Emotional Relapse

Emotional Relapse

The emotional stage of relapse is, perhaps, the trickiest of them all. Most people are unaware that it’s even happening. Emotions can lead the brain down paths of all too familiar triggers, which can lay the foundation for reverting back to drug or alcohol use. Some types of emotions to be aware of in this stage include:

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  • Anxiety -overwhelming uncertainty or fear about your new, sober life
  • Depression.
  • Irritability.
  • Anger – feelings of resentment that flare up whenever something doesn’t go exactly as you would like
  • Frustration.
  • Mood swings – having no control over how you feel
  • Sleeping patterns – insomnia, poor quality sleep; alternately, excessive sleeping, usually because of depression
  • Feelings of isolation or loneliness.
  • Changes in diet – eating as a response to emotional pain or stress; eating only fast food or junk; alternately, loss of appetite

Some of these may sound familiar and some may sound far fetched but I got these from some good sources. Today I am 283 days sober (9 months 8 days) and I’m damn sure I’ve been through all of these numerous times and others as well. I’m not sure if they are all there but I am not more special than the next person in recovery nor am I high on my britches. Every single person in their addiction has Emotional Relapses and I am glad I did a little research before I wrote about this because I thought they were Mental Relapses. Those little guys are the next step and if your sacred about your sobriety, they will jolt you back into reality going one way or the other.

I have a friend whom like us all has had his share of troubles and he seemed to me like a sensitive type of person that had life and situations bringing him down. I looked up to him for showing and sharing when he did so. It made something aware about him and to myself, about what was the underlying issue at hand. What I didn’t know was he was having these Emotional Relapses over people, places and things. I learn by being curious, patient and listening. What caught my curiosity was what led up and how it broke down in front of everyone. Now seeing this in myself, I’ve had many many emotional relapses. The 6 month mark for myself and others would agree, I had episodes of Anger. It wasn’t directed at anyone and I was aware thankfully that it had come up but why? Growing up I went to an anger counselor because I was pitiful and needed my own ass wiped all the time and if I didn’t get that I threw temper tantrums. They weren’t all like that but along the same lines. I was just angry all the time so I got fed up and I went to talk to someone. I learned about the onion and peeling it away, I learned that anger was a secondary emotion and there was always something just above the underlying issue. It was all those that I came to realize that it was what it was and it worked for a time in my life, after it showed up passively, then aggressively sometime later. No good right… not good at all. Why at 6 moths of being sober did I all of a sudden feel so angry and irritable. Those are trigger signs that I know, nothing was triggering me.

I was dealing with my own emotions and feelings for the very first time after 6 months of detoxing (sobriety) and It had finally caught up with me. What went through my head was how I was going to go through this new life I was creating for myself without drinking. I was already there, how was I doing it before. It was so weird to have an epiphany right there within myself that I wasn’t gonna actually run from it. No more numbing, no more lying for it, no more bullshit taking 7 to 8 swigs straight out of the vodka bottle and feeling it start to run through my body, consuming my thoughts, emotions and feelings and turning them into utter wasted time and space.

I guess I’m gonna talk about the anger issue, it sounds profound to me at this time but I will come back to this topic again.

So I was dealing with the fact that no matter what I did now, I had to face these anger issues…. this took me about two weeks and a lot of isolating, keeping my thoughts to myself from others around because the thought of them actually knowing what I thought about anything with my mind racing, fueled with hatred, scared the living shit out of me. No one goes through this, I must be the only one. I felt ashamed, I couldn’t tell my counselor or my life facilitator in the house here. I would for sure get kicked out of the recovery house. If I told my fellow roommates, they would think I was a mental defect and they would run the wolf pack on my ass out of the house. I was literally scared that I was having these feelings and I was alone with it. To be in this house was to be open and it wasn’t until my friend was having these emotional relapses and realizing what they were, I had finally got it.

It took for me to see someone else open up no matter what and realize that he was going through some tough stuff and that I was able to open up maybe not like him but open up nonetheless to someone I trusted and not feel like an idiot. That Braving the Wilderness by Brene Brown would’ve helped tremendously as well but it would’ve been a couple more months before I bought it. Knowing that AGAIN I wasn’t the only person going through these things helped me get out of my 6 month slump and also knowing that if I had just reached out sooner, I could’ve avoided so much! hopping into my train wreck of a mind and finding out after I could’ve jumped off when it went over a bridge into the safety of the waters below.

Maybe if one person reads this before they have to go through what I went through, I could sleep a little better at night but all of our recoveries are our own. In all honesty I was going through some stuff today that I will talk about later as well but I haven’t learned what it meant yet, but this felt absolutely amazing to talk about this and get it off my chest. Thank you.

Published by Nathan Findlay

Avid Blogger, I have a dream to help others. Addiction is the direct result of Trauma and Recovery is possible.

2 thoughts on “Emotional Relapse

  1. Relapse from drinking is likely the “symptom” that is acted upon, from the illusion contrived from self indulgent emotionalizing of our fears and incessant thinking ……… spending too much time in our heads and thinking too much


  2. this saturday is my one year AF…and i still go through these moments…it really makes me feel like giving up at times…i quit so much this past year along with the alcohol that sometimes i feel like i don’t even exist anymore..and in all honesty-nobody cares one way or the other….but, at the same time, when i actually seriously consider having a drink or a cigarette or anything like that, i realize that it wasn’t helping then and it wouldn’t help now.I would just feel sick and guilty . So, best i can say is i am stuck in a spin cycle. Not sure how much time has to go by for this sh*t to stop …i’m sure it’s different for everyone.

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