Sunday, September 27, 2015

Unexpected alcohol lapse traps in the medicine cabinet

The usual cast of characters that can escort a sober person down the trail toward a lapse goes by the initials PPT: People, Places and Things. For example, you hang out with the same 'ol crew of drinking buddies, what would you expect to happen? They'd just leave you alone? Every Silver Lining Has a Cloud encapsules PPT in a layer of four emotional stressors: Guilt, Shame, Grief and Forgiveness. There could be a relapse lurking in the medicine chest, as well. (Watch the YouTube vid or read the article)

Of course there are cough suppressants that contain alcohol, that's the easy one to figure out. When you're early in sobriety, feeling that familiar burn down the throat could bring on memories of the good old days – which really weren't that good, or you wouldn't be catching Sobriety :60 videos. Alcohol is alcohol, whether it comes in a shotglass or cough syrup.
Sleep aids aren't quite as obvious as relapse traps. Alcohol is a depressant. Sleep aids are depressants. The brain doesn't make such an exact distinction between the two, and historically, drinkers have used alcohol as a sleep aid – or excused their drinking by saying it helps them sleep. It isn't just the prescription sleep aid like abilify. It's also the over-the-counter one, and especially concoctions like Motrin PM or Tylenol PM. I'm guilty as hell on this one, it's in my night stand, too, until this segment is over.

What happens is this...You start using it... Then you “need” it a couple nights in a row. Then one pill isn't doing it, so we take three, because that's the way the alcoholic mind works. You may be developing a dependency, not so much on the actual chemical, but on the feeling of sedation. When the sleep aids don't work for you anymore, where does that leave a person? Back to alcohol. It's a slippery slope. There's another famous relapse acronym to go with PPT, it's HALT: Hungry, Angry, Lonely and Tired.

Here's the very alcoholic reason why I still have the Ibuprofen PM in my nightstand: Because it won't happen to me, the warning is only for those other guys. Right.

Visit for a replay of CBS Sports' Power Up Your Health featuring Scott Stevens.  Host Ed Forteau led a discussion on risky myths of about "healthy" drinking.  Lucy Pireel's "All That's Written" included a feature on Every Silver Lining Has a Cloud called "When alcohol doesn't work for you anymore."  Details on the third literary award for Every Silver Lining Has a Cloud also can be found on, plus the NEW book, Adding Fire to the Fuel, is now available. Download the FREE Alcohology app in the Google PlayStore today.