Sobriety Dates and Relapse

By Terence T. Gorski, Author

I received this letter from Deb H. And decided to share it and my response because I receive many similar questions.

Hi Terry.

I am familiar with a recovering person who was in stable sobriety from alcohol for twenty-two years and then developed a legitimate severe pain disorder. The person was prescribed Norco for pain and used it as prescribed with positive pain control for 5 years. In the fifth year he began a progressive loss of control of the Norco. This was his 17th year of absence/sobriety from alcohol.

What happens to the previous recovery? Is it all list? What happens to the sobriety date? What went wrong that caused the person to have relapsed like this?
Thank you,
Deb H

Terry Gorski’s Response: People with long-term recovery do not lose all of the benefits of their previous sobriety when they relapse. Once the person breaks the new addiction cycle and stabilizes most of the information and recovery skills rapidly return. Unfortunately, so does debilitating shame and guilt.

It is important for them do write a detailed recovery and relapse history which identifies the recovery skills that were helpful and the indicators they missed that they were getting in trouble with the pain medication. They also need to ask if they really sought out addiction-free pain management methods to lower their us of pain Meds as they learned how to use the other pain management methods.

The issue of “Sobriety Date” can be confusing. I suggest they carry three dates: My original sobriety date was ______. I relapsed after _______ length of sobriety. I am currently continuously sober for _______.

Perhaps the only thing this person missed was learning Addiction-free Pain Management Methods. This is understandable because most Doctors have no idea how to use non-medication pain management either in conjunction with or as a substitute for pain management. See Grinstead’s Addiction-free Pain Management for a whole new world of non-addictive pain management methods. ON THE INTERNET:

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