apartment cabinet chair contemporary
Photo by Pixabay on

This year I would have had 10 years of continuous sobriety. But I don’t.

I shared once at a meeting that I had this list of the most horrible things in life that if they would happen to me, I would give myself a free pass to drink, like the death of a loved one or losing a limb or something. Divorce was not on that list, but maybe I gave myself the permission anyway. I don’t know. I just had no clue how difficult it would be and that my ex was going to fight me on everything and repeatedly take me to court.

I am, however, very proud that I am back, again, and that I continue to fight this mind-boggling disease. I know many of us do not make it back, and that frightens me!

Yet, at the same time, I feel lots of shame and guilt – I do. I can’t help it! I feel like a failure. I feel like I let many people down. I feel like I let myself down too! And no matter how often I remind myself that I am not a failure, I continue to feel it, deep down to the core – it continues to hurt. That is also the reason that I have not written about it, but I think it really is time to do so.

It all seemed to have happened very fast. There was lots going on with the freshly started divorce process, and many things that had to be done right away – splitting accounts, packing belongings, adjusting to a new schedule, becoming a single mom, and a newly empty bed to sleep in.

But I wasn’t sleeping. I wasn’t really eating either. I often would have stomach ache caused by stress. My mind was constantly occupied with what-ifs and I couldn’t focus on anything. I was trying to stay connected but it was hard to keep talking about things over and over. Then I started isolating and pretty much fell off the recovery grid.

grayscale photo of woman covering her face by her hand
Photo by Alexander Krivitskiy on

I am sure I have been feeling the same convoluted feelings that others who have relapsed did too, but maybe even more so since for some reason, I thought that after almost 10 years I would have this thing in the bag! Well, no. No such thing.

There are many reasons why I drank. Most likely explanation would be because I have an addiction to alcohol, also known as Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD). Another would be because I chose to. Another would be because I gave up. Another would be because, I thought that I could get away with it, or didn’t ask for help. But most likely because I was in so much pain that I just could not deal with it anymore. There can be a million reasons and all would probably be valid.

I know that I did not drink because I thought I could just have one drink. I actually remember thinking before the first relapse that one drink would definitely not be enough and just a waste of time. So I decided to get plowed because I desperately wanted to check out.

woman wearing black long sleeved shirt sitting on green grass field near mountain under cloudy sky
Photo by Jure Širić on

I have gone through some difficult times in my sobriety because you know life is life and shit happens to all of us. This time though I was not ready to deal with my feelings and I was just trying to bury them deep down.

I had people around me, and I had the support and tried to get thru it all, but I think looking back I wish I had started seeing a therapist before I actually filed for the divorce. I wish I had a way to prepare myself for the flood of emotions that I was completely unprepared for.

Addiction recovery is a long process filled with both victories and setbacks. Kat McGowan clarifies that, when it comes to addiction recovery, “relapsing is the rule, not the exception.” She goes on to explain that, instead of looking at relapse as a sign that the recovery process has failed and that the person should give up all hope of maintaining sobriety, she should instead look at the experience as a learning opportunity.

So if I can offer any advice whatsoever I would say to get professional help as soon as you are feeling out of control and grow a huge support network in recovery. It is the pivotal point that will make your recovery stronger!

Most importantly, stay open to save yourself! The secrecy that is born in our addictions is single-handedly the one piece that has to be dismantled because it will take you out every time! No, this does not mean that you have to shout from the rooftops about getting sober, (it might help if you choose too) but having some group of people who you can connect with and let them know how you are feeling and what you are struggling with, especially in those fuck its moments when you want to drink – that, will save your life! It saved my life many times – a simple text or call to someone, anyone, will most often be just enough to deter you from picking up a drink!

To be continued…

This is a 4 part personal story. Relapse is part 3.
To read part 1 – Divorce click HERE.
To read part 2 – Depression click HERE.

Click the Follow Sober Courage button to get an update for the next part of my story: Hope

If you, or anyone you know, is struggling with Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD)*, please check out the Sober Courage menu at the top of this page for an extensive list of support groups and recovery related articles.

Connect with Sober Courage on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

*Problem drinking that becomes severe is given the medical diagnosis of “alcohol use disorder” or AUD. AUD is a chronic relapsing brain disease characterized by compulsive alcohol use, loss of control over alcohol intake, and a negative emotional state when not using (Ref: NIAAA).


  1. I’m so sorry to hear what your going through, I went through a divorce when I was quite young, we didn’t have children but it was an emotionally abusive relationship. The fear of failure and my self esteem triggered my alcoholism. Fast forward 20 years and I’ve just realised I am an alcoholic and I need treatment, I’m 1 month sober and I’m going through AA. We alcoholics need to stick together, life can be so hard.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. As I approach sobriety I’m aware of this whole relapse thing and I’m convinced we need to find a new way of looking at recovery. Relapse has such connotations of failure and going backwards that I don’t think it helps at all. You have done brilliantly for 10 years. You’re still doing brilliantly. You just had to find a way through a shitty time.


  3. Solve the problem, find out the way. If can’t do it alone, share your problem with your close persons, many forums are there to give a solution of your problem.
    Avoid alcohol, any kind of drugs. Learn some stress management process. Not taking control of the situation and doing nothing will only make your problems worse.
    Exercise won’t make your stress disappear, but it will reduce some of the emotional intensity that you’re feeling, clearing your thoughts and letting you deal with your problems more calmly. Do some yoga to heal from your mental stress. There is no particular stress buster. Finding the way of your problem including keep you safe and healthy, is the ultimate way. Intensive Therapy for Patients with Severe Illnesses and Issues. addictionrehabcenters(.)com


  4. I don’t like to experience relapse, and I identify with your story. I too struggled with staying sober and clean. ( relapse after relapse!) Only after the gift of desperation and admitting I didn’t have the answer, I was able to recover one day at a time. The suggestions given to me is a simple set of rules to follow. Don’t pick it up and I won’t get drunk, make meetings, sit up front, pick up the phone, not the drink/drug.


  5. Great Article! I have been fighting addiction for a very long time. Then I found This sober Living House
    Now I owe my sobriety to Sunset Shores. They have truly created a welcoming sober living space where I was able to grow and thrive. I cannot thank them enough.


  6. I congratulate you for your endurance and desire to get clean and sober! Growth and comfort doesn’t co-exist! Your story will inspire another, possibly many. Much success and blessings to you and peace at all costs…


Share your recovery with us!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s