Back From The Brink: Reflections On Relapse

by Dick on March 14, 2012 · 5 comments

in Addiction, Recovery

As I approach 90 days of sobriety — for the 3rd time — I was going through my computer and came across an email I sent to my mom, dad and brother two days after I relapsed. For me, it’s very powerful and emotional. I was a train-wreck. Despite how good I feel now, I cannot ever forget how shitty I felt that day and the days which followed.


I know you guys are angry, resentful and incredibly disappointed in me, as am I. I wish I could explain why it’s been so difficult to deal with this disease and my own character defects which are many. I am so, so sorry to have put you guys and my family and everyone else around me through this ordeal. It seems like a bad nightmare. But I have to take responsibility for my personal failings and deal with the aftermath, however painful it will be.

I’m sorry for lying and being dishonest to you guys. When I am drinking I think I literally become a different person, a bad person with little morals or ethics or basic decency. It’s like it takes over my soul. When I am sober, it is so much easier to live an honest life. I don’t have to lie or cover anything up, and I’m much better at expressing my feelings, however negative they are. When I drink, I isolate myself and wallow in my own “misery,” while rejecting any attempts to help me. I’m at a loss to explain why this happens, but it’s part of the disease from what I’ve been taught at Hazelden and through the AA literature. Doesn’t make it “right” though.

If the shoe were on the other foot, I don’t know how I would react. So if you guys don’t want to talk to me or be around me for a while, I totally understand. They say in Al-Anon that the family member needs to take care of him or herself first, and I hope you guys do that, for your sake and mine. “Detachment with love,” is the mantra.

Dad, I’m glad to hear that you went to Al-Anon the other night. If you want me to come with you to any meeting, I’ll be there in a heartbeat.

Brother, I know you are very angry with me, and it’s justified. I’m so sorry for being a bad brother to you. You have always loved and supported me, and I really appreciate it. You are my best friend and always will be.  I don’t want to lose you, and I won’t let that happen. I think it would be helpful if you started going to Al-anon. If you want me to come with you, I’m there.

B. (my wife) has been amazing. I’m just blown away. I’m sure most other wives would have kicked my ass out by now. She is my guardian angel and I love her so very much. I’ve been hugging her non-stop and it helps. I’m looking forward to spending a lot more time with her at my new “home office,” in the car and the real office. She can come to court with me too! I have a very good feeling that our marriage will get back to where it was through this. I’m sure going to do everything to make that happen.

I’ve hit rock bottom. There’s no way but up from here. Whereas before I held out some little glimmer or hope that maybe I wasn’t truly an alcoholic, it’s finally time to accept my fate: that I’m a full-fledged alcoholic, the same as any other in the AA rooms. I never chose to have this life, but it is my life and I have to accept it. It sucks that it took this to get here. But I guess it beats some other alternatives, like killing someone else or myself. I need to keep some sense of a positive outlook or else I’ll go crazy with guilt and depression.

I will get through this, one day at a time.  The guys in AA have already stepped up to help me. [The guys] took me to a meeting last night, and I got a ton of hugs and support (and some tough love) from the guys there. They are taking me to another meeting tonight, and they are already setting up rides for me to get to other meetings. I’m grateful that I’ve made these friends because it will make my recovery less painful. I will get back to therapy of course, and whatever else is recommended to help me.

Well, that’s about all I have for now.  I’ve been a mess since this happened.  Lots of crying and feeling worthless.

With everyone’s love and support and my own self-love and acceptance, I’ll bounce back. I have to. I have no other choice. For me, B., the kids and you guys. I will be a better person. And some day, years from now, I can stand up at an AA meeting and tell my story and how I went to Hell and came back—and be proud of myself that I was able to do so. One day at a time, of course.


Be Sociable, Share!
  • Julie Theisen

    I really identify with this letter. I had a relapse about 100 days out from leaving treatment. I was so ashamed and angry at myself. It’s just like you said, we become a totally different person. My bad behavior manifested itself in emotional blackmailing, attention getting (good, bad or otherwise) and LYING like no other. I wanted to stop, but I could not. The more I lied about what I was doing, the more I wanted to drink because I was so ashamed…the cycle goes on and one.

     Fortunately, my mom goes to AA and also understand addiction from her own personal experiences. They haven’t disowned me yet, but there are some really firm boundaries in place now. It’s good for me, but it was hard to redefine those relationships after so many years of co-dependency.

    I write in my blog too that I don’t ever want to forget what it was like for the last few months before I reached out for help. I have been sober for a little over 18 months. I start to romanticize my previous relationship with alcohol and the once stinging pain of drinking doesn’t seem very strong anymore. I have to always be on top of what I am thinking. It’s tiring some days but in the end, being sober is just a hell of a lot better than being drunk all the time.

    I read your blog frequently, thank you so kindly for sharing your honest experience with the world. 

    Fellow AAer, Julie T., alcoholic

  • Sober Lawyer

    Julie, thanks so much for your wonderful comment! I’m glad someone is reading my drivel!

    If you have a chance, please post the link to your blog. I would love to read it.

    One day at a time…


  • Andrew Stephen

    Nice informative blog, thanks for sharing.

  • Julie Theisen

    Sure!! I post my new blog entries to my twitter site too!!

    I just started 2.5 months ago and somehow have racked up a little over 750 reads. I can hardly believe it! I really think that people are scared and fascinated by addiction. It makes total sense to us as addicts and it confuses the hell out of non-addicts. 

    I agree – 1 day at a time. I wake up every day and rehearse step 1. Today I am choosing not to drink. That is all that anyone, including me, expects. :)

  • Allyson

    Wow, that was a really heartfelt post. I wish you all the best in staying sober. If you’re interested in reading some (more) inspirational stories, you might check out this site: I think we all heal when we tell our stories…
    Best to you!

Previous post:

Next post:

essays writing support website for homework help who can i pay to write my research paper? best college essay ever best dissertation writing services uk