‘Prelapse’ … what happens before drinking

Here’s an extract from episode #46 for my audio podcast subscription thingy.

So I figure we all know what relapse is. But I’ve discovered in talking with Team 100 members that there’s something else called “prelapse” that happens BEFORE drinking.

And if you can learn to see prelapse in advance, and recognize what it is, you can change what happens next.

This is a 3 minute extract that starts right at the beginning of this new podcast (the full audio runs about 15 minutes).

Click below to listen:


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Happy Day 50 to Battersea Park!

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Happy Day 50 to Gra!

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Happy Day 50 to Wanda!

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Happy Day 100 to Jlynn!

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Happy Day 100 to Janne!

Happy Day 100 to Sids!

Happy Day 100 to Dipz!

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Happy Day 180 to Renee!

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Happy Day 200 to Janet!

Happy Day 200 Beach_Gurl!

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I want to put this online, to hold myself accountable. I want to document the noise in my head. I'm tired of thinking about drinking. date of last drink: june 30, 2012

  • Hey everyone, I’m new to this site and starting over in sobriety. Even when I had two years sober, I was baffled by the bizarre mixture of feelings and thoughts that preceded a serious urge to drink. This post and the comments focus on emotional fatigue and the feeling of “eff it, I’m done with this.” I have definitely felt that.

    But other times, there’s no fatigue and yet I feel like I’m in stagnation, like my life doesn’t have any meaning and I just don’t care if drinking will do harm. It will do more good than harm in the short term. That’s a big problem with my attempts at sobriety; it is too easy for me to say that I don’t care whether I live or die. The best advice I have gotten is that I shouldn’t assume that life is supposed to be filled with meaning and wonder, but instead it’s up to me to make life meaningful. Relationships with other people, activities and tasks that I find fulfilling, etc. That will have to be a daily focus for me. When I feel the prelapse sense of meaningless, ask what I’m doing with and for other people or what I’m doing to improve my talents.

    Glad to be here.

  • Wow, talk about timely. Had a stressful, wayyy too busy weekend and kept having thoughts of drinking on Saturday. Unusual for me… just kept thinking what it would be like to have a drink… no one would know… except me. I just couldn’t do it, couldn’t go back to all that crap, how many wasted days and nights, to those crummy bone-shaking sick feelings the days after, … the day 1 — again.

    So, just kept plugging, altho I must admit I was really crabby… glad to have that weekend behind me — and vowing to not be that busy doing things I really don’t want to do… again. I like my sober weekends when I’m in a happy place!

  • I really needed this podcast and Zelda’s comments and honesty today. I’m on day 8. I had some nice calm moments this weekend so I was starting to feel relieved I had gotten through the first week. Then, after 2 nights of just NOT being able to fall asleep, I started feeling the familiar overwhelm, irritability, and anxiety. I took a vacation day today to be with my kids and have special times, and as always, I work myself so hard to make sure everyone is happy when really everyone never is really happy at the same time (no pleasing everyone). Then, by 1pm I just sat down and listened to the Prelapse podcast. I am realizing two things for myself. Probably the state of Prelapse will be a common place for me in these early days so I will be alert. Two, I suck at self care. I’ve always sucked at it. For me, learning to sit down and take breaks is huge and I’m doing a lot more of that; taking walks; stretching…I have to get better at that in order to succeed. Thank you for everything Belle and all the rest of you. Sending good wishes to all!

  • I am tired.
    I have been exercising…doing fun exercising and it has helped me sleep and helped my attitude. But I am really out of shape. So I am tired today and I had prelaspe thinking – it went like this: I am so tired I should go back to bed and just sleep until tomorrow and in the past I have done this by drinking until I fall asleep (pass out).

    I did not seriously consider going and getting wine, it was just a passing thought… but I will watch myself for a couple days and make sure I get more rest.

  • A relapse is definitely preceded by a longing for an easy fix from whatever ails us in the moment. In contrast, total abstinence is long term, a journey of recovery that most everyone says is lifelong. I think it’s very alluring to think this time it will be different, I’ve proven myself with x amount of drink free days, everyone else can handle it, etc. The key for me was to truly accept my drinking problem, and then have the willingness to be honest about it, and find as much support for sobriety as I could. Rooting for you all!!!!! – Hana

  • Well, I am one of those Team 100 members who has succumbed to prelapse–twice!–in recent weeks after I initially racked up 33 days. As part of the Sober Jumpstart class, I had the pleasure of speaking with Belle yesterday morning (and I was a little nervous as I felt like such a loser for having another day 1, but those feelings went out the window immediately because Belle didn’t judge me/doesn’t judge us).

    I pondered our discussion all day as I went about my business, and realized that I learned something yet again–something very important–at least for me: For me, it’s more than just stopping the drinking, it’s really about changing my mindset in regards to overwhelming feelings and emotions. It’s about learning to sit with and ride through the uncomfortable feelings and emotions, something that can’t happen if I try to escape through drink. And, until I get the hang of that–of becoming comfortable with uncomfortableness, I will follow Belle’s suggestion of going through every tool in my sober toolbox if necessary to ride through to the other side. It’s really just too exhausting to keep having these Day One’s.

    So, at the start of day 3, I’m feeling positive and have subscribed to the Sober Podcasts because, frankly, right now in the beginning, I’ll accept all of the help that Belle and others here have to offer.

    Sober on!

    Love and Peace, Zelda