There are people who perpetually go from sobriety to relapse over and over and over again and honestly, seeing that has become very heart-breaking for me. Watching anyone do this is so difficult because I’ve learned over the years that I’m powerless to stop it, no matter what experience, strength, and hope I may ever share with them.
The first person I truly saw this pattern with, beyond myself of course, was with my mother. I provided her every bit of guidance and direction I could about addiction and offered my help in any way I was able, yet it still wasn’t enough. My mother refused to step out of her comfort zone and walk through her fears. Because of it, she never found recovery and died from her disease, which is sadly what happens to the majority of people who remain in the perpetual sobriety to relapse cycle.
I have friends in this cycle, I see clients each week at a detox center I volunteer at in this cycle, and there are individuals in the 12 Step meetings I attend in this cycle as well. And every time I think one has finally woken up and had enough of their addiction, I watch them return a short time later with yet another sad relapse story.
Do you remember those revolving doors that used to exist at the entrances to a number of department stores back in the day? The Macy’s in New York City still has them and when I was a kid I’d race ahead of my family to enter them there, and then proceed to go around and around until my mother made me stop. Those revolving doors remind me a lot of those individuals who live in this perpetual sobriety to relapse cycle because ultimately, they travel nowhere.
I have often asked myself why so many individuals suffering from all types of addictions keep living in those revolving doors? The short answer I belief is that the pain of living in them is less than their payoff. But the longer someone remains in that cycle, the more they tend to face the loss of their jobs, their relationships, their friends, their health, their homes, their families, their finances, and eventually their lives altogether.
It’s pretty sad actually to see individuals remain in this cycle for years and even decades. I have even observed people seriously overdose or contract life threatening diseases and still remain in this perpetual sobriety to relapse cycle, which has left me wondering more than not, how great the pain has to become for someone to eventually break free from the madness.
Unfortunately, for some, the fear of facing their true selves and the demons they’ve kept buried overweighs any pain of continuing to live in that cycle. My mother was a perfect example of this. I came to learn years after her death that she was molested by her father and remained in her perpetual sobriety to relapse cycle with alcohol because of it.
But, I can relate because I too lived in a similar cycle for years solely because of being molested at a young age and because of my sexuality as well. Yet, in my case, I reached the point where the pain of living in that cycle was far greater than any benefits I was getting from remaining in it. In fact, every addiction I’ve ever succumbed to and lived in that perpetual sobriety to relapse cycle was always related to something deep within me that I was avoiding out of fear.
So, is fear the bottom line cause of why someone remains in that revolving door that goes nowhere?
That’s at least my experience.
But, thank God, I’ve continued to face each of those fears that have arisen throughout my life, because the last thing I want is to remain in a perpetual sobriety to relapse cycle with any addiction. I experienced that enough and have come to see that the freedom of facing those fears in the long run was more worth any payoff I ever got from living in that cycle itself.
Nevertheless, if you’re someone who happens to still be living in a perpetual sobriety to relapse cycle with an addiction, my soul grieves for you. It grieves because there isn’t any hope that will ever come from remaining in that cycle. But I do know there is hope if you break free from it by finally facing those demons and fears that keep driving you back into it.
How do I know this?
Because I’m living proof and I promise you, you can become that too…
Peace, love, light, and, joy,
Andrew Arthur Dawson