Once you got sober how many people told you that relapse is a just a part of recovery? Did you ever hear in your AA Meetings that the 9th month (green chip) is the hardest to get and is the one that is most rarely picked up? I, along with many others I’ve met through my journey, have heard these things repeated in different groups, by sponsors, and even facilities.
I don’t 100% agree with this and here is why.
According to studies, 80% of patients with alcohol addiction relapse in their first year. If you can do math, that means 20% stay sober. The numbers get better though, don’t fret. After the second year, relapse rates drop to 40%. Patients are 40% less likely to relapse after two years of sobriety, this is big. That means it gets easier. This rate drops even further after 5 years.
I was a part of the 80%, I relapsed in my first year. If you are not in active recovery, you are in active relapse (even if you haven’t taken a sip yet).
A few signs:
* Skipping AA meetings because you think you have a handle on it
* Not getting a sponsor or keeping one
* Not working the steps
* Failing to call your support system
Those were my signs.
Also, the 80% rule makes it seem like it’s okay to be a part of the majority. The point I want to make is to be the 20%, the change, the minority. Set an example for others, call fellow sober friends you might think are close to relapse, be aware of the signs and catch yourself before you fall.
If you do fall, the most important thing is to not give up, don’t call it defeat. Stand back up, get to a meeting, admit it happened, don’t harp on it, and keep going. A relapse does not erase all progress.