Saturday, August 1, 2009

Relapse

No, not mine; but a friend's. I knew a friend of mine relapsed for some time now. It's not the first time that I've had a friend relapse. In all reality, it's a pretty common occurrence. You see recovery is a pretty difficult road. It tends to be more like a game of Sorry for most addicts where you are constantly starting over. While I have been lucky enough to be one of the approxiamately 10% who stay sober, I have relapsed in recovery from other addictions. That's right like most addicts, alcohol is not my only addiction. Alcoholism was not even my first addiction. I like many addicts tried other poor coping mechanisms.
I was hoping the time would come when my friend would choose to tell me she had relapsed. I am not my friend's sponsor, and hence I made the decision be it right or wrong to give her a few days to come to me. So, I got the phone call that none of us in the program want to get; the drunken(or drugged) relapse call. I know enough not to go over to her house at least not alone. I cannot be alone with an addict that is using. That is a recipe for my own relapse. Luckily, I did manage to talk this person into getting some professional help. I have not always been so blessed when other friends have relapsed. I've actually lost a friend in the program who relapsed and eventually died as a result of an overdose.
This situation is different though for me than any of my prior situations perhaps because more of our mutual friends are not in the program than those who are in the program. I have been respectful of my friend's wishes and not mentioned anything about the relapse to any of our mutual friends. However, tongues have been wagging. People really can be quite cruel. To many people not in the program, her problem seems to be a joke and frankly it surprises me they have the gall to say these things in my presence. I don't expect people who are not addicts to understand how truly difficult it is not to use, but I do assume they would have some more general compassion and concept that addiction as a disease is not an easy one to live with. I may not have relapsed with alcohol, but I am the exception the very rare exception. I have thoughts more often than I wish. I have had to call a dear friend to take my extracts(yes, they have alcohol in them.) away from me as they were the only products in my household with alcohol in them, and I was feeling weak. I have a wonderful network. None of this is to say that I will not someday relapse. I hope when I do people are more considerate. And, I hope that people who aren't addicts can be more educated about addiction. The reality is that most everyone in this world knows or will no someone who is an addict. Many forms of addiction are deadly especially alcoholism, drug addiction, and eating disorders. Those that are not deadly are at the very least psychologically damaging. I doubt anyone plans to be an addict. Poor choices are made(of course, I am not talking about babies born addicted to drugs.). In the end, life is about what we do about those choices. I know that someday the temptation may get the best of me too.
These are just my rambling thoughts on the subject that I felt I needed to express somehow and somewhere other than a meeting. I don't want pity. I don't want to be the face of addiction. I just hope for better awareness on the subject.
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