Dr James Schaller
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Relationships and Sudden Relapses
in Alcoholism and Drug Use

John had been fully sober for 13 years. He was successful in his computer business and got along fairly well with friends and family. Then he learned his wife had an ongoing affair and he suddenly began drinking frantically every day. What happened?

Ted was a custom glass blower and sold products for quite a lot of money because he was such an artist and tradesman. He was in recovery 8 years after stopping cocaine. He and his wife never assumed he would relapse after being clean so long. Yet he had a car accident in which a mid-sized car hit him in the side and his car had no side airbag. His arm was severely injured. His ability to perform his craft was ended and it is unclear how much recovery he will ever have in his hand and arm.

Most people in recovery would say you need a higher power, God, or something or someone to replace what you are getting from the object of your addiction.

However, this person or thing you lean on can make you vulnerable to relapse if it suddenly changes.

In John's case, his functional God and higher power included his wife. Yet spouses make mistakes, get ill, divorce or die. If your higher power is a spouse and things change you may find your three-legged stool suddenly has only one leg.

In Ted's situation, his beloved vocation is possibly ended. He could learn other options, but he does not want to learn them. He is furious his beloved trade is out of reach. One of his higher powers and nurturing experiences was the pleasure of creating in this exact way with glass art. Yet for many people, there is a need for flexibility. Easy to say, but it can be very hard. My only appeal, is do not assume your vocation is eternal.

Make your higher power higher than the common changes of life. And make your supports and interests as diverse as you can.

Happy Health!

Dr. J


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