hello my fellow fallible human my name

is Tanya McIntyre and this is the Red

Roof recovery show, to soften

the path of recovery from substance and

behavioral addictions and it’s not just

for addictions it’s for life!

I appreciate you spending the next few

minutes here as I’m joined in

conversation with my life partner and my

best friend I call him sir Lancelot

thank you for being here sweetheart my

knight in shining armor

welcome my

love thank you sweetheart – Lance has

been with me for over 30 years and much

of that was lived experience through my

drug and alcohol addictions Lance brings

the perspective of a family member of a

loved one who’s affected by addiction

for every one person who is challenged

with an addiction there are five family

members also affected Salon shares his

lived experience and empathy with family

members whose loved ones are still

struggling with addictions

effective communication tools can

motivate your loved one to seek recovery

sooner than later we offer a thoughtful

conversation about a variety of recovery

topics you’re going to hear

science-based approaches to build a life

beyond addiction a life that you will

not need to escape from there are

literally hundreds of tools that you can

use to manage recovery and life the key

one of my favorite acronyms the key is

to keep educating yourself until you

find something that clicks for you

because this is all about you and your

recovery on this episode of The Red Roof

recovery show oh we are talking about

the stages of relapse very important to

recognize what they are

so what are they

they start well the physical sobriety

actually can take weeks sometimes months

after the first stage of relapse happens

and that is the emotional relapse

so I often say that my physical sobriety

was the first step and then my emotional

sobriety is an ongoing Journey that I

make the moment my eyes open in the

morning that’s when my journey starts

with emotional sobriety and I use a

variety of tools to manage my emotional

sobriety because there’s no shortage of

heightened emotions as you know

sweetheart in recovery you not only have

lived experience with me for a couple of

decades through my addictions

but now you’re living with me in

recovery and I’m sure I’m not I don’t

want to speak for you but I’m sure that

comes with its own challenges

uh yeah yeah it’s uh

you have your ups and downs

and your

your moments of


and yeah

it’s it’s pretty much the same as when

you were

in your addiction

is that

you know I want to help I want to

somehow make it better


there is the whole thing where

unless you ask for help or ask me to do

something specific there’s nothing

really I can do apart from

be there when you do ask

and that’s a hard thing for people to

ask for help

especially because especially if it’s

something that people feel

um shameful about or guilty about

for someone to turn around who are

feeling vulnerable and

you know what you say about your

emotional sobriety if you’re feeling

emotionally vulnerable and seeing that

you know you could be going down that

path recognizing

that that path

you may be heading towards the next step

of relapse


it’s hard to talk talk to someone and

say this is what I really need

do it yourself

and I think understanding relapse I mean

I spent eight years

12-step programs relapsing every year

and that wasn’t the fault of the program

that was uh my inability to accept the

unconditional acceptance piece uh which

came a little bit later for me in

cognitive therapy

like I said there are hundreds of tools

that you can use in recovery and life

the key is to keep looking until you

find something that works for you so for

me the eight years of relapsing and

12-step programs helped me recognize the

stages of relapse helped me recognize

the pattern of thought that we begin

sometimes months before I would actually

physically relapse so it started with me

with an emotional relapse I would start

to get irritable I would start to

isolate I would start to look for

opportunities perhaps I had this kind of

struggle going on with my mind my

alcoholic brain was wanting to have a

drink or a drug to take the edge off of

whatever I was going through and then my

more rational brain was saying No this

is insane you know you’re doing this

work you’re now physically sober what

are you doing this is crazy so you’ve

got this banter going on I call it the

itty bitty shitty committee that

negative narrative that swirls around in

our head that never shuts up

sorry is that when you

emotionally come under pressure

something doesn’t go right you get

emotional that all this starts to happen

absolutely yeah okay I think I call it

my disease of emotions it’s you know

it’s emotional turmoil that I used to

run away from I used to just numb out

the feelings of heightened emotions that

I didn’t want to feel

um you know bordering on panic attacks

uh you know I hear people now who are

diagnosed with generalized anxiety

disorder and I think we all face some

level of anxiety and depression at

certain stages of life and I was

incapable of dealing with the emotions

without taking an easier softer way

looking for a quick fix a quick hit to

take that pressure off

I always equate it to uh when I was a

kid putting air in my tires in my

bicycle and if I over inflated the tire

I’d have to put my thumbnail on the

little gauge to let out some air that


is what

it felt like for me I needed that

from the pressure of life and emotions

and I would get that from a drink or a


okay so recognizing the emotional

relapse first so recognizing that

pattern of thought my irritability the

loss of patience my wanting to isolate

looking for opportunities where I might

be able to sneak something without

somebody knowing

so not really thinking about it but you

know you start to recognize these


mood swings

and then you start to go into what I

call then the emotion or the mental

relapse so you go from emotional relapse

the mental relapse is when you stick in

the emotional relapse too long and the

mental relapse then you’ve really got

that screaming going on this

well dysfunction happening in your brain

that you don’t want to and you want to

um you know there wasn’t I often say

people say it’s about choice

when I was walking toward a bottle of

vodka telling myself this is insane what

are you doing uh there was no stopping

my arm reaching for the Vodka so there

was no choice there for me when I was

deep into my addictions

um so when you know I have these

discussions with people about choice and

I’m thinking maybe after you’ve made

that transition to get physically sober

uh to start to work on your emotional

sobriety then perhaps there’s a level of

choice involved there but when you’re

mired deep into your addiction

there’s no choice about it you have no

choice so you’ve got emotional and

you’ve got mental mental and the mental

relapse is when you’ve stayed in

emotional relapse too long now you’ve

graduated into the mental relapse

um so you know you you’re again you

start then you start to lie to yourself

and others looking for those

opportunities to start to bargain you

start to look for opportunities to get

together with old friends oh I wonder

what happened to that dealer I used to


um so seeing old friends that were part

of your addictions looking for

opportunities where you don’t get caught

so coming up with strategies to not only

just recognize those patterns of thought

but then to nip them

cut them at the core right you gotta

catch it check it change it all these

slogans that we have in recovery circles

okay so we can get to the last one which

I presume is something like physical or

are you actually well yep so you would

when you’re ignoring the warning signs

which I did for eight years and 12-step

programs and then I would go into a

physical relapse and then I would be

questioning myself after my fourth drink


what the heck happened how did I get

here well I got here looking back now it

started with a pattern of thinking the

emotional relapse I call it where I

started to isolate I started to notice

swings in my real big swings in my mood

um irritability loss of patience loss of


um ignoring my self-care routine

so now that I have eight years of

experience of relapsing I can recognize

the emotional lapse I can recognize when

I’ve stayed there too long and now I’ve

graduated into the mental relapse and

thankfully now I’m we’re you know

January of 2023

so I’m four and a half years now of

successfully consecutively keeping

maintaining my uh sobriety my abstinence

from drug and alcohol addictions and I

absolutely chalk it up to cognitive

therapies that now I I’ve learned how to

sit with my emotions how to tolerate

discomfort how to reach into my toolbox

uh so I keep putting Tools in my toolbox

so I have a whole plethora of tools to

choose from and the hammer in my toolbox

is the unconditional acceptance piece

unconditional acceptance for myself

others and life that’s huge for me so

getting a good sleep eating


at the same time every day very

important for me going to bed and

getting up at the same time every day uh

well you know me a structured routine

very very important I also don’t

hesitate to share my feelings now that’s

a double-edged sword for sure certainly

can be


I go to meetings


and from my point of view yeah I mean

you do share your feelings

but you shared and you used to bottle

them up and then it would all come out

in one

normally a a drunken

geyser would come flying at me

and I didn’t know where it was coming

from and it wasn’t very nice

whereas now yeah you can still you know

share some things that can be a little



it’s better to know where

where I sit and where use it

and there’s helping you not relapse

so yeah I mean

double-edged swords at double-edged

swords like everything is a double-edged

sword you know being a passive person is

a double-edged sword

yeah some people say as a weakness some

people it was a strength

everything has pros and cons

well I’m grateful that you’re here with

me sweetheart and uh that you have

weathered the storm with me and now you

you now surf the waves of life with me

and I appreciate that thank you yeah I

don’t live in a tsunami anymore and

thank you for sharing a few minutes of

your time I know in the noise of the

Internet it’s uh it’s hard to get

anybody’s attention because our

attention span is shrinking so I

appreciate the minutes that you are

sharing with us and if you have gotten

anything from this please share it with

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Red Roof recovery and you can find us on

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online you can get sober stay sober and

learn how to maintain your your

abstinence from drug and alcohol


thank you so much for being here lots a

lot thank you I love your family

perspective it helps a great deal thank

you you’re welcome my love love you too

May the force be with you and remember

you are the force

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