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Readers Respond: What are your biggest relapse triggers and how do you deal with them?

Responses: 182


Updated September 22, 2012

Grown children

Well friends, I can't allow them to pull me under the way I have in the past. Why is it that as parents, we love them unconditionally, yet they judge, belittle, don't even call, and they don't think that hurts. I have to be vigilant when it comes to letting them break my heart, I will drink. It has happened before, but I won't let it happen again. They are 29, 26, 24 and a 8 year old grandson so their lives are a whirlwind and they keep me out of the loop since my divorce from their dad. The hurt can literally drop me to my knees sobbing. It has been 11 years since the split. I have learned to pay no bother to others, that are mean, why can't I deal with them the same way? I will not drink, I will not give in....today.
—Guest kid-o


I asked my husband what makes him want to drink. He agrees with Unfun -- that he is not interesting and doesn't have fun unless he is drinking or drunk. I gave him examples of when I thought we had fun when he was sober. His answer surprised me. He said he only agreed to do the "sober" things because he thought there would be sex at the end. To him that's having fun -- he equates sex as the only fun worth having and drinking as the way to getting it. I believe that brain of his is definitely having some problems even without the alcohol.

Feeling Empty

I can't stay sober for more than two weeks at a time. I'm a functional alcoholic and I drink because I feel empty and disappointed in how my life as turned out. I spend my days taking care of my children/husband. Alcohol helps numb me so that I can get through the days.
—Guest House wifey

Relapse truggers

Just read the signs for the relapse triggers, been sober for 82 days , and what did I do 2 days ago, I drink a beer, then had some wine, did the same thing yesterday, of course my family found out right away. Who am I kidding? Stopped going to meetings, isolated myself, classic.
—Guest Iem

Relapse after 1-1/2 years

I understand what you are saying. Like you, I am not AA material. Cant connect with anyone there. I always end up walking out of meetings and try to handle this disease on my own. I don't like everyone knowing my secrets either. Used to go to a lot of meetings, but don't now. I also drink a lot of wine, beer, etc on a daily basis. Stayed sober for almost a year. Worked hard at that. Just recently have been sneaking a lot of drinks and am very angry with myself. Having this disease, and being unable to control it is getting me down. I'm always saying I'm never going to drink again after the last time, but that never happens, I always do. If you want someone to talk to, you can talk to me. May be we could help each other. I hope you are OK and are hanging in there.
—Guest Chrissy

Really sober?

My brother who was an addict of oxy has still same issues as before rehab. I am not convinced that he is clean. Money troubles and his voice is sounding of "under the influence" he lives out of state and I cannot trust what he says. He can have several hundred dollars in banking fees without any guilt. How can I know for sure that he is clean. He never did the rehab suggestions of the meetings. It drains me to think that he is back on these pills again. I am worried that he will take enough that he will not wake up one of these times.
—Guest Jacklyn


I am 213 days sober. I just feel uninteresting, unfun and boring without drinking. Not sure why I am all of a sudden worrying about relapsing. First summer sober and trying to learn how to feel comfortable with myself sober and have fun at the same time. Thinking about going to AA meetings. Never attended and been doing this with help of friends and exercise. Thinking I might need that extra help of support of others that have experienced the same feelings. Guess it couldn't hurt?


Unemployment, losing everything you have worked for, but as they say those are material things. What do you do with no house or food on the table?
—Guest Steve

2 1/2 years

I am able to get to 2 1/2 to 3 1/2 years clean, but I haven't made it to 4 years (yet). The holidays trigger me. I start getting depressed around Halloween, and the stress increases as the time nears for me to spend time with my family. Every year I say to myself, "not this year." Every year I do something different for the holidays to decrease the stress. Like last year I didn't put up outside lights and didn't put up my Dickens Village. And after 2 1/2 years I had two glasses of wine. How crazy is that. Any suggestions for this holiday season are welcomed.

Compulsion to drink has been removed

I honestly can't remember the last time a trigger has made me want to drink or use. It have been 6 years, 2 months since my last drink. So, how did I get to the point where the compulsion to drink has been removed? Early on, went to at least one meeting daily. I got a sponsor and worked the steps. I studied the big book and the 12 x 12 and got into service very early on. And today, I am in service, have a sponsor and attend 3-5 meetings per week. Stay in the solution and you'll stay out of the problem(s.) This isn't to say that situations won't arise which are difficult, emotional, painful and challenging. Life guarantees those things. But, as The Promises state on P. 84 of the big book, "We will intuitively know how to handle things which used to baffle us." So, thoroughly work the program and what used to be a 'trigger' becomes but an opportunity.
—Guest Andrew

Getting Annoyed

My biggest triggers seem to be when someone or something annoys me. Then I think it's ok to go and drink because I am annoyed. Like drinking the poison, hoping the other persons dies! I have been sober for nine days now and really new at this. Thanks for all good info here!
—Guest Joni

Addiction Substitution

My primary addiction is alcohol from which I have been sober for almost 2 years. I was also at one point addicted to work. Here's the problem. I have replaced the alcohol with abusing prescription meds. I quit that then became addicted to exercise. I moderated that then overate. I got that under control then I started getting involved in addictive relationships e.g. had an affair with my psychiatrist. I ended that so for a few months now I have had no addictions plaguing my life. I even quit cigarettes recently. But what's next and how can I prevent picking up another addiction in order to satisfy the craving for a high?
—Guest Crossaddict

Exercise junky

I exercise 1-2 hours a day for triathlons. The warm fuzzy feeling from endorphins when exercising is exactly as I feel when drinking so the temptation is to extend the feeling. Eventually I get frustrated with the effect on my training but after afew weeks when I have recovered the temptation re-occurs
—Guest cyclist


I feel helpless. My daughter has relapsed after 4 months. She refuses to take her Antabuse and chooses to drink. I have a two year old boy in the house and can no longer live like this. However, if I kick her out I fear she may attempt suicide. I want to run away but I cant.
—Guest Mary B

Stress and anger

Stress and my inability to express unhappiness and anger lead to my recent relapse, I am now sharing more at meetings and it's helping a lot.

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