Don’t Turn Your Back on Someone Who Slips

We live and learn. Each day in sobriety is another opportunity to learn new lessons, meet new friends who get it, and a chance to improve the quality of our life. In talking with another alcoholic tonight after a meeting, I found comfort in having a conversation with someone who completely understands who I am simply because we share the same disease. We talked about my relapse a few months ago. I spoke of how I felt that I had not been truly working a good program before, and that although my relapse was short-lived, I had been on a downward spiral for months. I had been consumed with fear, loneliness, and uncertainty and I didn’t do what I should have done… ask for help.

Silence can be deadly for an alcoholic. When we don’t reach out for help when we need it, we risk our sobriety. What I have found here in my new AA community since moving across the country has been priceless. I’ve met women who care, listen, and support me, and that in turn makes me want to offer the same love and compassion. What I find sad is that I have found more love and compassion from my newfound AA friends than some of the people I spent a great deal of time (almost four years) with in AA back in Illinois.

I told a few trusted friends back in Illinois about my relapse, and since telling them, I had no further contact with them. They simply stopped calling. It was as if I let them down. When I was struggling with my emotional sobriety months ago, I dared not share how I was feeling for fear of being seen as not being a solid AA member. I had a reputation for being one of the “winners”, so how could I go into meetings and express how scared I was and how lonely I was feeling? So here I am, in a new state and a new AA community. I share openly here, and receive the support necessary and am being handed the tools for dealing with my fears. It all lies in the steps outlined in the Big Book.

Why did those few people give up on me instantly when they heard of my relapse? Why would they pretend to be my friend when they thought I had it all together, only to toss me aside the moment they heard I didn’t? I’m not sure. I suppose to dwell on the reasons is pointless. But it hurts.

The lesson I take with me from my experience is to never toss someone aside for having a slip. This program is about progress, not perfection. I need to remember that every moment of every day. Because all we really have is today!

~ Paige Loveland

2 thoughts on “Don’t Turn Your Back on Someone Who Slips

  1. Wonderful post, Paige.

    Not sure why people seemingly drift away when someone relapses. I have to admit having to step back from my treatment mates when they relapsed, as I was very early into my recovery and had to focus on my own journey. I didn’t have the strength to take them on, emotionally, etc. so I needed to pull back. I did talk to them when they called, but they either wanted money (which I foolishly gave and never got back) or just blathered in a drunken state. Today, it’s a bit different. I won’t speak to anyone when they are drunk (it’s a waste of time for both of us – they never remember the convo!) but I will when someone is in a more lucid place.

    I don’t know the relationship you had with the AA’s back home, but it sounds like you have a strong and honest group of women surrounding you here…so just stick with it. I don’t know if people abandon rather than just try to stick with those who are sober. But then again, people are people just as groups are groups and they are all different. Some groups have members who may feel it endangers their own recovery (bullocks, especially for those who have been around a while), or they just don’t know what to do or say (probably more the case). I have tried many times to reach out to those I know who have relapsed or run away, and I almost always get zero response. When people are back out, they isolate.

    Anyway, not making excuses of course…just thinking aloud 🙂

    Point is you’re in a good place now…enjoy it 🙂

    Paul

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  2. I agree, Paul. I will not speak with someone who calls me while drinking. I drank one night, and went right back to AA the next day, admitted what happened, and have been diligently working the steps again with a new sponsor. I’m saddened by the loss of a few friends who after hearing that I had a slip, simply stopped communication. I suppose I let them down. I still do not understand it, but I have to continue on the path. Most of my friends have been supportive and understanding. I truly do not believe that I deserve to have people putting their arms around me saying “It’s okay”, because it is not okay. I have to take responsibility for the mistake I made.

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