Like most websites Alcoholics Anonymous (GB) Ltd. uses cookies. In order to deliver a personalised, responsive service and to improve the site, we remember and store information about how you use it.
This is done using simple text files called cookies which sit on your computer. By using this site you are agreeing to this principle. Click here to remove this notice.

HomeContact InformationUseful Links
0800 9177 650   
help@aamail.org

Call our National Helpline

FREE on

0800 9177 650
help@aamail.org

 

The Road to Relapse

Audio Version

I came across the following recently in my files. I wrote it when I was living in Bristol, shortly after a relapse in 1979. Fortunately, one day at a time, I haven't had another drink since then. I wanted to share it because it is just as relevant to me today as it was then.

There I was, crying like a baby, begging my wife not to leave me and take our two little daughters with her. I felt absolutely wretched and ghastly. Dim recollections of the night before fleetingly crossed my befogged mind. I vaguely remembered being in a road accident. The rest of the night had taken place in a blackout until the police arrived. I had been drunk, very drunk, and yet I had been in AA for some 21 months.

What had happened? What had gone wrong? It is necessary to go back to a point in time some 10 months before that fateful evening.

I had taken both a Fourth and Fifth Step. When I look back I realise that these were very incomplete exercises. They were incomplete because my Step Four was not very 'searching and fearless' and I withheld certain aspects of myself in Step Five.

Typically alcoholic in my thinking I literally jumped from Step Five to the middle part of Step Twelve. I decided to be fully committed. I went on Twelfth Step calls and participated in telephone duty. I became co--secretary of a group and went to other meetings in search of speakers.

Then I became obsessive about my anonymity. To avoid being recognised on the telephone I discontinued telephone duty and ceased to be a telephone contact. Still alcoholic in my thinking, I stopped my Twelfth Step work because my family were not seeing very much of me. Then I gave up being co-secretary of my group because I didn't want to rock the family boat by going to other meetings to find speakers. Finally I stopped going to meetings. I had become totally uncommitted. In seven months I had gone from one extreme to the other. How insane!

And then came the ultimate delusion of grandeur: I could go 'it alone'. I felt good. I didn't need to go to meetings. "Keep active". "Keep moving". Buddhist meditation.Yoga. Plenty of reading and exercise. Feeling good. Provoking a row with my wife. Straight to the bottle. Drinking myself into a blackout. Shouting terrible oaths at my wife and children. Driving my car into another car. "My God, it has happened again". Admitted we were powerless over alcohol!

I had gradually and totally dismantled all my defences against the subtle insanity that leads to the taking of the first drink. After my Step Five I had failed to move gradually through the rest of the Programme. I had over-committed myself and then went to the other extreme. It cost me my sobriety.

Fortunately all was not lost. I still wanted my sobriety. I had been taught a lesson. I started going to my present group's meetings. I became committed again, but this time in a much more balanced way, having regard to all areas of my life. The Programme is to be practised in all my affairs.

Things gradually got better again and I now have a peace of mind that never leaves me for long. I was lucky. It could have been so much worse. I also know that it could happen again if I stop working the Programme.

GEOFF H, Lancaster Living Sober