A recipe for relapse

I still can’t believe I lost my sobriety. I was at an AA meeting two days ago where someone shared that she “knew, just knew” that she had taken her last drink. Evidently her compulsion to drink had been lifted and she no longer craved alcohol. Besides, her life was so much better sober that she “knew, just knew” that she’d never take another drink. After all, it had been over 16 months since she’d taken a drink. Boy could I have related to that about a week ago.

I don’t crave alcohol. I crave the feeling I get when I read erotica, watch porn, or otherwise preoccupy myself with sexual arousal. My heart pounds, the world fades, and I feel good, really good. In the world of hot Internet sex, I’m in charge and I can see what I want to see, do what I want to do, without having to worry. It’s a wonderful escape as long as you haven’t been exposed to recovery because nothing screws up a good time better than the 12 steps. And unfortunately, in a sick twist of fate, orgasm can become so connected with a wave of shame, that what should be an afternoon of orgasm ends up being an afternoon of sexual frustration. And if your arousal template is anything like mine, you’re going to struggle with what should be arousing and what actually is arousing. I understand the concept of eroticized rage and how a person with my background is going find romantic love stories boring and insipid, even when the sex is explicit. And I know beyond any shadow of a doubt that I’m not the only woman who wants what the non-vanilla world offers. There is a part of me who absolutely could dive into that lifestyle and really enjoy myself.

The only problem is that I’m married to a wonderful guy who has a different arousal template altogether. Plus, I’ve been in recovery and I’m pretty sure that I’d need more and more to achieve the same results. When you’re starting with clamps and canes you can find yourself in some pretty sick scenarios before you know it. Been there, done that, don’t want to be turned on by that stuff again. Way, way too much shame afterward.

Besides, lets be honest. If you’re thinking about sex all the time, your life is unbalanced and you’re going to be unhappy. That’s true whether you’re into love and purity or punishment and humiliation.

See? Don’t I sound like someone who didn’t lose her sobriety? That’s what’s frustrating; I know all this. So what the hell happened to me? Why did I do this?

< I’m weak, I’m bad, I’m weak, I’m bad, I’m weak, I’m bad >

I feel like it’s because I’m weak. I feel like I’m a bad (low, immoral, weak, weak, bad, etc) person. That’s what my heart believes, but my head knows that I’m just another human being with a particular set of genetic and behavioral predispositions. One of the labels that accurately describes me is sex addict. Nothing unique about that. And when sex addicts become overwhelmed, they act out.

Recovery is about living in such a way that you do not become overwhelmed. Sometimes when life is good, that’s pretty easy. When everyone’s healthy, none of the kids are in trouble, there’s enough money, jobs are going well, the roof doesn’t leak, you’re not hungry, angry, lonely, or tired – recovery isn’t that difficult.

When the shit hits the fan, you’ve got to be proactive with your recovery. This past few weeks the shit has been hitting the fan, but I haven’t been focused on recovery (self-care is a synonym for recovery).

The problem is that I didn’t know that the shit was hitting the fan. I thought I was doing really, really well. Sure there were some big things going on in my life (I’ll share them in my next post) but I didn’t know I was headed for a relapse. If I’d been going to meetings and talking about what was going on in my life, and talking about how I was feeling, I bet someone would have told me my slip was showing.

Having a meeting that’s too far away to attend regularly is not working for me. I need a local face-to-face meeting where I can tell the truth, bring the inside out, and have people who care enough to tell me the truth when I’m getting off the beam.

Alcoholics are lucky. And you know someone has to be relatively fucked up to be jealous of an alcoholic.

Thanks for reading. Thanks for caring. Take care of yourself today.



  1. Well you are definitely good in writing. Everything happens for a reason and you may just have saved someone else from a slip with your wonderful blog. It may not sound like much of a price right now but I find it magnificent.

    Keep sober and find your balance again.

  2. I am also a person you’re helping.

    I echo what Shaun says. When my 9 year old acts out by ripping his room apart in a fit of rage, his behavior is “bad” but he’s not a “bad” person. I can see the human being under my son frustration, my husband’s acting out and I see you apart from your actions. We’re what we are, not the total sum of our actions.

    I’m a food addict using a popular points counting program and I participate in the online forums there. I was told that just because you might drop the carton of eggs and one or two eggs might break inside, you don’t go and break the rest of the eggs. You gently put them back in the fridge for further safe keeping.

    No man is an island. Your recovery is reflective of my own recovery as a spouse. I’m learning from you and your experience that you so graciously share.

    And I’m thankful you’re a good writer, which makes this easier. Please…carry on.

  3. Jealous of an alcoholic. LOL An addict is an addict is an addict. We all have the exact same traits, just different symptoms. Some seem more deep and ark than others, but they have the same ability to wreak havoc in our lives.

    Someone told my wife something the other day that I want to share. This (acting out) is what you do, it is not who you are. You worth is not determined by the symptoms of your addiction. I believe on some level you would agree with me.

    I know that in my active alcoholism, I am a pretty mean and disgusting person that rips and tears through peoples lives. That is not who I am today and that is not who I prefer to known as. You are not a bad person, you are just someone who got lost in their recovery.

    I heard it described as making 2 degree changes. Like driving, you make small 2 degree changes to the wheel and you stay on the course you were travelling on. When you make a 180 degree change and stop doing what you were doing to get where you were, that is when you crash. Get back on the Gentle Path and make those small changes.

    God Bless you. There are people that you have helped and who care about your recovery. I am one of those people.

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