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Many come to the program because they are sick and tired of

being sick and tired.

They don't want to live the way they had been living.

There is much sadness and remorse.

They want to leave that lifestyle behind, BUT, they don't necessarily

want to do what it takes to stay sober.

This is what separates the men from the boys, so to speak.

Included on this page are some common symptoms of relapse, what to look for, and solutions.

I suggest the following pgs. 89 -103, for they contain the essence of the program-

sobriety and helping others.

I especially like the guide given on pgs. 100 - 103.

These pages actually tell you when, where, and how when it comes to your journeys.

There are many ways to work a program of recovery, but as long

as we stick to the principles we will do alright.

Sit back and observe, and you'll find 50 ways on how not to work the program.

Those who don't/won't work a program become your SCOUTS!!

It is through the many SCOUTS, that I have avoided some of the pitfalls in recovery.

The SCOUTS have ventured into the areas of:

Got a job, got a car, got a girl, gotta go!!!

Doing Half Measures!!!

Becoming  COMPLACENT!!!

1-2-3 and Back Out!!! (known as the three step shuffle)

The most common reason I see for relapse is the one where 

we stop doing what kept us sober. 

We cutback or stopped going to as many meetings, 

cutback or stopped praying everyday,

cutback or stopped calling our sponsors regularly, 

stopped reading the Big Book,

never started or stopped doing service work,

stopped applying the 12-Steps into our everyday and everything lives.

"It is easy to let up on the spiritual program of action and rest

on our laurels. We are headed for trouble if we do,

for alcohol is a subtle foe," pg. 85.

Relapse starts way before you drink. 

We are either headed for a closer conscious contact

with our Higher Power, or we are headed for our next drink-

there are no gray areas.

If you have 36 problems and you drink...

You got 37!!!

The most common signs of relapse are:

1. Increased Stress: Loss of sobriety being as important as it was, and all the little stresses

that we just ignore or stuff- not working a program the way we used to.

2. Thinking: The acronym for S.L.I.P. is Sobriety Losing Its Priority.

Old ways of thinking slip in, and we ignore these, and don't talk about them with someone

in the program.

3. Feelings: A change in the way we perceive ourselves. 

Everything is great, when it really isn't. We are depressed, and do nothing about it.

4. Behavior: We start to act differently. Like covering up for what's really going on inside,

I look good on the outside, because that's the behavior I want others to see,

but I know something's wrong.

5. Denial: The thoughts go something like this, I feel different,

everything about me is different, my thoughts, feelings, behaviors, but these pass

in short order, and besides I don't want to think about this.

This will progressively get worse over time, 

and we will usually deal with this by saying and acting differently.

We will lie to yourself and others, will minimize it by saying, "It really isn't that bad."

Please stop, and identify not how your feeling, but what your feeling.

If any of this applies, then get with your sponsor, or

another alcoholic and discuss it immediately- you may not have the luxury of time here.

Other problems:

I'll never relapse, projecting, blaming, defensiveness, compulsivity, poor impulse control,

isolation, loneliness, depression, negative self-image, a sense of failing,

grandiosity, hopelessness, lack of spirituality, lack of clear thinking,

confusion, poor sleep habits, diet, and the list goes on.

If relapse has not happened yet, it will unless you make a change.

Get up and go to a meeting- FAST!!!

Call someone on the phone- NOW!!!

Pray- NOW!!!

Write it out- NOW!!!

Of all the possible dangers signs, the most drastic thing to do,

is to do nothing...

The minimum in maintaining a program of recovery is as follows: Recovery / Service / Unity- This means:

1. Meetings- get a "Home Group" and go on a regular basis. Knowing the alcoholic/addict, this means asking your sponsor for advice on what a "regular basis" is for you.

2. Sponsor- this means going beyond getting a sponsor, and actually calling them every day.

3. Steps- working them with a sponsor, and applying the principles contained within them in your life.

4. Reading- it means nothing to say you have a Big Book, if you don't read it. Including other positive literature is also important, as long as you check with your sponsor first.

5. Higher Power- on Step Twelve it says "Having had a spiritual awakening" it doesn't say if you have one, or when you have one. It says, "As a result of these steps."

6. Service Work- the success rate for staying sober goes way up when you do service work. Check with your sponsor on what you can do.

7. Unity- ask your home group about their business meeting as a way to ensure the program is still there down the road for others.

8. Prayer and Meditation- Pray on a daily basis. Prayer is talking with your HP, and meditation is listening to Him.

If these are the minimums, ask yourself if you are working all the areas listed. If you are, you are working a program. If you are missing an area, you are not.

If there are areas missing in your program, then get into action and fill in the missing spaces.