Why is it hard to stay sober? Looking back at my relapse.

Dear Readers,

Photo from last year, on one of our walks!

If you read statistics, you would wonder why we would even try to get and stay sober, as so many people go back to drinking. 
I know in my heart, I have to take my sobriety very seriously.
It’s firm. I don’t drink. 

I found this great article from the FIX, written by Kelly Fitzgerald10 Reasons You Can’t Stay Sober.

I thought back to when I had first tried to get sober, and my relapse. It was summer vacation for teachers, and I had celebrated all day with friends. I ended up passing out in a friend’s bathroom, and she had to call the paramedics to help me.

Mr. UT had to come get me, but I was out of control, and he ended up taking me to the hospital. The doctor suggested treatment, and I said yes. 

I checked myself into an out-patient treatment. I learned some skills, but within a year, I had replased.

I’ve never thought to look back and see what were the pitfalls in my first recovery.

Here are Kelly’s 10 reasons, and I added my thoughts about my relapse with them.

1. Fear of missing out

This was a big one for me. I just didn’t think I could have fun without drinking, and all my friends drank something. Some more, some less, but our fun was going to happy hour, or fun deck parties. How would hubs and I have romantic dinners out? It took more time for me to learn how to learn I could have fun, and not miss out. In fact, the only way I miss out is if I think I am! I also don’t think parties or activities where drinking is the only activity are fun anymore!

2. “Why me?” Syndrome

I did feel sorry for myself. Friends who drank a lot, could keep drinking. Why couldn’t I?
Why was I the one who became addicted? It took me a longer time to learn, life is not fair. It’s just the way it is.

3. You haven’t been in enough pain

It is true, I never had a DUI or anything terribly bad happen to me. However, I was making life miserable for myself and hubs, and I was in pain. It took another public humiliation several years after my relapse to finally accept I was in pain. That pain, along with new joy, keeps me sober.

4. You still believe you can drink in moderation

I did. I thought I could go back to drinking and drink a glass of water or diet coke between drinks. In fact, the first drink I had after I got of treatment, (about 7 months into sobriety at that time), I ordered a glass of wine, a cup of coffee, and water. I keep reading about moderation and thought I could do it. Of course, I had to learn I can not moderate. This is not for me.

5. Thinking about never drinking again scares you

This still scares me and I sometimes think I will have a drink when I am 80! Just thinking about being forever makes me anxious, so I just don’t think about it now. I am happy I am not drinking today!

6. You are physically addicted

I don’t know if I was. I never had withdrawals, but I was addicted.
I used drinking to help my social anxiety, as well as to be social. 

7. You feel unworthy

I suffered from the feelings of not being enough for most of my life, but I don’t think this led to my relapse. The shame of being addicted, was huge, however. I felt ashamed I had this problem. Now, I realize I am human, and as a human, I will never be perfect. I learned to be ok with just being Wendy.

8. Lack of tools

In my case, it was not only lack of tools, but lack of support. I tried some AA meetings after treatment, but couldn’t find anyone to be my sponsor or help me. I felt all alone. 
When I got sober this time, I threw myself into finding as many people as I could, to have support that I could reach out to. This made all the world of difference, because from them, I learned how to cope without drinking. 

9. Unrealistic expectations
I didn’t really have any expectations about getting sober the first time. I was doing it, but not really liking it, and I thought it was something I had to do. Only after my second time getting sober was I able to see that sobriety will not solve all my problems. I am learning how to live dealing with all the problems, and joys, life gives me.

10. You’re not ready

I was not ready. I had no idea how much work I would need to do to stay sober. I really didn’t want to. I still wanted to drink. 

Kelly says it best: 
Sobriety takes dedication and work. It’s a lifelong process that sometimes takes years to understand and sustain. If you can’t stay sober, it may mean you’re just not ready for everything that recovery entails. But that doesn’t mean you should stop trying. When you become ready and willing, sobriety is out there for anyone to grasp. I recommend you keep reaching for it, no matter how many times it takes to stick.

On July 4, I will be 46 months sober.

I am very aware of my addicted brain, that once in awhile whispers to me that I would love just one drink.
I arm myself with readings, meetings, blogging, yoga, volunteering, supportive friends and family, and on-line friends near and far.

With Joy,
On Day 1397,

21 thoughts on “Why is it hard to stay sober? Looking back at my relapse.

  1. Hi Wendy. Congratulations on 46 months!! That's awesome! I found the list to be very informative and I love your comments. We sound very similar. I am still working through # 1, 2, 7 and 8 but pushing through and going into my 6th sober month. Your blog inspires me an gives me hope to keep going. Thank you so much! Hope you have a wonderful July 4th sober celebration with Mr. UT. 🙂 xx


  2. That’s a really good list.Readiness is a complicated thing. People think it means recovery or sobriety should be easy. Of course, it’s never easy. It requires a lot of acceptance and humility. I know I clung to denial and held on to booze for a long time, insisting I wasn’t that bad. But I was. I was suffering.I keep blogging because I hope that people in early days see my pets and your posts and realize that there is a better way. That they aren’t losing anything. They are gaining everything.It just takes time, willingness and acceptance.Hugs and love to you and your bright light!Anne


  3. It's true, Anne. We gain everything! I know I needed and still need to read and see people who have been sober longer than me, to see how they are dealing with life. They are living full, good lives!Hugs back to you!!xo


  4. Thanks for sharing this, Wendy! Most of this list kept me in deep denial and drinking for over two decades. The list then kept me thinking about drinking during the times I tried to get sober in the past. I wasn't ready to accept what needed to be accepted and do the work that needed to be done until this time around! I just wasn't ready. Every since I made the conscious choice to do these things, I haven't looked back. My life hasn't been the same! I do indeed have everything to gain in sobriety and everything to lose if I start drinking again. So much love to you!!! xoxo


  5. That moderation thing! I couldn’t even read about it, and I’d want to drink again! Now I know it’s not in my world, so I don’t have to struggle with it! Acceptance is a great word! xo


  6. You and Anne always touch on the best points about staying sober and the beautiful gift is is, and the kicker, is it's a gift you give yourself. I'm not giving up, but I've been stuck on 4 and 10 for the past few years. I will get there. And you're part of the process for me. Thank you for that, xoxo, ll.


  7. Hi Lia! It is a process, that’s for sure! I know it took an acceptance for me, that I was addicted to alcohol. I didn’t want that, but that was the truth! Yes, the gift is for us!! xo


  8. Congratulations on 46 months Wendy, you’re an inspiration! I love this post, it serves as a great reminder and confirmation that I’m on the right path at day 702. xoDeborah @ capriciousthoughts


  9. I say the same thing every time I read your blog. I deeply appreciate your honesty, your couage to share. I get it. ❤️You are my amazing friend who has courageous conversations. I strive to be as strong


  10. As usual, you hit the nail on the proverbial head, Wendy. I especially relate to number 5. I can be totally happy with sobriety today, and dread the thought of staying sober for a lifetime. Funny thing.


  11. Excellent post, Wendy. I'm sober a tiny bit longer than you – 1436 days today. I still struggle with numbers 3 and 5. My drinking career ended with a whimper instead of a bang. No outward consequences, no DUIs, no job loss, no divorce or tragedy. I was terrified or quitting drinking, but even more terrified of what would happen if I didn't. And not drinking today is as natural to me as breathing – but thinking about NEVER drinking again is somehow depressing. So I don't focus on that. At any rate, I'm enjoying getting to know you – thanks for \”listening!\”


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