Friday, May 30, 2003

Dealing With People Who Relapse a Lot

--- In, "fibejebe" charli883@i... wrote:

"...The truth sometimes hurts but it is still better than a load of bullshit. Any comments?" -- Fiona.

Not long ago, on LSRmail, one of our members who's been struggling with repeated day-1's since first becoming involved with LSR late last year, in referring to the response from Ellesarians to his latest slip, put up a post which included this line:

"...When I drank 9 days ago a lot of lsr's said don't worry about it, get back on your feet, move on. Should I still take that attitude?"

My response is copied here:

What attitude makes the most sense to you, XXXXX? It seems to me that somebody who's made a sincere decision to end the admittedly devastating, suicidal lifestyle of active addiction would not take lightly any episode of drinking, regardless of the circumstances.

Addiction is serious business, and the only known way to arrest it is abstinence. Lapses in abstinence, if dismissed too casually, can become seen as inevitable, or "no big deal". The danger in that attitude, of course, is that the lapses will become more frequent and last longer.

When does one cross the line from being committed to recovery and really making a concerted effort to change, back over to being resigned to a life of struggling with alcohol?

When does a pattern of slips become nothing more than active alcoholism in the form of periodic or binge drinking? I'm not sure there's a clean line there. I'm very sure the danger exists, because that's exactly what I did some years ago.
So, when I hear people suggesting that one "Don't worry about it, get back on your feet, move on...", what I hear is "Don't spend a lot of time wallowing around in guilt and embarassment, by all means stop drinking immediately, and redouble your efforts to attain stable abstinence."

What I don't hear is "Hey, no big deal, forget about it." It is a big deal. It's a failure to achieve what you set out to do. It's a disappointment, a frustration, a bummer. It's an indication that you've more work to do, that there are things you might consider doing differently. It should not be forgotten about, it should be looked at very carefully to see what can be learned to prevent it from happening again.

I guess I'd say the worst attitude one might assume in the midst of, or in the wake of a slip would be, "See? I can't stop drinking. I'm a failure. Screw it, it's too hard, I can't do this, the hell with sobriety." A much better attitude might something like, "See? I'm human, I'm not invincible, I let my guard down and got bitten hard. But I'm not beaten, I'm going to learn what I can from this and do what I set out to do for all the reasons I know in my heart I must, if I'm to live a meaningful life."

I would find it a bit worrisome that after a damn good period of sobriety you drank, then about a week later you drank again...that's a disturbing trend developing. Time to get serious, if you're serious about sobriety. And I believe you are.
And that about sums up my personal view on the question, except to add that the better I know an individual, the better feel I have for what attitude to take in my support of them. I, personally, am likely to pay more attention and actually think about what's being said if I get some straight, no BS talk (and maybe a slap or two) from someone I trust and respect. At the same time, I realize people react differently, and it takes time to get to know what's the best way to get through to somebody. When in doubt, I'll lean toward the "gentle" approach.
Rick Booth 5/30/03

Thursday, May 1, 2003

LifeRing Service Center, Press, Move to New Office

A Place Of Our Own

Marjorie posts temporary door sign on our new home. Gillian gets high on the ladder to brighten up the ceiling. Chet makes like Tom Sawyer whitewashing the fence.
Chet and Marjorie assembling the rubber-like steel shelving. Ta-daa! Ready to hold boxes of LifeRing Press books. Syl fights off the great white cardboard box shark.
Lloyd, George and Ellen get down with the shipping desk. It got pretty chaotic sometimes but, heck, we're used to that! Chet prepares to tape Mark.
Lloyd, George, Marty (in rear), Chet pile the wagons high. Laurie and Mark ham for the camera.. Marylou helps put things back together the next day.
During the week of April 7-13 '03, LifeRing Press and the LifeRing Service Center moved to new office space. Lots of volunteers made the move short work and a good time. The new space is bigger and more versatile, and more important: it's all our own! Please mark the new mailing address:

1440 Broadway Suite 312
Oakland CA 94612-2023

The phone number, fax, and email remain the same:

Tel: 510-763-0779
Fax: 510-763-1513 (Service Center) (Press)

Come to the Office Warming Party May 23, 2003

Caroline gets the shipping desk ready for action. She also repaired the supply cabinet.