A look at Relapse
Although this is about a relapse into alcoholism, it applies to
many other areas of life, from overeating to relationship and
money problems. Read it carefully.
1. EXHAUSTION – Allowing yourself to become overly tired or in
poor health. Some Alcoholics are also prone to work addictions
– perhaps in a hurry to make up for lost time.
Good health and enough rest are important. If you feel well you
are more apt to think well. Feel poorly and your thinking is
apt to deteriorate. Feel bad enough and you might begin
thinking a drink couldn’t make it any worse.
2. DISHONESTY – This begins with a pattern of unnecessary
little lies and deceits with fellow workers, friends, and
family. Then come important lies to yourself. This is called
"rationalizing" – making excuses for not doing what you don’t
want to do, or for doing what you know you should not do.
3. IMPATIENCE – Things are not happening fast enough. Others
are not doing what they should or what you want them to do.
4. ARGUMENTATIVENESS – Arguing small and ridiculous points of
view indicates a need to always be right. "Why don’t you be
reasonable and agree with me?" Looking for an excuse to drink?
5. DEPRESSION – Unreasonable and unaccountable despair may
occur in cycles and should be dealt with – talked about.
6. FRUSTRATION – At people and also because things may not be
going your way. Remember — everything is not going to be just
the way you want it to be.
7. SELF-PITY – "Why do these things happen to me?"
"Why must I be an alcoholic?"
"Nobody appreciates all I am doing – for them?"
8. COCKINESS – Got it made – no longer fear alcoholism –
going into drinking situations to prove to others you have no
problem. Do this often enough and it will wear down your
9. COMPLACENCY – "Drinking was the furthest thing from my
mind." Not drinking was no longer a conscious thought, either.
It is dangerous to let up on disciplines just because everything
is going well. Always to have a little fear is a good thing.
More relapses occur when things are going well than otherwise.
10. EXPECTING TOO MUCH FROM OTHERS – "I’ve changed, why hasn’t
everyone else?" It’s a plus if they do, but it is still your
problem if they do not. They may not trust you yet, may still
be looking for further proof. You cannot expect others to
change their style of life just because you have.
11. LETTING UP ON DISCIPLINES – Prayer, meditation, daily
inventory, AA attendance. This can stem either from complacency
or boredom. You cannot afford to be bored with your program.
The cost of relapse is always too great.
12. USE OF MOOD-ALTERING CHEMICALS – You may feel the need to
ease things with a pill and your doctor may go along with you.
You may never have had a problem with chemicals other than
alcohol, but you can easily lose sobriety starting this way –
about the most subtle way of having a relapse.
Remember you will be cheating! The reverse of this is true for
drug-dependent persons who start to drink.
13. WANTING TOO MUCH – Do not set goals you cannot reach with
normal effort. Do not expect too much. It’s always great when
good things you were not expecting happen. You will get what
you are entitled to as long as you do your best, but maybe not
as soon as you think you should.
"Happiness is not having what you want,
but wanting what you have."
14. FORGETTING GRATITUDE – You may be looking negatively on
your life, concentrating on problems that still are not totally
corrected. Nobody wants to be a Pollyanna – but it is good to
remember where you started from, and how much better life is
15. "IT CAN’T HAPPEN TO ME" – This is dangerous thinking.
Almost anything can happen to you if you get careless.
Remember you have a progressive disease, and you will be in
worse shape if you relapse.
16. OMNIPOTENCE – This is a feeling that results from a
combination of many of the above. You now have all the answers
for yourself and others. No one can tell you anything.
You ignore suggestions or advice from others. Relapse is
probably imminent unless drastic change takes place.
The above is a checklist of symptoms leading to relapse
(taken from a Hazelden Foundation pamphlet called,
"A Look at Relapse""A Look at Relapse"