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6 things that will lead you to relapse...
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6 things that will lead you to relapse...

Here's a list of 6 things I came up with that I know may people have relapsed over..

1. Keeping secrets…Trying to keep your addiction under wraps will only allow you to hold on to things that will rationalize your using. I think everyone I know with significant clean time has tried keeping their using a secret and tried to stop on their own. However, the disease of addiction is a powerful thing. You simply can’t do it without support. Keeping your problems a secret will only eventually lead to relapse.
2. Not using aftercare...Here’s the real secret of how to gain long term recovery-It has absolutely nothing to do with the drugs of alcohol. They are only a side effect of the disease. The true problem is the way we think and rationalize our actions. It’s all centered in our brains, not our drugs. Aftercare of some sort gives us a new way of living, choosing to deal with every day’s problems…not numbing them out.
3. Not changing your playgrounds, playmates, and playtoys…I’m sorry, but you will not stay clean if you continue doing things that remind you of your using. This includes hanging around bars, visiting places where you used, hanging around people you used with, or frequenting doctors who supplied you without telling them about your addiction.  You must essentially change your behaviors to gain recovery.
4. Relying on willpower…Willpower is the absolute worst thing you can rely on. White knuckling it through recovery doesn’t work. Your disease will ultimately talk you into using again. This is where recovery and aftercare helps the most. Take it from someone who know…white knuckle sobriety isn’t fun.
5. Trying to control your using…This was my favorite. I had legit pain and wanted to just control my using. If you’re a typical addict, it just doesn’t work that way. I’ve had to find new ways of dealing with the pain. I’ll also say this, you will not succeed in this fight if you have a bottle of pills in the house “just in case” the pain gets too bad. Your disease will ultimately talk you into draining the bottle.
6. Changing your drug of choice….This happens more than you know.  People get off oxycodone or hydrocodone only to get hooked on tramadol. They quit painkillers only to keep the occasional drink in their life. They give up the opiates but take ambient or benzos for sleep or anxiety. If you are an addict and you take any addictive substance for any length of time and you will either become addicted to it…or it will lead you back to your drug of choice.

These are just a few of the things I’ve learned. I’d love to hear from people about what caused them to relapse…or if you have any stories that relate to some things I’ve listed…
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64 Comments Post a Comment
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271792_tn?1334983257
Hi GG,

ALL of those are excellent examples and I would be hard pressed to say one is more than the other for me. Each one of them kept me using or caused a relapse.

The only one I could think to add is "boredom". So many of us do not know what to do with ourselves after getting clean. Our drug behavior dictated our every move, in many of us, for years. We lived to use and used to live. I know that I spent so many years hanging in my playground, as you said, with my playmates and when I was newly clean I didn't know what I was supposed to do. I quickly got addicted to going to the movies and bowling. Funny as that sounds, I did not use. It took me a long time to get back into doing the things that I had enjoyed but had long forgotten about.

Thank you for the post. It is a wake up call and a huge reminder of where I was and where I can be if I don't work a program.
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199177_tn?1332183097
Ga and IBK great posts
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222369_tn?1274478235
Yes, boredom is a big one. They taught us in rehab about HALT..Hungry, Angry, Alone, and tired...4 things that are big triggers.
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Avatar_f_tn
Yes!!!  I was going to add:  Know your triggers!!  Boredom and being alone ( isolating )
for too long is a huge trigger.  Some of you know about my vacuuming therapy!!  If I'm irritated,I head for the Hoover. It's one of the small things that work for me fast!!

This is a great list,Guy!
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725350_tn?1318684068
Great post GA.

I also know how not-fun white knuckling it is. I pushed through 39 days one time, and it was a constant struggle. I wish I had like a "Truman Show" set up sometimes to show people trying to quit just how much better life can be through aftercare. Getting sober was just the begining, I've got the life I've always wanted now. It doesn't mean I don't make mistakes, but I can honestly say that for at least 10 months now I haven't had an urge or craving to use. My higher power has truly done for me what I couldn't do for myself; it's kept me clean.

Not sleeping was a big trigger for me. It stemmed from 2 things. First, I was a drug addict who was used to having massive amounts of opiates, marijuana, and liquor to help me get to sleep. Secondly, when I was sober and layed down to sleep, I had all these thoughts running through my head. Things I had done wrong, things I was afraid of, things I was worried about, etc. The AA/NA programs have made it so that I don't have to worry or have anxiety about life anymore; I know if I do the next right thing, I will be just fine. And if I screw up, all I have to do is do the next right thing after that. It's so much easier than it used to be; lying about things, letting my character defects rule my life, hiding from my problems and many other negative things.

One of the most rewarding things for me has been to sponsor others in the program. My sponsor always told me, "when we work together it does as much, if not more, for me than it does for you". He was right. It has definitly been a spiritual experience.

Thanks for your post, you always have some good recovery-minded things to say.

H-Town
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683878_tn?1301550868
Number 5 is my worst and I have eliminated the word control from my vocabulary because I know I cannot control. Great post!
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1032715_tn?1315987834
So far and I intend it to be forever this is the first time I decided to quit both my DOC's just because it was time I did and for overall health.I haven't had any relapse so I don't really know what would trigger one.I'm 288 days clean of alcohol and codeine.I did stop through both my pregnancies but started again as soon as I gave birth,I don't call this a relapse because I intended to drink again when I had the children.I also gave up for 12 months after brain surgery because my neurosurgeon told me I couldn't drink,but I intended to drink as soon as the 12 months was up so once again it wasn't really a relapse.I am getting aftercare through a counsellor,and have been honest with everyone around me,No Secrets anymore.

Denise
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495284_tn?1333897642
Cant add anything to the list Ga Guy.....You covered it all.  Good post         sara
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Avatar_f_tn
Why can't strength and willpower work this is dis-ease not a disease. Would you tell someone going through chemo "hey I have a disease too, I abuse drugs?
This is my 3rd time to detox but its the first time I quit because of me.  Does that mean anything?  Can a person really just not stay clean because its no longer an option to ruin yours and your families lives?
Thank you for the post!  
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Avatar_f_tn
Number 5 is the BIG ONE for me.  After I was clean for a couple months and feeling I had this bull by the horns . . . talked myself into thinking I could just take a couple for the weekend. . . .Didn't take long before I was flirtin with disaster.  Will power got me through withdrawls.  Aftercare is keeping me in recovery.      
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983679_tn?1276836936
Yes, many people continue to use after ruining their lives, the lives of their families, and even the lives of their frinds.  Addiction has NO boundries--it has no feelings, addiction has not even thoughts, addiction is inbeded in our bodies and once fed it starts to take over, I guess you could kinda look at it like a pitbull--those dogs can be the most gentle(most of us when we are truely clean--not "out" but DONE) creatures in the world, but once in the wrong hands( this is when he are first introduced to the pills) They usually start out a lil shy, a lil resevered(deginning addiction) and ater they fight around 30 times or so (you know back when using was fun---you got that lil kick of them) they start to need it--they crave that blood, stand at their cage crawling and biting at wire (this is when addiction is in full swing and we are invinsible)----however, after a while they get to old to keep fighting, they get to beat dwon, injured, locked up in the humane socaity or even worse they get killed....hmmmmm....ever hear--jail, instatutuion, or deat ( is that the rite 3 guys???)---kinda sounds like the dogs options as well. Those are truely 3 three options we have in we seek to stay in active addiction---NO other options exsist---I mean, you might think--ha, this guy dont know me---I have a great job, I am a great family person--I promise you THAT ALL CAVES in and we are all left with those same 3 options in the end--Jails, Institutions, or Death. If you look at the "doctor forum" on here you will see that the doctor(very sussecfull, wealty, cheif of antistology<-mispelled, hard working)  became so addiction to prescription medicen that it cost  him everything, his med liseince(he got them back  now), his job, and even his respect--in the end he had the same 3 options me and you have aswell--thank God he choose the instation(rehab) and today after many years is rebuilding his life. Anyways, I am sorry i went on and on with this cr@p---i worked all night last night and cant sleep so this might not  even make since so just take out of it what you can :)
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983679_tn?1276836936
one last think--its not that "strength and willpower" isnt enough--heck those are the very two things that keep nonaddicts going--those are two things life is built on, its OUR          " strength and willpower "
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Avatar_n_tn
It's great if AA works for you but why tell other people to not summon their willpower to help them stop. I mean if they think it helps them then why bash it? Just because some people feel they have no control, (you must have had some control unless you continually ate pills without ever stopping), doesn't mean that it applies to everyone.  If you have the will to start then you have the will to stop. Or should we all just accept our powerlessness and submit to a Higher Power? I'm saying that sarcastically but you know what I mean.

Also for someone to have tapered meant they had considerable willpower. Were they just not addicted during this time? I don't get it.

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983679_tn?1276836936
well, if you look at it statisticly you will see that only a few percent of addicts are able to successfully taper--and even these few have outside help--like maybe a spouse holding pills or something like that. Also, do you know that it was THEIR  willpower? what if they had no option--no more pills, connection busted, doctor caught selling prescriptions, or whatever the case might be. No one said that you can not use your will power as an additional source(well actually no one said that you could not try it as your only sourse--advice and experance is all we can give--I am not sure if anyone on here is a MD) . However, many addicts before us and even most of us have tried it everyway and we have found what works. If your willpower was so strong than how did you end up here, on medHELP? to summon your will power to HELP you stop is a great idea--but not sure if alone it is going to be enough. If we accepted our powerless than why is it that so many spend hours of their day on here helping people like me and you(and themselfs)--"power and willpower" are two things that we have to build off of--gain controll of or atleast even it out and make it stop controlling us. And by the way, I did pretty much  continually eat pills without ever stopping--only stopping when i was out of pills or out of day, thats why i found my way here
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199177_tn?1332183097
recovery care includes many different things not just aa.na find what works for you just make a plan and put it into action
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983679_tn?1276836936
Good words avisg!
  Not one recovery plan for everone, infact, prob no two alike. no two addicts alike, no two w/ds alike, and no two recovery plans alike--but if you search hard enough you will find the one for you!
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495284_tn?1333897642
Well said Lee........
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Avatar_f_tn
Thank you all for your opinions.  I'm not out of pills or money, people arnt holding my pills. I didn't tapper I quit! Hard and fast. And can make a phone call at anytime. I set a quit date & stuck to it. In fact I'm taking a hot bath and drinking lots of water instead.  I'm saddened to hear how many of you don't believe in yourselves enough to think there's a 100% failure rate without turning your life into an aa session.
These forums help me. But if I can't count on myself to be honest with myself I'm for damn sure not going to be honest to a sponsor?
Difference is determined by you and only you. I can go to aa all day every day but if I don't want to quit I'd just be showing up high.
I need control back! Not to give it away (again).
I am in no way knocking on na or as al annon treatment centers. Ive been through it all. But its taking it seriously that stops the addition. Otherwise there would be a lot less.addicts out there, right? These pills didn't jump in my mouth chew themselves up and run down my throat. If we have the power to create we have the power to destroy.
Go to meetings enter forums but for Pete's sake people when will believe in yourselves. Have you been beaten down that badly? Tell a cancer patient about your disease how your treatment is working. Maybe even let them know you can die too. This "dis-ease" didn't find me I found it. I needed it!
Bottom line is its important to draw strength from others but its even more important to draw strength from within. Without that why even bother?
Keep an eye on me, I plan to prove my point.
Besides I'm on day 4 of c/t detox, one day at a time right.
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495284_tn?1333897642
I hope you do prove your point and i will be the 1st one to congratulate you.        sara
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983679_tn?1276836936
First of all, congrads on day for---however, dont put the horse before the wagon---You are right, I am big enough to admit when i have misspoken-----SHEAR WILLPOWER can get you clean---strenght alone CAN get you through w/ds----But IMO you (as many of us do myself included for a long time) are missing the BIG picture---Afterlife---life after those 4 or 5 uncomfortable days that you admazing willpower and strenght got you through( I have heard of this as "white knuckleing it")---what happens next???? for the next 6 months, 3 years, 8 years, all  the way up till the day you die? How do you stay clean? I am not knocking you----if you alone can beat this disease without any outside help, aftercare, meetings, or whatever and you go on to live a happy content drugfree life--hey I take my hat off to you-----but IMO for being at day 4 you are getting a lil ahead of yourself---You are still haveing pyhsical w/ds(with your strenght they prob are no big deal) but the hard part starts next---Anyone can make it through those first few days---but after that you gotta make it the rest of your life------thats a long time to "white knuckle" it! Good Luck though, Keep us posted---You do sound like you believe in yourself so give it your all! By the way, here is the truth on addiction--and I am sorry I think it takes a lil more than "human strenght and willpower to over come this, but you believe for yourself!

  " Addiction is a chronic, often relapsing brain disease that causes compulsive drug seeking and use despite harmful consequences to the individual who is addicted and to those around them. Drug addiction is a brain disease because the abuse of drugs leads to changes in the structure and function of the brain. Although it is true that for most people the initial decision to take drugs is voluntary, over time the changes in the brain caused by repeated drug abuse can affect a person’s self control and ability to make sound decisions, and at the same time send intense impulses to take drugs.

It is because of these changes in the brain that it is so challenging for a person who is addicted to stop abusing drugs. Fortunately, there are treatments that help people to counteract addiction’s powerful disruptive effects and regain control. Research shows that combining addiction treatment medications, if available, with behavioral therapy is the best way to ensure success for most patients. Treatment approaches that are tailored to each patient’s drug abuse patterns and any co-occurring medical, psychiatric, and social problems can lead to sustained recovery and a life without drug abuse.

Similar to other chronic, relapsing diseases, such as diabetes, asthma, or heart disease, drug addiction can be managed successfully. And, as with other chronic diseases, it is not uncommon for a person to relapse and begin abusing drugs again. Relapse, however, does not signal failure—rather, it indicates that treatment should be reinstated, adjusted, or that alternate treatment is needed to help the individual regain control and recover.
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222369_tn?1274478235
Willpower doesn't work for a couple of reasons. First, willpower just isn't sustainable. People's moods ebb and flow every day. With that comes changes in emotions. What starts out as a great day can end up being a crappy one. You just can't sustain willpower all the time. Most of us can't give up our favorite foods for a day...much less forever. Think it would be any easier with our first love, drugs? Secondly, willpower can actually be the worst thing for a drug addict. Willpower translates into control. If we could control our using, do you think we'd be addicts? If you get 6 months clean by willpower, your disease WILL talk you into believing you can control your using. I've yet to see the book "Empowering your inner addict" written yet.
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186166_tn?1385262982
well said ga guy.  i've had this post on my mind for the last 20 minutes...just thinking back to how many addicts came here with the same mindset...that they were stronger than their drug of choice...that their shear willpower was all they needed.  i watched them all fail.

kind of like a small child just starting school.  their minds are open to learning...they soak in everything that the "more experienced" teachers bring to them.  they listen...they follow...and in the process they become more educated than when they started.

why is it that addiction is so different?  why do addicts fight, with everything they can muster, the knowledge of this disease?  the knowledge of those who have tried and failed so many times UNTIL they listened?
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222369_tn?1274478235
It's because addiction is a mental, spiritual, and physical disease. A poster above likened addiction as a disease to cancer or another physical ailment. The correlation simply doesn't work. We can become well and healthy physically but we can never unlearn the MEMORIES of those highs we got.
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983679_tn?1276836936
Man, this is a good post and I am glad a read it---thx for posting
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617347_tn?1331296681
Ok, as someone who doesn't attend NA meetings, here's my opinion... :)

active addiction is a disease  because it meets all the factors that the word implies for me : pain, suffering, poor health ( including mental and physical damages ) with many social consecuences and finally, death...

whereas, imo, non active addiction is an illness/a medical chronic condition under control  cause i don't feel the pain, i don't suffer because of it, i'm not damaging my health every day ( just the opposite and apart from living with the damage already done ) i'm not suffering the social consecuences nor risking my life, my job, etc... but i have to live with it .

the point for me is that no one can transform a disease into a medical condition under control just by will power or strength. You, me..any addict must make life changes for it and not only by  staying clean those changes are made...staying clean is the main factor to start having our condition under control but it's short lived if we don't follow the right treatment here....

I really believe that NA is the best and most helpful  and cheapest tool all in one you could find after detoxing to make those life changes possible and follow the right "treatment" but only if one works hard at "working" the so called 12 step programm and not just by attending their meetings ...

The right treatment for me  is leading a very disciplined life  ( .... following  an exercise  regime, a healthy diet ) , having healthy relationships, addressing my personal problems/issues and going to the roots of my addiction ((  as i understand it now this would be a "must")) along with that of being clean of drugs . See that i believe  living clean to be  the main factor because  nothing has any meaning without it but it's not the only factor  for me if i gonna achieve the goal of keeping my condition under control..

There are two ways that help us  making  those changes while  addressing those personal issues : NA and working the 12 step program or  the therapy/addiction counsellors/psych route as i'm doing now or  both...

I am following the second option of private sessions with specialist guidance and supporting other addicts through the forum and also being helped by other addicts who are supporting me too here.  

I understand that without sustanining and working hard at all those factors of the "treatment" ( all of them ) my relapse would be on my very near future. So i understand that some of you want to do it by your own even if it is  not the easiest way but do make those life changes and  ask for help as i did if something is not working . I am not saying that WITHOUT  Na you will relapse, what i'm saying  is  that we need making those LIFE CHANGES to have our condition under control. So again, please, please, please..check every day, every week and every month that you are making those life changes and taking the right steps and ask for help  if you are on your own and it's not enough,   don't let your guard down :)

i have a lot of confidence not only on my self  now but also that i'm walking on the right direction  and with the right foundations and sure,  we need of our willpower and strength but not to stay clean but to follow the right/best treatment to our illness ........

because when talking about a disease/illnesss or nay health issue, all the confidence and will power  without following the right treatment  is quite short lived...

good luck to all of us !! :)
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1067375_tn?1276362905
great post!!!!
i personaly dont go to aa or na and my doctor doesnt know i was even addicted .............i still see the same people who are addicts including family ........i feel stronger being able to be around those who take drugs and refuse when offered, or talk to them about help they need if theres anything i can do etc
dunno if anyone else is the same its just my way of dealing lol
jen x
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199177_tn?1332183097
Lizzie is right you can treat a mental disease but you cant cure it ...The other thing that gets to me is every time recovery care is brought up its ohhhhhh why do we have to go to aa./na most members here when they post throw out a lots of options for them aa/na may have worked for them but I dont see them saying its the only way you will get clean.  THERE are many other recovery programs that work. Some programs work better for one then the others . If its aa/na tats is great if its not find what works for you and stick to it ,

I will say this and this is coming from someone that does not use aa/na sometime check out the clean time of our members that are working there aa/na programs .
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725350_tn?1318684068
Addiction is a progressive illness, it's always growing. From personal experience and watching those around me, will power alone is a shaky option at best. Here's what I mean:

When GA and I were talking about white knuckling it, that feeling of I want to use but I'm just not going to, uggghh. It is possible to spend many years sober like this. I know of a man who was 15 years sober this way, no aftercare, nothing. He relapsed hard and lost everything. He's now almost 2 years sober again, working the AA program, and is the first to tell you that his life now is infinitly better than it was when he was using will power. The point of aftercare is so that you don't have to use will power to stay sober, that we become neutral to drugs by living for something other than ourselves. Addiction is a selfish disease, and the use of drugs is merely a symptom of it. "I don't like today, so I'm gonna use; Today was great, I'm gonna use." It was always about what I wanted. Learning to live a better way is the goal, changing our old behaviors and thought processes is the means.

I personally did not want to try to do it on will power alone because I know my track record on that. Will power was never enough for me to do the right thing in my life, especially in the drug area.

I had the same thoughts too, when I was a week or so clean. "Why is this a disease if I can get better? does it mean I'll never get better?" Thats not it at all. What we have is a daily reprieve contigent upon our spiritual condition. As long as I do what I'm supposed to do and trust in something greater than myself, my life is amazing. I guess being on this side of it with over a year clean it just makes it hard to see why people fight aftercare. In the end, however, I know it works and I will continue to do it because I love the life that I live, and it is something I couldn't have gotten through will power alone.
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1337425_tn?1278177587
Thanks for the input.  My son (who's 32) has been trying to get me to switch to Tramadol after 12 clean days now from oxycontin & percocet.

He said he'd found a non-narcotic, not-opiate... when I googled the numbers on the pills, it sure looked like an opiate to me.
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Avatar_m_tn
Good post Trust ,God,clean house, and help others do not drink and drug no matter what and go to meetings I go to AA and NA .Stay cool and clean.
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Avatar_m_tn
Well bud you have covered everthing. but craving is a huge trigger for me. When i crave i have the DEVIL on my shoulder telling me its ok just a lil will do know harm. You and i both know  how fatal that devil,s voice can and will be    GREAT POST G G ,,,,,,James
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495284_tn?1333897642
James, what causes the cravings?  Go back and read thru the 6 things Ga Guy has listed and see if any of them apply to you.  Also IBKleen added boredom.....Whenever i let my guard down one or all of these things comes into play, my brain sends signals to the bad side and therefore the cravings start and the demon has awaken and raises holy he!! with me.  Thru my aftercare i am able to put the old boy to rest as i know what i need to do and i do it.          sara
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222369_tn?1274478235
James, cravings are just a symptom of the disease. You don't want the drugs, you want to kill some emotion. Find that emotion, work on getting it into a better frame of mind, and the cravings will go away.
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1032715_tn?1315987834
Why do some people get upset when those that have been through and are still going through recovery suggest that aftercare is the most important thing to help with recovery.No one said you must do AA or NA,I see a life coach who helps me to turn the way my brain thinks around to making healthy choices in life.I still utilise willpower as well but it does need to be in conjuction with other recovery strategies,you don't necessarily have to give youself to a higher power it is whatever strategies work for you.Great post and a good debate is healthy,just be respectful of each others opinion.

Denise
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199177_tn?1332183097
James,
cravings are going to happen and its how you learn to cope with them .You get into a program that helps give you the tools to handle them .Remember craving is only a thought just depends whether you choose to act upon it.
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983679_tn?1276836936
well, anyhow--its no big deal----post are easily misunderstood because you are missing an important part of communication---intropersonal, body language, voice tone and all that good stuff. I have written post that i mean and type one thing and b4 I know it I have a whole drama filled post going---because it was takin the wrong way---and it seems that once one person takes it the wrong way the ones that follow afterwards just run wild wit it. I am sorry if your post was misunderstood or if I was one of those ones that i am talking about "running wikd on a misunderstood post" . no offense meant
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Avatar_n_tn
If addiction is not a physical disease then please tell what is it we're suffering from? If we're all suffering from the same disease and the only symptoms are uncontrolled drug use and withdrawal then logically the only thing the disease can be is just that. Anyway, diseases by definition describe some physical process gone awry-in this case dependence.   If it's some "spiritual" discontent or escapism then you can include non-addicts into that group as well. IMO, there is no real difference between dependence and addiction. "drug-seeking" behavior that is used to differentiate the two is too broad to mean anything. For example, a person might be so dependent that they'll doctor shop but never to the point that they'd rob a pharmacy. Are they "less" addicted than the other?  Once you're dependent you're dependent (or addicted). There's not a special group of dependent people who suffer from an extra illness-which no one can name or describe in concrete terms.
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983679_tn?1276836936
I think you are putting to much thought into this. we are drug addicts---we are here because we all share a common bond-----addiction, dependentcy, pharmacy robbers blah blah blah.....the mai thing is the desire to stop and seems that you have that so you should be on the right track
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Avatar_f_tn
Stress also is a major factor for me. Usually job related, lol.  But it's also because I have been relying sooooo long on this med to pull me through.
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1405544_tn?1331922301
I know this is an older post. But being new here, I was researching and stumbled upon it. What a great post. Man. G A Guy, those 6 reasons...the reasons i have relapsed all those years. This time I am seeking aftercare. First time ever. Been addicted for 15 years and quit more times than I can think. At least one if not all of those reasons were always a huge part of it if not all of it.

Going to try NA at the end of the week. If that doesn't work, a counselor or addiction specialist will be tried. My knuckles are tired and weak from trying to push my way through and failing all those times with nothing but willpower. If that's enough for someone, great. But not me, not enough for me. Never has been.

I am really happy I found this post. I have a feeling I will becoming back and rereading it again :)
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1374653_tn?1289243073
I agree with life, this was an incredibly insightful post.  I am glad that you pulled it back up.  I think GA guys original comments were very on point; however, I also think the comments from the others were helpful as well.  What it did for me was reinforce the idea that everyone has their own path to walk and can take bits and pieces of advice from other's experiences, but in the end, everyone must develop their own personal strategy.

I compare it somewhat to church...many people role play with it and just follow the words of the preacher, but the goal is to develop a personal relationship with your Creator and just use the church and church folk as support systems and guides to get there.

There is no one clear and plain path that everyone can walk, we were all created different (and the same) so that will hold true in our battles with addiction.  Some of us are geese, others are ganders, but we all are addicts.
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The is a huge part of my recovery that scares me a lot....changing the things I do.  You see, my true love is porcelain dollmaking.  I started making dolls about 12 yrs ago.  After my surgerys back in 2005, I was put on some pain medicine for after the surgery.  I did well with them ones and even had a lot left over afterwards that I didn't take...instead, I threw them out.  However, once the pain returned and I found out another surgery was not an option and my Doctors took me off work, all I had left was my craft and the computer....so when I was put on pain meds for the long term, I began taking the meds so that my hands felt well enough to work on my dolls....knit.....draw.....just any art and craft project.  Then I noticed I was taking one whenever I had to go somewhere....it helped with my anxiety about driving (yes, I have a lot of panic attacks while I am behind the wheel....so I would avoid driving at all costs...but the pain pills calmed me down and I have been able to drive myself around all the time without the panic attacks for the past couple years).  Then I noticed I would like to take one before I cleaned the house....helped with the pain so I could get the house clean.....these are things I don't know how I will do without some kind of pain medicine.  OTC medicines don't work...I know....I tried them many times...especially before they put me on Vicoden.  Having to raise a 13 yr old is tough enough...but when you have to drive her 4 miles each way to the bus stop every day....drive her around for school functions all the time.....cook dinner every day.....keep clothes done for school....the list goes on and on.....these are the things I really worry about.  How am I going to be able to do all this when I am in constant pain?  I have talked to my Doctor about this and he said if we couldn't find some other form of pain medicine that works, it may be a fact of putting me back on the pain meds...but that I would have to be monitored very closely...he said maybe we could do something like one week on, one week off...things like that to where I can't get out of control with them....but I worry that I will anyway.  This is going to be a whole lot harder than I thought but I know I can do it....I just need family, friends and support!  God Bless us All!!!!
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Great post....lots to think about.  I only have one issue with it.  I have such a hard time  convincing myself I have a "disease".  The reason....I watched my father die a slow painful death from diabetes.....followed 9 years later by watching my mother die from ovarian cancer.  Now, THOSE were diseases!  Horrible.  And let me tell you, throughout all of it, I was numbed to the hilt on pain meds.  Never once did I think, poor me, look at MY disease.  i consider everything I read to be valid and respect everyone's opinions, especially as I am way new to this.  But am I the only person who has a hard time buying the "disease" thing?  
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your words " .. I only have one issue with it.  I have such a hard time  convincing myself I have a "disease".  The reason....I watched my father die a slow painful death from diabetes.....  Horrible. ..."

please, do you have any doubt that your addiction is damaging your physical and mental health, your social life, your relationships, your job, that you are suffering every day from its consecuences ? that your state of mind, your organs, your brain , your life are being damaged by your addiction and it is affecting your whole life ? don't you  think yet that active addiction is taking you to a slow and painful death from it ?  
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"Disease"?

Then call it a "problem" kiki,,,,Whatever works for you..Fact is, things ain't working too good..Only you can make some sort of change to re-stabilize things..And the biggest red flag in the picture is pills..A great place to start..
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Oh, I have no doubt that I have issues and a big, big problem on my hands.  But self-inflicted misery....don't know.  Like I said, watching death from real disease puts a different spin on things.  That is all that I meant.  I know alot of people will not like what I say and will not agree with me.  Just wanted to know if I was alone in feeling this way....that's all.  just trying to learn here, not to offend anyone.......
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yes, DAV, I like "problem" alot better.  I can live with that and readily admit it is true
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My brother's lovely wife disintigrated over a 10 year period before brain cancer got her. My grandmother was roared over by a concrete truck when I was 14. 2 of my brothers died within 6 months of each other when I was 17 kiki. My 13 yo brother drowned in a 1/2 inch of water and I found him...

Come on,,I can justify anything I want with my sorrow..But I don not, because I know its a lie and an excuse..Think about it...
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Ok, then, "problem" works for you..Thats a step in the right direction :)
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hey, no offence at all :)

it is not that some  people would not like or would disagree with what you are saying. It just puzzles me the way you look at it. I'm not sure if you think that as it is self inflicted the consecuences are not as important or it is "less real disease " because of it ? or what is your point when saying it is self inflicted ...as if it were less real.

many diabetes are from a lack of care and bad diet through the years, lung cancer could come from smoking, is it less real ? i don't see what you are meaning, sorry :)
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"Disease"  a condition of the living animal or plant body or of one of its parts that impairs normal functioning and is typically manifested by distinguishing signs and symptoms :
......according to Websters dictionary
We have a disease that can be arrested by not using, some people are not addicts some people are, funny thing is real addicts have a way of telling themselves (well maybe I'm not and try it again some know to let the voice know the truth,I am what I am . Maybe it all comes down to "What ever gets you through the night?" John Lennon  Peace/Love
PS Thank you  Ga Guy
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Laurel, fantastic analogy with lung cancer and smoking...another of my horrible vices!  Excellent point.  Again, I am here to learn and that is a plainly obvious point that makes incredible sense to me.  Thank you.  

And to you, DAV, I am so sorry to hear of all of the misfortune you have had to bear witness to.  I truly feel for you.  I am sorry if you misunderstood me.  I was never trying to lay blame on sadness in my life as the cause of this.  This all started because I like having a party going on in my head and I know it.  The party has long been over, trust me.  I was trying to say that THAT was what disease was to me.  But Laurel has turned that thinking right around.
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:) you are welcome.......and  i bet you would seek treatment for any illness/disease however you got it ? self inflicted or not ?

detox and recovery with aftercare are our best bets here, following some directions and never letting our guard down is the way to change the outcome, kiki. As we talked yesterday, there is nothing more important than our life itself... and you can do it, trust yourself.
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I absolutely understand where you are coming from. I too, feel on some level that this is not the same as someone who has, let's say, an uncontrollable disease such as cancer, diabetes, etc...The very guilt from my feeling that this is a selfish disease that I brought upon myself has probably helped me relapse more than once. But the folks who posted after you, especially what Laurel said about smoking being the cause of lung cancer, or eating crappy your whole life being the reason you're dying of diabetes. That is all true as well.

I guess certain people are more susceptible to certain illnesses, be it diabetes, cancer, or even addiction. If you eat like crap but don't have a predisposition to diabetes, you may by dumb luck be able to avoid it your whole life. Or if you know cancer is prevelant in your family medical history, you should try especially hard to avoid smoking. Just like, if you know there to be problems with our disease, addiction, we have to strive harder to avoid any substances that can lead us straight into the destructive path.

I knew full well my mother had a WILDLY addictive personality and that was just from smoking, drinking, and her relationship with food. And she is bipolar (which I also am). If I knew then what I know now, maybe I would have had the strength to have stayed away...or maybe not. It's very easy to fall into the behavior patterns you grew up with, that were essentially beat into you from the day you were born. I don't blame anyone but myself, don't get me wrong, but we can't give up on ourselves because we don't feel worthy.

And I really believe the one thing all of us have in common is the predisposition to being addicts, no matter whether it was due to the environment we grew up in, or if it's a genetic flaw within us, or both. This IS a disease.
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WOW, can I ever relate to your story. I have been using my addiction as a crutch for years now, doing what I love. I used almost everyday, not to go out drinking and partying, like I used to. But instead to push through the mountain of work I had to get done at home. Just to give me the energy and motivation to get out of bed to work. I make jewelry, and metal sculpture. It takes a lot of focus, and energy. And orders are orders that have to get out. I have so many other random health issues that make me tired in general. And it really is hard to get out of bed and get going. I also had a bout with Eptstein Barr and developed mono before I ever did coke, and as a result I am always still tired. Even though the infection is gone, I have one very swollen lymph node that will never go down. I have a low grade fever every day of my life, and my body is always constantly fighting what's left of this infection from 16 years ago.

And the coke, for me, was my medicine. I used in while doing the same exact daily activities that I do now, sober. I have no choice. This is my livelyhood. And I really do love making art! It keeps me sane! When I was diagnosed and treated for eating disorders, I was told during therapy that this is one of the hardest diseases to get through. Because it's not like alcohol where you can avoid it every day to get better. You HAVE to eat! You MUST have a relationship with food, there is no avoiding it.

It's similar with our situations, I think, where we used our drug of choice as a crutch to do what we have to do everyday anyways! There's no getting away from a reminder of cocaine for me, because every single day from the time I have to crawl out of bed is a reminder. I feel tired everyday, which is a reminder. Because now I don't have my crutch anymore to fix that feeling. Just like your daily activities, and especially the ones you can't avoid are also a daily reminder. And the pain you suffer from, as well as the weakness and lethargy I suffer from, are always there to remind us. It stinks! It's FREAKING HARD!!! Stay strong! You are NOT ALONE!!! We can all do this!!!
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Disease, problem, issue.............we HAVE all got it.  Lifewithoutcoke, I went down that road, too.  Ironically, just STOPPED one day.  Just DONE.  Same with drinking.  It's these damn pills.  But I have also done a lot of swapping out one for the other over the years, so I am not sure how steady I will be able to walk without my "crutch".  But I do want you all to know how much hearing everyone tell their stories and explain their feelings is SO helpful to me!  This is my first attempt EVER to say any of this out loud....even though typing...lol.  It feels good.  Day 1 almost down.....
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I'm not sure having a sponsor would be the right thing for me, because truth be told...I am a @sshole. I have to do things my own way. I know that is a problem with 12 step, but I can't go there. I can't go to meetings, I tried it when i had a run in with the cops for pot. The judge ordered me to do the whole meeting thing...when I left I just wanted to use more.

I just don't think that there has to be this one way everyone should go through it. Trust me, I fought the process in group in my outpatient also. I even looked up exercises on the internet to prove there was another way. My counselor just took it all in, and she was glad that I was serious in my convictions enough to pull up paper work and bring it in. Not to mention, I would just bull s h i t   a counselor. I've done it before.

Anyway, I think I'm on day four from a 10 plus year addiction. I'm feeling tons better and I know I can kick this!!!!! I've had a craving once, and took a loratab 10. When I took that pill, it was at that moment I knew this stupid addiction would not get the best of me again. It may suck for a while, but I think I can deal with it. I would like to give TONS AND TONS of thanks to the people here on this forum. Everyone has been so thoughtful and kind. It has helped me to be accountable to what my actions are.

jessica
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Jessica, I hear you.  You are here, right?  If you read this thread you will know I am a novice at recovery.......but I think both of us being here has to count for something......
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It is a disease, not just my opinion but the belief of the scientific community as well. There are changes in brain chemistry that go along with the disease. Self inflicted or not, diabetes can come from being overweight and bad diet and so can heart disease. Check out the APA's statment about addiction as a disease.
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I know this is an old post but I wanted to bump it up.  There is some great reading here for people like me who keep relapsing.
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I just want to commend everyone regardless of where they are in there recovery (day 4 or 4ever). Willpower and Strength: Hmm; I have read and read alot of posts and have been troubled with the fact that AA/NA tell us that the next fall off the wagon again will be worse and progressively get worse with each fall; which the latter part of the statement stands to reason. The problem that I have is that we, as humans, are negative creatures. The negative not only stated but strongly suggested a set up for failure..??... Our minds are the most powerful healing agent that we have. However, the addict's brains, I read, have crossed the pleasure sensor threshold and the chemistry has been altered. In a previous post someone was in day 4 and was going to make a point that willpower, strength and refraining, of course, was going to be how he/she got through with water intake and hot baths; which is ABSOLUTELY AWESOME!!!!  A few others thought that was a naive' approach taking a different route; or "non-traditional" route and some remarks, however nice and even encouraged were SuggestivelY negative (not purposefully), but just as the first meeting of AA/NA suggest "failure" as if everyone is going to keep falling repeatedly; surely not to suggesting that if one does not "latch" on to those meetings and keep them "sacred" the success rate is slim to none. I am hoping to see a post from the person that was going to make a point. I thoroughly believe in a Higher Power!! I certainly believe in the Power of our WORDS and thoughts; however faint their voice; positive or negative. I wished that we, whether in AA/NA, Al-Anon, or in a Hot Bath could completely deafen our ears to the negative, even the subconscious negative suggestion.  I ALSO believe in YOU, ME, and all before us and our families!!! I believe that if we could believe in ourselves as much as we believe in someone else or their success (from this disease to the keeping up with the Jone's success) or try to remember that we are usually harder on ourselves than the rest of the world. Despite what friends, family or the ones that are most important may have said or done they are usually not as hard on as thought or believed or just because we believe they should be ("suggested" negative to ourselves). Regardless of which program chosen or how many an individual chooses or needs this disease, dis-ease, would cease if we could choose to BELIEVE !!! Retraining the pleasure sensor??? How can we do it??? Cancer and Diabetes are often used as comparisons to addiction, but are not very good examples of this disease to really compare with addiction. Lou Gehrig's Disease (ALS): compare it to that!!!! It has a genetic disposition, the onset of symptoms, however are btwn 40-60. Addiction has no "standard" age. In addiction there is no "OBVIOUS" weakness. ALS patients do have some similarities of addiction and withdrawals: cramping, twitching, stiffness of affected muscles, tripping and stumbling, slurred speech and nasal character, uncontrollable laughter, crying, or smiling. Both diseases present themselves with frontotemporal dementia (FTD) affecting social behavior/conduct, the ability to focus, inappropiate speech/actions. FTD a symptom of ALS sometimes presents delusions with paranoid ideation, but rare are psychotic symptoms; patients do sometimes get into trouble with the law. Semantic dementia is depression and losing inhibitions and exhibiting antisocial behaviors which ALS patients may or may not suffer.    ALS patients do not have much chance for recovery. They usually die within 3-5 years after the onset of symptoms. 39 MONTHS IS THE MEDIAN SURVIVAL RATE FROM ONSET TO DEATH. ALS Patients lose all muscle control and go through all sorts of different rehabs and do not have the opportunity to CHOOSE!!!! They do not lose their senses meaning they are very aware of the tracheotomy supporting their breathing and the feeding tube supplementing nutrients; by passing the palate; no longer able to please the taste bud; fear of aspiration. They do not have the choice to stop the progression of their disease-- today or tomorrow; and their only rock bottom is rock bottom. Family, friends, and loved ones suffer from the same feelings of an addicted family: the sadness, disappointment, guilt, the loss is near, but the when is unknown and often hoped it was here and gone. A slow painful death and not by choice!  "Pleasure" sensors???  vs. Muscle control???? Diabetes is not a good example for comparison to addiction because people so easily say that they chose a poor diet and their poor choices made them that way only really trying to justify the reason for their own dis-ease, not understanding the true nature of juvenile diabetes. Cancer: there are so many types and forms and it is a bad example, but is used simply to use the word, disease and try to rationalize that people are more empathetic or sympathetic to those patients than they are to "me."  The difference in cancer patients and addiction is that cancer patients usually never want sympathy or empathy. There are choices, options, prevention and possible "cures" to cancer and the cure is really just remission. An addict has a choice to come out of "remission," but the term is relapse. The cancer patient tries not to ever think about the "relapse."   We have to think differently, positively, hope, love, forgive not just each other, but ourselves and re-train our thoughts with any disease from negative to positive. Laugh on purpose and practice in private or dare to be different and bravely do it in a crowd!!! Try Acting "drunk" and silly and you can be;  all without ingesting or injecting drugs purposefully to feel alive. A Lou Gehrig's patient wished he would never have to inject or use a machine just to merely breathe; only hoping to live life for another chance; a pleasure sensor that strongly differentiates ALS from addiction. ALS Clings to oxygen from a machine while addiction takes every breath of air for granted while able to run, walk and jump.
Stay Positive, Be Grateful, Push out the Negative, Give Life a Chance, Let your loved ones In and give them the same time you expected from them even if forgiveness is not overnight try to understand. Don't make them a part of the problem, but let them be part of the solution with the same terms and support you think an ALS patient would or any person with a disease.      
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