*Trigger warning: Please note this article may be particularly triggering for those with alcohol dependency.
Day 3. My brain has lost sensibility, I close my eyes and serenity engulfs me. It is beyond blissful, this is the life.Like all addicts, I’ve relapsed. And I’m having a ruddy good time of it too, because nothing about sober life supplies me with this feeling of tranquility.
Somehow though, a coherent and sobering thought is running through my mind. Why have I relapsed? No traumatic experience to be seen, no death of a loved one or significant tragedy has occurred in months.
So why, oh why, did this happen?
Because things got too damn good. The narcissistic mindset depression has bestowed upon me has decided things are going far too well and that shouldn’t be allowed.
“Have a drink to celebrate how great things are going!”.
Sure, I’ve been sober a while, a little drink won’t hurt anyone and things are going oh so swimmingly.
The problem with being a recovering addict, is that you can’t let your guard down for even a millisecond. Because if you do? You end up on day 3 of a whiskey binge before you even suspect you may have relapsed.
Addictions like this are scary in ways unseen to most. I function at a fully capable human level and but for the baited smell of whiskey on my breath, you wouldn’t know I’m on my second bottle of brown today. I don’t function any better, or any worse.
The only difference between sober and drunk? Is that today I can relax. Because today, I’ve quenched that thirst. And it’s a thirst that cannot be quenched until the first sweet drop of alcoholic nectar touches my lips. It gets easier in time to resist, but saying no on day 1 is the quest that proves most elusive. A daily quest that results in failure.
To think, a full blown relapse can be caused by celebration.
What is the point of this article? Partly to remind myself I’m better than this, partly to serve as a reminder to anyone who is recovering from addiction of just how easy it is to fall back into old habits. And take it from me, this 3 day relapse has made me feel nothing but shame and sorrow.
The sad fact is, I’ve been incredibly productive the past few days. I’m so used to this feeling that it doesn’t phase me. One day that’ll stop when my internal organs finally win my lifelong game of Russian roulette.
And it is equally sad that I’m not alone when I say this. It took me three days to realise I had relapsed. Alcohol is almost second nature to me. Drunk could be considered one of my main emotional states.
With sincerity I hope this serves as a deterrent to anyone close to a relapse, in a relapse or even to someone who is on the road to recovery. Getting the fix you crave is great for a moments of pure ecstasy. After that it’s just a downward ride to square one.
So, as all true drunk men do, I’ll finish this with a pearl of perceived wisdom.
No matter how much better you feel, no matter how great things are and how long you’ve been sober from your poison of choice, never let your guard down. Addiction is much like other mental illnesses, it seemingly strikes when you least expect it.
And like alcohol, it becomes deadly when mixed with something else. Depression fuels alcoholism, which fuels depression. The cycle continues.
However, become part of a community like Mental Movement? The support, network, friends and stories are a pool of resources to draw from and helped me to catch this at day 3, not day 53.