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Fear of Relapse - Others' Perspectives?

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posted on Mar, 3 2015 @ 12:21 PM
Dear ATS friends and colleagues,

I have been struggling with my living situation and finding how to stay optimistic about my future - and am fearful that I could slip back into old habits.

To explain my situation a little better, I just relocated back in December and am living in a state next to my home state. The area I live in has a large hospital (I work out of the offices there), and a college town but that is about it - it's very rural (but I'm used to that after growing up in Vermont).

Anyway, I moved here for a new job and everything has been pretty good so far - stressful, but what in life isn't? There are times when I work 80 hours a week (though they only come in waves and never last more than 3 weeks at a time, but 3 weeks of that is enough to make you question it). I work some weekend days and when it is busy I will also work until 11 pm or midnight if I have to, but as long as the crazy schedule is only for a week or two at a time I can usually tough it out and look forward to a regular schedule in the weeks that follow.

But I really want some others' perspectives on how I may be able to rediscover my worth and the benefits of living a sober life. Recently I've been questioning it. I used to be an addict - and when I say "addict", I mean pretty bad. I won't go into details as to what substance I abused or how I used it but it was destructive, life-threatening, and is also opened up the doors for other sketchy activities (other drugs, places and people that are sketchy, etc.). It's been over a year, and my life is in a completely different place, but the thoughts are always there, and when I am emotionally compromised it seems to be something that is tougher to ignore/overpower.

I live by myself, and my family/friends all live over an hour and a half away in my home state - but I do go back one weekend a month to catch up with them. My girlfriend who I've been dating for 8-9 months also lives back in my homestate, and comes to visit me on weekends and when she doesn't have school - she knows about my past but can't really relate if you know what I mean.

I'm big into bodybuilding and it's been a great way to stay healthy and busy and to keep myself away from bad behaviors like drug use - but I do still self medicate with alcohol (not a daily thing). The problem lately is that after having lived by myself for a few months, and now that I'm really feeling mentally exhausted from my work, I just don't have the same drive or value for living drug free like I did before.

The $h**ty weather isn't helping either, but most of all it's the loneliness and not getting to spend time with good people that care about me/that I care about.

I don't even know where to find the stuff I used to be hooked on, although there is an "epidemic" going on so I'm sure it would be easy. I am somewhat scared I may go looking, but most of all I'm fearful that my past addiction and current life situation could contribute to a new self destruction, or replacing one addiction/behavior for another.

I have been amazed at some of the brilliant minds and perspectives my fellow ATS members have shared on this site. This isn't something I can talk about with anybody in my day-to-day life (other than my girlfriend via phone), and I know ATS has people of all different backgrounds so I wanted to see if maybe sharing this predicament with everyone here could help give me some insights as to how I may be looking at this wrong or anything else that could help.

I just can't go back to the self-pity or the pessimism. What drove me to rock bottom in my addiction before all this was what some would call the "Dark Night of the Soul", but I thought I had broken through to a new place. I just feel that I am slowly being swallowed up by these dark clouds and thoughts again. I have the power to make it different, but I don't know how to find it again or "recharge" that ambition...

posted on Mar, 3 2015 @ 12:55 PM
a reply to: FamCore

I have been fighting it since 1981. Took till about 93 to hit bottom. To this day I still desire it. Sorry to say that, this is just my story. Maybe you have heard about sharing your experience, strength and hope?

My wife is what made me give a $h!T about myself, and if I had not met her I really don't think I would be here now.

The Faith I have gained through this whole process is critical to me now, if I didn't have it I KNOW I would replace it with less desirable things.

What you did here is key! Reach out, talk to people, don't let negative responses stop you.
Go to meetings.....Meet clean friends that can relate to you there.
God Bless, your in my prayers.

U2U if you ever want to chat.

posted on Mar, 3 2015 @ 12:59 PM
I don't have answers for you, but I'd just like to say "hang in there." The fact that you're concerned about relapsing shows that you are not overconfident and I think your chances of succeeding are great. Find something that you're passionate about (or someone or some Higher Power or some-animal) -- something that feeds your soul. You deserve it, and it will help keep you flying straight.

posted on Mar, 3 2015 @ 01:05 PM
a reply to: stosh64

I truly appreciate your message. I know there is plenty of good in the world out there just waiting for me to find it, I just need to stay on the path and remember where I'm coming from + where I want to go.

It is both frightening and humbling to know that the thoughts stick with you for the rest of your life - i compare the addiction to bodybuilding because every single action you take has an impact on your body and mind - for good or for bad. That's why lifting became such a great thing for me, it pulled me in the other direction.

But I do think I need to connect with more people or find other sources of support. Time will tell, but at the end of the day it comes down to what I decide to call important and what I decide isn't... my life and my purpose ARE important I just need to remind myself and explain to myself why sometimes

posted on Mar, 3 2015 @ 01:07 PM
a reply to: graceunderpressure

Very good point... I know I Do deserve it, but much of the trouble is with remembering and reminding myself that I do. I have a little sister who thinks the world of me and I could never disappoint her like I did before.. that is a great motivator right there.

Thank you for the insight

posted on Mar, 3 2015 @ 01:13 PM
a reply to: FamCore

You nailed it! In the end it all comes down to a choice.

Meetings can be a good thing, at least for a network of emergency 'friends' if you ever need them.

I still have some after 20yrs that would drop everything at a phone call for me. And me for them.

posted on Mar, 3 2015 @ 01:33 PM
a reply to: stosh64

If there is ever a time that I reallly think I'm in trouble, I hope I would have the awareness to be able to reach out to someone who could talk me out of it - the more contacts the better (just in case). Maybe I should hit up a meeting, even if it's just once or twice (I always hesitate to go because I know I won't become a 'regular' at any meeting, even though I've been to dozens of meetings). I need to do what's best for me - something I easily forget sometimes and putting my needs or considerations after other peoples' is a good way to get into a messy situation.

posted on Mar, 3 2015 @ 01:44 PM
a reply to: FamCore

Sounds like you've experienced that "high" of getting clean and everything is great again. And now you're down off that high and the demons are rearing their heads again.
This is where it gets tough for addicts, as you are experiencing. Normality, mundane everyday life.

You have to learn to live with the demons or dark clouds as you say, because this is your life now.
Remind yourself how crap your life was, how dark and grey everything seemed.
Your health is your wealth. If you feel that doing what you do now is bringing you backwards, change it.


Even though its a new job and new town etc.
If the stressful long hours is making you think of drugs then you need to change that situation.
Hard as that would be, what else will you do? Go scoring? Go backwards?

I feel for man i really do.
As you said how do you recharge the batteries? Where can the next life-high come from?
Inside you, obviously.

You did break through to a new place, a new you. A new life. Sober, drug free.
This bit you said here,

but the thoughts are always there, and when I am emotionally compromised it seems to be something that is tougher to ignore/overpower.

The thoughts will always be there. Time, as you know is a great healer. The more days you put in between the last time you used and today, those thoughts will get easier to deal with bit by bit.
Remind yourself how crap your life was.
Get more clean days under your belt and i promise you those dark clouds will get easier to deal with.

PM me anytime man im on ATS everyday, i mean it. Do it.

Here's something i wrote about my addiction linked here


edit on 3/3/15 by SecretKnowledge because: added the last line

posted on Mar, 3 2015 @ 01:48 PM
Getting into a recovery group and letting them get to know me has changed my life! I am now surrounded by people that "get it" and that think like I think! In times like you're explaining, it's so awesome to have a network of people that understand. And during times you are feeling stronger, you get to help others. It's the beauty of it, and it works!

posted on Mar, 3 2015 @ 02:35 PM
a reply to: FamCore

Moments of doubt are your biggest worry. Find a support group. Or at least someone that you can talk to about previous addictions. I quit drinking over 20 years ago, and there are still days in which I think about splashing a cold one down my throat. The main thing is that a support system that you can call upon at the worst times is your best bet.

I'm not saying go to anay of those 12 step programs, then again I'm not saying to avoid them either. Some people find solace in them and support, and they can be very good.

Hang in there. Talking about it is a good sign that you don't want to relapse.

posted on Mar, 3 2015 @ 03:03 PM
One of my dearest friends has spent the last 6-7 months in rehab after practically a lifetime of being addicted to one substance or another.

He's had to realise that he's had his last drink at the last chance saloon.

I've spent years trying to encourage him to write, play music or paint but with little success. In the rehab place he was given every opportunity to do those things and, finally, he's realised what a talented and creative person he is. All those substances were strangling his creativity and, although I could see clearly that it was there, he didn't recognise his own talent.

Are you artistic in any way? Do you enjoy writing? Part of what my friend had to do for his therapy was write his life story. Would something like that help you? Maybe, as you wrote you would see a pattern, understand triggers and note what positive characteristics you showed throughout your troubles.

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy was used too, to great effect. Have you ever tried or thought of that?

One thing I was sure of was that my friend was buried underneath a j*nkie and an alcoholic. If one of them was 'in charge' there'd be no chance to reach him. I never identified him as either of those two and I knew better than to tackle them head on.

To speak to the real person, I had to get sneaky. I also had to realise that the real person would often collude with the other two.

You are in charge now - YOU - you want to keep it that way. Don't let those other two whining bastards ever tempt you off the Path again. They are not your friends, you've conquered them and you don't need them.

You've had some good advice here about finding groups of people who are in the same position as yourself. I hope you find one where you'll feel comfortable and get the support and encouragement you need.

You might be struggling to find your purpose or direction at the moment, but give yourself a chance. You had to put in a bit of effort to get where you are today - so you know how to do it.

You also know something very valuable - when to ask for help. Well done for doing that and not being too stubborn to ask us. Now ask again, but from people who are a little closer

edit on 3-3-2015 by berenike because: (no reason given)

posted on Mar, 3 2015 @ 03:07 PM
a reply to: SecretKnowledge

It really resonated with me when you said "THIS is your life now"

You are totally right.. i will bring my memories and demons with me but it is up to me as to whether or not I let them pull me back or now.

Your poem is on point - the "demon" takes over peoples' lives and can turn them into people they are not. That's how I used to be too, not caring what happened - just running on the neverending treadmill trying to get that feeling and escape whatever I was really feeling...

I'm grateful you responded and shared your experiences and reflection about this with me - it helped put things into perspective for me and see the universal truths pertaining to d0pe - the primary one being that it is nothing but empty promises and stolen lives.

posted on Mar, 3 2015 @ 03:25 PM
a reply to: SecretKnowledge

Secretknowledge has some excellent advice famcore. If its comes to a choice of you feeling you have to use to keep your job, your job is NOT worth it.
I learned early on I needed to change people, places and things. It sounds like you have done that already, don't be afraid to again.
Out of love from a fellow addict brother. Although its been 21 yrs, 1 day at a time baby.

posted on Mar, 3 2015 @ 05:56 PM
a reply to: stosh64 sometimes it'll be 1 hour at a time. but if i make it that hour through it'll be all good - if I turn back now it'd be a train wreck and i know that. self-fulfilling prophecies: "I know i can".... reach out to folks when I'm not so sure if needed. You've all been really supportive and helpful - thank you so much.

posted on Mar, 3 2015 @ 06:35 PM
a reply to: FamCore

Like graceunderpressure, just wanted to say hang in there. I've had a pretty gnarly problem myself that I managed to walk away from almost 2 years ago, so I can relate. Definitely takes its toll, eh?

Best wishes.

posted on Mar, 3 2015 @ 07:23 PM
I remember the day I used a seat-belt (or looked when crossing the street) for the first time in years because I cared about not dying... addiction had taken me to a day-to-day living hell where I hoped for an accidental end to it... I got arrested, put into a program and have been nearly human for 15 years now... the seat-belt came about 3 months in or so.

The real secret is changing your life and habits... just the hardest thing a human can do. But you have to have something to engage and challenge you... anything, otherwise the programmed thoughts come back.

Addiction is a sign of unhappiness in one's present state... one needs other toys or thoughts to absorb their interest, is all. The actual chemical addictions are secondary to that... with caveats.

With long term opiate use, for instance, the best way (for most) is the above outline and a slow (years long) wean off using a substitution chem from a clinic, for example, so that the brain might learn to make it's own again.

Other substances don't have that option, though, and everyone is a little different...

But basically changing the situation and environment leading to the repetitious behavior is a starting point... and it falls in line from there. Doing work for others, or getting a pet, having a job you actually like, moving somewhere you want to be and/or getting away from folks that drag you down, etc. ... stuff like that is what I mean.

It's doable, and one can do it without becoming insufferably righteous or boring... so good luck.

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