eventually...that is the insanity of alcoholism. The good news is the founders of AA took the time to write out a practical program of action...its all in that book...read the black parts.
We have recovered, and have been given the power to help others. BB pg 132
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Re: Mental state that precedes a relapse!

Postby PaigeB » Tue Feb 07, 2017 2:41 pm

i have upset a few people by sayin the relapse started some time before the 1st drink was taken and ended with a drink- people with some time sober have gotten upset with me sayin that.

"the relapse started some time before the 1st drink"

So what does that look like? How are we to identify it ~ for the newcomer as well as the long timer who still suffers?

What sort of thinking?

Of course the solution is to turn to one's HP. We may or may not do that... but can we recognize and accept help from HP before it is too desperate a situation? Before we have completely talked ourselves into a drink?
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Re: Mental state that precedes a relapse!

Postby Alcoholic_Nurse » Tue Feb 07, 2017 5:53 pm

"the relapse started some time before the 1st drink"

So what does that look like? How are we to identify it ~ for the newcomer as well as the long timer who still suffers?

What sort of thinking?

the above lines is from Paige's post. i suck at this quote function thing.

maybe it starts with the "maybe i'm not a real alcoholic after all" lie that creeps into a lot of our minds. then it manifests as looking for excuses not to fellowship, stopping fellowship, and finally failing to "playing the recording all the way through" of what happened to us in the past once we started drinking again. my early relapses were always the inability to "cease fighting everyone and everything" and the inability to just let crap go. leaving arguments with the words "well i'm sorry you feel that way" was not an option for me, i had to leave the argument with the illusion that everything was settled and i won.
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Re: Mental state that precedes a relapse!

Postby avaneesh912 » Tue Feb 07, 2017 6:17 pm

The book has 3 stories (alcoholic stories and parable) in the chapter "More about alcoholism" to illustrate the "mental state" and thats where I quoted the text from.

The 2 most powerful examples are the Car salesman story and the Accountant story. One accepts that he needs help and the other doesn't think he has the problem.

The book says Jim failed to enlarge his spiritual life. And if you look at the story closely, the dude carries a resentment that he is an ordinary employee, he lost the dealership he once owned. Not a thought about drinking. He chose a restaurant with a bar attach is different story. But see the words in italics "Suddenly". Thats that peculiar mental twist that goes through the mind. "If only i mix whiskey in a glass of milk, it wont hurt on a full stomach". Thats the lie he succumbs to.

And the Accountant, doesn't even think. All he thinks about is the sense of ease and comfort that comes with drinking "just a couple".. Thats where this think through the drink doesn't work. Nor does call your sponsor doesn't work... goto a meeting doesn't work. All the mind is obsessing is that "sense of ease and comfort" doesn't look at the consequences.

The solution is, first of all one needs to be convinced that he/she is an alcoholic and then the solution comes in. Fit spiritual condition. Constant working of the 12 steps. Keeping the inner space clean. Sometimes, it could very well be just surrender to the condition. Internal acceptance.
Show him, from your own experience, how the peculiar mental condition surrounding that first drink prevents normal functioning of the will power (Alcoholics Anonymous, Page 92)
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Re: Mental state that precedes a relapse!

Postby tyg » Tue Feb 07, 2017 8:20 pm

I believe in the manifestation of the allergy - alcoholism and how it affects us mentally and physically. For the alcoholic, it seems any intake of alcohol causes toxicity in the body and it screws with the chemical balances of the brain and nervous system.

I don’t think it matters if one drinks daily, weekly or monthly. If allergic, the symptoms will be similar, just the amount of time to reach the late stages of chronic alcoholism will be different. Alcoholics eventually lack proper nutrition, sleep and other needs. This complicates the illness and eventually will break down our physical health too.

As drinking sprees become more frequent and severe, they cause unmanageability in our lives. Why is this? Why drink when drinking brings repeated setbacks in life and causes: humiliation, suffering, disaster, remorse, sadness and the rearranging of schedules to recover from or plan a drink? Pure lunacy to keep repeating actions that harm ourselves and other people, isn’t it? More can be added to the list. The symptoms of this illness are vast.

The Alcoholic brain has these mental blank spots that interfere with good common sense that would stop anyone else from even wanting a drink in the first place. But, the alcoholic brain is unable to accept the hazardous aspects of our mental or physical condition. Therefore, no matter what has happened from our drinking, an alcoholic will always find a reason to do it again, and again. We won’t be able to break the cycle - we are powerless over this illness.

The thinking that precedes the first drink are the mental blank spots. The void (disconnect) in our thought processes that create delusional thinking that we can do it without harm and minimize, justify, make excuses for it and so on. We think we can fix this problem on our own and we can’t see it for what it really is nor see/admit we are very sick.

Alcoholism as a manifestation of allergy that creates a powerful obsession and uncontrolled drinking explains a lot about my own alcoholism. I treat my alcoholism daily with AA's spiritual program of action to keep this illness in remission.


Good reads, google:

** Alcoholism as a Manifestation of Allergy by W. D. Silkworth, New York, N.Y.
** Alcohol Abuse Disorder by National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism
** Doctor calls "Slips" more normal than alcoholic by William D. Silkworth
~The secret to the AA program is the first three words on page 112~
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Re: Mental state that precedes a relapse!

Postby avaneesh912 » Wed Feb 08, 2017 5:34 am

My understanding (through studying the book via various workshops) is that allergy develops after we put some form of alcohol in our body. What causes the blind spot is psychological, in some the spiritual malady is very obvious like the example of the car salesman. Not so in the man of thirty and the accountant. In mine boredom was a major factor. I heard the other day a fellow picked is 2nd 10 year chip. He said what caused him to pick up was that his doctor told him a glass of wine would be a healthy habit. I don't know much about the gentlemen to judge. But I know he picked up after 10 years of being away from alcohol.

You could also see in the inventory section where the book talks about this. When the spiritual malady is overcome we straighten out mentally and physically.

Actually we don't fix the physical part at all all we address is the spiritual part where we have a chance to think sanely therefore don't hit the bland spot (Mental). Thats why we are not cured, just recovered.
Show him, from your own experience, how the peculiar mental condition surrounding that first drink prevents normal functioning of the will power (Alcoholics Anonymous, Page 92)
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Re: Mental state that precedes a relapse!

Postby Brock » Wed Feb 08, 2017 7:23 am

"the relapse started some time before the 1st drink"... So what does that look like? How are we to identify it ~ for the newcomer as well as the long timer who still suffers?...What sort of thinking?

I believe the “thinking” comes just before taking the drink, 'I think I will have a drink' sort of thing, but the start of the relapse which could be some time before this, is a behavior modification much more subtle than a thought.

We are asked to maintain a fit spiritual condition, and it's suggested when we do so we feel like we are walking in the 'sunlight of the spirit,' without the discontent and ill at ease we used to know so well when we were drinking. So we should learn to recognize and easily determine when we are off track, many reminders are given like 'pause when agitated ask for the right thought and direction,' and those who will land on their backside are those who choose to ignore these warning signs.
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Re: Mental state that precedes a relapse!

Postby avaneesh912 » Wed Feb 08, 2017 8:04 am

I was at my old group which was so part of my 2nd year recovery to drop off CDs. There was a new comer and the whole room was rallying around 1step to give here ESH. At the end a girl opens and says she is few weeks short of 4 years but today she is desperately thirsty for alcohol. After the meeting, I offered her the Spiritual Malady CD and she goes its too preachy. I don't that kind of recovery. I left there with mixed feelings. But then I am reminded of what is the book, help someone who is willing and also remembered what Big Frank talks about in one of his talks, he says the spiritual law is that if people arent willing to be helped there is very little we could do.
Show him, from your own experience, how the peculiar mental condition surrounding that first drink prevents normal functioning of the will power (Alcoholics Anonymous, Page 92)
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Re: Mental state that precedes a relapse!

Postby tomsteve » Wed Feb 08, 2017 12:58 pm

PaigeB wrote:
i have upset a few people by sayin the relapse started some time before the 1st drink was taken and ended with a drink- people with some time sober have gotten upset with me sayin that.

"the relapse started some time before the 1st drink"

So what does that look like? How are we to identify it ~ for the newcomer as well as the long timer who still suffers?

What sort of thinking?

Of course the solution is to turn to one's HP. We may or may not do that... but can we recognize and accept help from HP before it is too desperate a situation? Before we have completely talked ourselves into a drink?


for me it was quite simple, but even when my sponsor told me i was on a premeditated drunk, i didnt believe it. by the grace of God, i saw the insanity 10 minutes before running to the store.
so, HOW it works-Honesty, Openminded, and Willing
take HOW, flip it upside down and turn it backwards- MOH-My Old Habits. they came back and the exact reason the bb says-
i let up on tbe spiritual program of action and rested on my laurels- and My Old Habits came back-upside down and backwards.
self will run riot.
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Re: Mental state that precedes a relapse!

Postby tyg » Wed Feb 08, 2017 2:44 pm

The relapse started some time before the 1st drink seems logical but this information doesn't do me much good because if alcoholics could recognize their mental state that precedes the first drink, nobody would relapse. This shows me how powerless I am over the taking the first drink and must rely on God for power.

PaigeB wrote:Of course the solution is to turn to one's HP. We may or may not do that... but can we recognize and accept help from HP before it is too desperate a situation? Before we have completely talked ourselves into a drink?


I've had periods in sobriety were it was too hard to even pray and start to isolate from the fellowship too. Luckily, I must have stored up enough in my spiritual bank account to keep me safe and protected during those times.

Great thread, thanks everyone!
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Re: Mental state that precedes a relapse!

Postby PaigeB » Thu Feb 09, 2017 1:21 pm

tomsteve wrote:for me it was quite simple, but even when my sponsor told me i was on a premeditated drunk, i didnt believe it. by the grace of God, i saw the insanity 10 minutes before running to the store.
so, HOW it works-Honesty, Openminded, and Willing
take HOW, flip it upside down and turn it backwards- MOH-My Old Habits. they came back and the exact reason the bb says-
i let up on tbe spiritual program of action and rested on my laurels- and My Old Habits came back-upside down and backwards.
self will run riot.

THAT is awesome.
"Honesty, Openminded, and Willing
take HOW, flip it upside down and turn it backwards-
MOH-My Old Habits"
Thanks tomsteve!
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Re: Mental state that precedes a relapse!

Postby PaigeB » Thu Feb 09, 2017 1:36 pm

tyg wrote:The relapse started some time before the 1st drink seems logical but this information doesn't do me much good because if alcoholics could recognize their mental state that precedes the first drink, nobody would relapse.

IF being the operative word.

And is that NOT a great message? I mean I am currently working with a new sponsor and I am amazed at 7+ years that I feel like such a newcomer! I have worked these Steps and have some self awareness and I fear that blind spot! BUT IF I can have some details about what thinking precedes a relapse, than I might be more aware when those thoughts come, thus having a better chance to remember to pray & meditate and avoid that first fatal drink.

My thoughts are classic crazy. There is the thought that if I am going to start over with the Steps, WHY NOT have a drink? I don't have a good answer, but I recognize that as a crazy thought. I have had the thought that "I can't take this" and "I don't know what to DO" and I have recognized that going there is dangerous and I need to pray & meditate to remember that I am safe and protected and that all will be well. I also hear my brain say "I don't trust anymore - they do not understand me" and of course I know that is not the truth of my own experience.

I have thought and said these things to others. I still FEEL like a crazy person. But I don't have to act on those feelings. Feelings are not Facts I KNOW that the truth is that I will be ok - so long as I don't drink and keep moving forward on the Steps AND jumping right to prayers for help when I recognize my crazy thinking.

My disease wants me dead.
It will settle for me Drunk,
But first it has to get me ALONE.
If I'm not able to say how I'm working my program today, then I'm not working my program.
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