An American Addiction Centers Resource

New to the Forums?Join or

Difference between relapse and progress?

Discussion in 'Alcohol' started by Mackmax, Jan 3, 2015.

  1. Mackmax

    Mackmax Active Contributor

    Many people, wether they be doctors or ex-addicts speaking from experience, say that it is extremely difficult to quit cold turkey. Many doctors even suggest having a limit on how much alcohol you consume a day, and slowly lower that limit.
    So what is a difference between completely relapsing and consuming alcohol and continuing to drink alcohol as an attempt to slowly limit yourself?
  2. petesede

    petesede Active Contributor

    How much it controls your life. If you can limit it and make it a meaningless part of your day, then that is progress. If you drink again, and it affects your life, then it is a relapse. For some people, they can never quit, but just continually making it not affect the rest of your life is enough to be happy.
    Mackmax likes this.
  3. Charli

    Charli Community Champion

    I think self control is what defines which side the behavior falls on. If the person is able to control himself or herself and they know they are just doing things to ween off and eventually plan on stopping then it would just be a slow progress of getting off the addiction. If the urge is too uncontrollable then it's probably more considered a relapse.
    Mackmax likes this.
  4. Tournique

    Tournique Senior Contributor

    Quitting cold turkey is never easy. Relapse is a real problem sometimes but you need to focus on the journey and progress made so far. It's never easy to limit an addiction but I believe it's doable if you have something else to keep you distracted.
  5. alfonso87

    alfonso87 Member

    To my understanding, a relapse would be if you were an alcoholic and decided to quit alcohol altogether, lets say you stopped drinking for 18 months. One day you lose your job, or your girlfriend leaves you, or your cat dies and you start drinking again, that's a relapse.

    If you notice your drinking a bit too much, and its starting to affect your life negatively and you decide to lessen your alcohol consumption and it's frequency, that would be limiting yourself.
  6. Tournique

    Tournique Senior Contributor

    Yes, unfortunately that is a realistic scenario. Most of the times people rely on drinking to ease up the problems on emotional level.
  7. Rosyrain

    Rosyrain Community Champion

    Alfinzo87 said it great. If you have a drink or something one day when you have managed to stay sober for 18 months, I would not consider that a relapse unless it starts the pattern to taking over your life again. It is when it hinders your life, that is a problem. I would not consider a person who has a glass of wine a couple nights a week an alcoholic. Someone who drinks daily to the point of being drunk would be.
  8. DTracy3

    DTracy3 Active Contributor

    Cold Turkey is really hard and not everyone can do it. Stopping little by little may be the best way in that case. It may be slower then stopping with cold turkey, but even if it's small, it's still a progress, so if you keep progressing for some time, you'll reach your goal.
  9. Rosyrain

    Rosyrain Community Champion

    I think progress is the best way to go about ending any addiction too. There is too much room for failure when you try to quit cold turkey, because part of the addiction is a habit that you have to commit to breaking.
  10. alfonso87

    alfonso87 Member

    Yeah I agree, some people shift from narcotics to alcohol or vise versa when quitting which can be dangerous because they can get hooked on one or the other during recovery which is a whole new problem. I remember drinking a lot of during the first few days after quitting weed just to cope with the withdrawals, thankfully it didn't turn into a habit.
    Last edited: Jan 24, 2015
  11. Tournique

    Tournique Senior Contributor

    I'm sorry to hear that. How much were you smoking that you had to deal with withdrawal symptoms in the end?
  12. JulianWilliams

    JulianWilliams Active Contributor

    It all depends on the person. Some people are able to stop cold turkey and never use it again while for some people that would simply be impossible. You need to see what works for you and do that. Preferably, you would stop cold turkey, but if you can't do that there's nothing wrong with slowly reducing consumption
  13. OhioTom76

    OhioTom76 Senior Contributor

    This is where I had to cut myself off from many of my former friends and coworkers, because they were not supportive at all of me trying to quit cocaine when I decided to do so. Most of them all partied themselves, and did not really care for me to be quitting. In fact, I would venture to say they were hoping I would fail. They liked to judge themselves against each other, and act like *you're* the one with the "problem" and they're the ones that got it under control at all times. When they can no longer use you as a scapegoat to distract from their own addiction problems, then you're useless to them. They can't wait to throw it back in your face if you so much as relapse in any small manner.

    The day I decided to quit cocaine was Thanksgiving in 2000. The night before, which is the biggest bar night of the year, I had met up with a lot of friends and they all wanted to get some cocaine to party with that evening. I was the person that would go pick up everyone's "orders" from my dealer, so in total I had to go get about $350 worth of it. When I got back to the bar with it, most of them had either left and/or changed their minds for some reason, and I ended up getting stuck with nearly all of it. Of course I wound up binging on it the whole night until the wee hours of the morning and was a total mess Thanksgiving day. That was when I had had enough.

    I quit my job at the restaurant, which was where almost all of my cocaine using friends and acquaintances were from. I stopped going out to the bars in the evenings as well, so I wouldn't be around even more coke heads, and I basically quit cold turkey. I had one relapse in December, and bought $120 worth and binged on it again, then twice in January of 2001, then that was it. So technically it wasn't 100% cold turkey, but going from doing it 3-4 days a week to three times in the course of 2 months was a steep drop off. But had I still been around the same toxic people and they caught wind of me doing it those three times they would have all started treating me like "oh, he's back at it again" when in fact I did quit for good.
  14. wahmed

    wahmed Active Contributor

    I think that if your cutting down in a consistent manner you are making progress. You are normally only able to cut down if you are not consuming high level. Unfortunatly for alcoholics they normally realise they have a problem after the levels they are consuming are ginormous.
  15. Charli

    Charli Community Champion

    Agreed. I think it really would be considered relapse if it were uncontrollable for that person to stop for one reason or another. If they are using it to fill an emotional void then it is most likely a sign of relapse, whereas I'd they are conscious of their intake and are able to somehow limit it then they might be considered to be progressing.
  16. Determined2014

    Determined2014 Senior Contributor


    l those answers , I believe depend on an individual. there those who try to quit , but then they end up drinking even more, there those who quit by weaning themselves and there are those who never stop, they get to a level where they are comfortable taking a certain amount of alcohol
  17. Bonzer

    Bonzer Community Champion

    No addiction should be quit cold turkey because withdrawal symptoms loom large and relapse is bound to follow. Even prescription anti-depressants or anxiety medications are not withdrawn suddenly. Psychotherapy and counselling are given to the patient along with medication. Once the patient responds, positively, the medication is slowly tapered off and is brought, practically to zero.

    The same happens with alcohol. If you are slowly able to wean off alcohol, you are making a good progress. If you are falling back into the old habits, it's a relapse. If the situation is awfully out of your control, you then need professional help. However, alcohol addiction can be defeated for sure. Hope that helps!