The Challenge Of Getting Sober, Again

In March 2018, I had been sober for about three years … I relapsed. It took me completely by surprise. Later, when making my inventory about it, I could see that the disease, very cunningly, had slowly conquered its way back in. From time to time I had purposely let short lust thoughts in, which I did not completely surrender. I hadn’t worked on my defects firmly enough and had taken less time for “the inside job.”

I’m glad I never quit our program or the fellowship after that relapse, but I can see now that my life had become unmanageable, again. I stuck to my structure of meetings, daily phone calls with fellows, and contact with my sponsor. I also found the motivation to start on another 12 Step program besides SA. From the outside it looked as if I was back on track after that one relapse. I also thought that I was doing well on a good program to the best of my ability … and maybe I was …

Then I reached a point where my sponsor told me he had to let me go because I once again had crossed a boundary that he had set for me. I understood his decision, but it had a far greater impact on my recovery than I expected. On the very day that I was to start with a new sponsor I had a strong relapse, again. I visited a prostitute after five months of sobriety! With those relapses I allowed a lot of lust to come into my system, again. I tried to stick to the program and stay sober, but at times the craving overwhelmed me and I was too late in surrendering it. I experienced then how progressive this disease really is, especially after a period of sobriety. I also found out what it can do to my self-esteem. All I had built up seemed to vanish and I sank even deeper than that!

I got a new temporary job where I worked hard. Willpower may have slipped in again along the way … I kept relapsing … and “suddenly” a year had passed. After yet another binge, one day I became more desperate.

My sponsor advised me to do a “90 in 90” (90 meetings in 90 days). I had to do this in addition to my other activities and my work, but I became more and more motivated again and it looked as if it had the desired effect. I stayed sober for five months, again. Then one night, lust attacked and I succumbed to it for a minute. I told my sponsor and one week later I decided to reset my sobriety date. That turned out to be the start of another period of relapses …

One morning when I was working with clients, life felt very unmanageable. I could not focus at all and was in a very dark mood. I had to sit next to a client’s bed, but I realized I could not go on anymore … I left work and went home sick. On my couch at home I collapsed. In desperation I called my sister and asked her to come over as I didn’t know how to go on. I hit a new bottom again. My self-esteem was at an all time low … I lost my job and I lost my sponsor, again.

But it was a turning point, because from that moment on I started slowly building up again and I received the willingness to surrender more deeply. Today I have almost 9 months of sobriety. And although my feelings and emotions are sometimes overwhelming, I am grateful for what and where I am today … GOD, HELP ME TO NEVER FORGET WHO I AM, WHAT I AM, AND WHERE I CAME FROM.

Walter L., The Netherlands

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