my sponsor says I relapsed on cough syrup, is he right?

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soberinsf
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my sponsor says I relapsed on cough syrup, is he right?

Post by soberinsf »

I was sick last week and I purchased a flu and cough syrup without reading the label very clearly. I had been using it for over a day when I noticed that it had alcohol in it. I had been using as directed up until that point, and after I noted the alcohol content, only took one more dosage according to the label directions. It was late at night, I didn't feel well, and I don't have a car,and biking to the pharmacy didn't even sound like an option. I did not take any more after this. My sponsor wants me to call this a relapse and start my time and steps over. I had over 3 1/2 years until now and its not like I was abusing the medication. I was taking it as directed. I am very upset and I feel this is unfair. Thoughts? opinions? personal experience?

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PaigeB
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Re: my sponsor says I relapsed on cough syrup, is he right?

Post by PaigeB »

Personal experience is all I have to offer. I have a chronic pain condition for which my doctor, knowing I was an alcoholic, prescribed a narcotic. Mind you, it had no alcohol in it, but I sometimes abused prescription meds to enhance the effects of alcohol. My sponsor said that as long as I used my meds as prescribed it would be okay. Though I did not drink, I no longer take the narcotic for pain. I would rather have pain than the mental/emotional hangover the pills caused me. It was a dangerous and slippery time after I used them for about a week. Please surround yourself with sober people and meetings for a while.

I "hired" my sponsor because I trusted her. She has what I want and I want to know how she got to where she is. She may say something different to another woman at another time, under different circumstances... I don't think there is one correct answer. I do believe that if she told me to take a white chip I would do it - That is just a guess... that question is not in front of me.

What is accumulated time any way? I think it is so that we can show the still suffering alcoholic that this program works. Honesty and humility are also part of this program that we show the still suffering - that is why I would get a white chip if my sponsor suggested it. I think I would say to myself, "Better now than down the road..." or worse - to have the negative feelings drag me to drink again.

We are all just one drink away from a drunk.
Cling to the thought that, in God's hands, the dark past is the greatest possession you have - the key to life and happiness for others. With it you can avert death and misery for them. page 124 BB

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ann2
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Re: my sponsor says I relapsed on cough syrup, is he right?

Post by ann2 »

I bought cough syrup on purpose in order to get drunk, when I was a teen :-)

I'm not sure why the sponsor would decide whether you had a relapse or not. I would think that is the decision of each individual. After all, we decide ourselves if we are alcoholic or not, don't we?

Myself, I have taken codeine medication in sobriety because of terrible coughing. Today, I am very proactive about the coughing problem and take over the counter medication in tablet form that prevents build up of phlegm in my lungs whenever there is the slightest hint of this starting, because I don't want to get into the situation where I need to rely on the often prescribed narcotic or alcohol based medication. I really think you need to take care of a cough early, and I'm glad you used the cough syrup -- as directed -- for a cough, not to get drunk.

I'm sure what you heard from the sponsor was a suggestion. You can take it on board or not, and it's good that you're asking around to get others' experience.

Ann
"If I don't take twenty walks, Billy Beane send me to Mexico" -- Miguel Tejada

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Tosh
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Re: my sponsor says I relapsed on cough syrup, is he right?

Post by Tosh »

I did similar; had a cough, found some cough medicine in the house, took some, took some a little more because I liked the taste, then checked the label and found it contained 'Ethanol' (alcohol), so I brought this to the attention of my partner, and I poured it down the toilet. I brought it to her attention, since if I just chucked it away, she may have suspected that I drank the lot!

I don't class this is as a relapse. Just a silly lapse in thought and a lesson to be more careful with any medication in the future.

And sponsors are human, they make mistakes and get things wrong, just like everyone else. If mine tried to tell me that I had a relapse, I'd tell him I had not; intention counts for everything, and my intention when I took the cough medicine was completely innocent.
Come, come, whoever you are. Wanderer, worshiper, lover of leaving. It doesn't matter. Ours is not a caravan of despair. Come, even if you have broken your vows a thousand times. Come, yet again, come, come.” Rumi (No sniggering from the sex addicts)

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Frankie
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Re: my sponsor says I relapsed on cough syrup, is he right?

Post by Frankie »

Good Morning soberinsf

After a sponsee did almost the exact thing, not too long ago, we sat down and talked. We talked about how careful we need to be about watching out for things that contain alcohol and when these things happen how important it is to talk with your sponsor or someone who understands what we are trying to do.

I keep my sponsor and two close recovering friends (who work The Program) up on my dental and medical world. This helps to keep me honest. The minute I think, "I don't think I'll tell them about this", I know I'm in trouble. Today, I'm trying to stay guilt free. So for me, this has nothing to do with anyone else, but it does have everything to do with how this might affect me.

Last Christmas, an in-law, who doesn't know, I don't think, I'm in The Program, but has noticed I don't drink anymore, made this absolutely marvelous looking chocolate dessert. She piled a good portion on my plate and it was really good, I mean really good. I had eaten almost half of it when she said.
"It has alcohol in it, I hope that's alright."
I took the next bite that was already headed to my mouth and thought I was going to be sick. I was so angry and on the verge of tears, but did not say a word, I just stopped eating. I found out the alcohol was not cooked into the dessert, it was straight on. Grace of God, it did not set off the cravings. Did I say Grace of God?!!! The ride home was a long one, the tears came, the anger increased and I knew as soon as I got home I needed to call my sponsor and ask her if I would be picking up a white chip after 5 years. Did I say that was a long ride?!!!! She said she didn't believe I needed to, but if I found any of my story not true I would need to look at that. I looked at the situation, leaving out everything I believe was done to me, and the only thing I would have done differently was to tell the in-law that I could not have alcohol in any form for health reasons. I did not pick up a white chip but am a hell of a lot more careful.

Be honest with yourself and make this decisions from the gut.

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Re: my sponsor says I relapsed on cough syrup, is he right?

Post by Jaywalker Steve »

soberinsf wrote:I had been using as directed up until that point, and after I noted the alcohol content, only took one more dosage according to the label directions.
As others have said, we have to be careful with certain medicines because the phenomenon of craving can get set off by accident. I too have gotten hammered on over the counter stuff including cough medicine and seen many a relapse on prescription medication. Using medication 'as directed' or 'as prescribed' is one of those things we're supposed to do to take care of our physical health. The answer is in your intent and only you can judge that. 'To thine own self be true.'
Every group has men and women who put too much thought and effort into their daily sobriety and not enough of themselves into their daily living. - Ed B., Akron, OH

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Duke
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Re: my sponsor says I relapsed on cough syrup, is he right?

Post by Duke »

Obviously, I don't know the details of your relationship with your sponsor, but as a general rule, your sobriety date is your decision based on honest self-assessment.
"If you are humble nothing will touch you, neither praise nor disgrace, because you know what you are.", Mother Teresa

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Layne
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Re: my sponsor says I relapsed on cough syrup, is he right?

Post by Layne »

your decision based on honest self-assessment.
Couldn't agree more. Thanks to working the program of AA, my life is run more by this principal than it used to be and decisions come more easily as a result. Other people's opinions and thoughts are always useful, but not my bottom line. "To thine own self be true" is sound advice for me.

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Step 9
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Re: my sponsor says I relapsed on cough syrup, is he right?

Post by Step 9 »

You did not willingly take a drink, i think if most of us had a good hard look back through are time in recovery we could dig up a time when we had some food or medicine with a trace of alcohol in it. I would be careful here in your thoughts and don't let this knock you back.If you are in regular meetings doing step work and have good manageability with your life,then i don't see any point in going through the steps again. As for the time forget it, if you have to call it day one so be it you are still in AA its quality of sobriety on a daily basis.I have known many people a long time sober with awful sobriety.
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Mike O
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Re: my sponsor says I relapsed on cough syrup, is he right?

Post by Mike O »

soberinsf wrote: My sponsor wants me to call this a relapse and start my time and steps over.
This is just nonsense.

kellik
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Re: my sponsor says I relapsed on cough syrup, is he right?

Post by kellik »

Rigourous honesty is for you if your sick and took it as prescribed then no. sponsers are a guide through the steps they are not medical doctors, i had the flu and real sick about two weeks ago i could not get out of the bed and the doctor precribed cough syrup i took it a prescribed until i the antibotics kicked in then I quit taking it . I have not relasped I took it as presribed and thats thats :D with 3 years and steps in your life you know the awnser its within you and between you and your god

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Blue Moon
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Re: my sponsor says I relapsed on cough syrup, is he right?

Post by Blue Moon »

Well, you need to take a close look at your motives. From what you describe, does not sound like relapse to me. To "re-lapse" means to lapse back into a prior state (of mind and/or body). You weren't relapsing, you were taking meds for a cold. You'll be more aware of the ingredients next time.

Be sure to do this self-assessment with a clear head, not whilst strung out on stuff like cough meds or Valium.

I suspect you're "alcoholic" rather than the "alcoholic-addict" that pervade the halls of AA. There is a difference ... the latter camp tend to be far more aware of what they're putting into the body because they can tolerate so few of them. Alcoholics like myself who aren't cross-addicted tend not to think twice about taking stuff like Benadryl for an allergy, or more-potent pain killers when the need arises. Could I become cross-addicted if I abused the stuff? Certainly. But I have no inclination to - no desire for any effect other than relief from the symptom for which the product is prescribed. I actually detest the side-effects that an untreated addict would find alluring.

In sobriety I have taken morphine. For me, that was certainly not a relapse ... for an addict, it may well have been.
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happycamper
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Re: my sponsor says I relapsed on cough syrup, is he right?

Post by happycamper »

Every time I drank, Id almost always call my sponsor and say , " Mary, I relapsed". And she'd say, " Lets quit using these fancy words... ya got drunk, plain and simple". Yep, she was right, I got drunk.

I never used cough syrup, or mouth wash or anything like that. When I wanted to drink, I used the real stuff, booze. It was that simple for me.

I use cough syrup today to quiet a cough. And I use mouth wash today that contains alcohol. I am using these products for their intended purposes, not to get drunk.

Besides, my obsession, compulsion and desire to drink have been taken away and for that I pray I stay forever thankful.

Your title to your original post says... my sponsor says I relapsed on cough syrup, is he right?
IN my opinon, NO, he is not right.
Faith without works is dead

Sally
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Re: my sponsor says I relapsed on cough syrup, is he right?

Post by Sally »

very intersting discussion- thanks everyone-
i was at a formal dinner one night- fancy chocolate dessert- i took one bite
and knew it was full of something not good- so i pushed the rest around the plate
and didn't eat anymore. told a group about it the next day- and my God- the
responses were all the way from A to Z- one claiming i had to change my
sobriety date.

i was taught what others have already said- it is my decision- and #1- check my motives-
Yes- i drank cough medicine and listerine when i was drinking- no doubt what my
motive was then- if i get sick today- i will take medicine to get well- i will
read the label-and take the right amount- plain and simple- motive.
Sally

Jaywalker Steve
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Re: my sponsor says I relapsed on cough syrup, is he right?

Post by Jaywalker Steve »

Blue Moon wrote:To "re-lapse" means to lapse back into a prior state (of mind and/or body).
Great comment! Thank you!
Every group has men and women who put too much thought and effort into their daily sobriety and not enough of themselves into their daily living. - Ed B., Akron, OH

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