Sep 25, 2012 | By Tim Stoddart

Spirituality and Relapse Prevention

Relapse Prevention

Some time ago, I was sitting in a treatment center listening to a discussion about Relapse Prevention.


At the time, this was an alien concept to me. Quite frankly everything concerning sobriety was an alien concept to me because I had about 5 days off the drink and I hardly knew which way was up. Some things being discussed were “triggers” and “people places and things” and I learned that apparently there was “no geographical solution for a spiritual problem.” It was all jibberish to me.  So I left the treatment center and continued to drink, spiral downward and surprisingly found myself in another treatment center a short while later.  At this time I was beaten down to the point where I was willing to follow suggestions. Needless to say, the next time Relapse Prevention came up, I was a little more inclined to listen.

Today, I feel as though my thoughts are a little less cloudy, and my conception of sobriety a little more clear. I am of the mind that working a program based in spirituality is the only surefire way to prevent relapse. Somebody once had a fever, and the only prescription to which, was more cowbell. Well I have a disease, and the only prescription for me is to lead a spiritual existence. I was told that throughout my life I would be triggered by certain things. I was told that going back to the same people, places, and things would lead me back to the same old behavior. I was told that I could change my location, but nothing about my life would change if I didn’t explore a solution. At first this translated to, “if you want to be sober, you need to surround yourself with other alcoholics, lead a boring life, and do nothing except try to stay sober.” This was the reason I was so unwilling to listen in the first place. I was hung up on the fact that I could no longer go to bars, clubs, or parties.

I was a young man wanting to have a normal life and have fun with other people my age. I was so beaten down, I accepted this. I said “Fine. I will do nothing. Maybe I’ll catch a movie on a Saturday night. I’ll work at a minimum wage job and do whatever it takes. As long as I don’t have to feel this pain anymore.” So I began to follow suggestions. I started attending meetings and doing the things I previously thought of as stupid. I started praying. Not to Jesus, or Allah, but to something. I began to feel a little bit better about myself. I helped other alcoholics, not realizing at the time that I was helping myself. Shortly I was put into a situation which would have previously put a drink in my hand, and an amazing thing happened. I did not drink. I simply did not want to.

Somebody very important to me tells me on a regular basis to, “keep taking your medicine.” That medicine, as I have laid out here today, is the only thing that keeps me on track. For me, relapse prevention is easy. That is not to say that I stock my fridge with cases of beer just in case a guest is thirsty. That would be stupid. I don’t do those things. I never forget that i cannot lose track of the small things that helped to me to get sober in the first place. It’s the things I did when I first got sober, that help me now to stay sober.made. I had no desire to drink. It was liberating. Shortly thereafter I ventured into places that served alcohol and emerged sober. My relapse prevention medicine was working. I continued to go to my meetings, to help other alcoholics, and praying to whatever it was I was praying to. Pretty soon I found myself able to face any situation confident that I would be sober the following morning.

6 responses to “Spirituality and Relapse Prevention

  • Didi Pakel

    12 years ago

    it is so helpful to read about and be able to understand the mind of a young person’s struggles with addiction. there is always hope. and whether your an addict or a parent of one, you should never forget that. hope and prayer……..thank you.

  • May you continue to be a light in the dark for yourself and others.

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