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In early sobriety, even discussing drugs or tell “war stories” about using can cause cravings. We have a tendency to forget about all the pain and suffering of our addiction and remember only the good feelings associated with drug or alcohol use. Conversations about drug use and discussing the seemingly positive aspects of intoxication can be dangerous for our ability to achieve and maintain sobriety.

Helen Keane, in her book What’s Wrong with Addiction?, explains, “euphoric recall, the most devastating component in the system, replaces the truthful, shameful memories with rosy recollections of bonhomie. Euphoric recall convinces addicts that they remember a drinking or using episode perfectly. But rather than remembering how they behaved—talking incoherently, stumbling, becoming aggressive—they remember how they felt: brilliant, witty, and sexy.” Euphoric recall is, in a sense, a form of denial. We deny the entirety of our experiences in addiction and choose only to focus on aspects that we remember fondly.

Euphoric recall can contribute to relapse. When we discuss only the positive memories we have with substances, we can twist our minds into believing that our time in addiction wasn’t as bad as it truly was. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration explains, “Euphoric recall is the act of remembering only the pleasures associated with stimulant use and not the adverse consequences. Euphoric recall is a potential relapse risk factor because it minimizes clients’ perceptions of stimulants’ danger, promoting an ambivalence about quitting. For these reasons, so-called “war stories” that include euphoric recall and selective memory are powerful relapse triggers and should be strongly discouraged in recovery groups.”

Euphoric recall is a component of addiction and alcoholism that we must overcome if we are to be successful in our sobriety. The Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous explains, “The fact is that most alcoholics, for reasons yet obscure, have lost the power of choice in drink. Our so-called will power becomes practically nonexistent. We are unable, at certain times, to bring into our consciousness with sufficient force the memory of the suffering and humiliation of even a week or a month ago. We are without defense against the first drink.” When we think about our past use, we should do our best to remember how bad it truly was. When we realize the big picture of our addiction, including the pain and suffering, we are much more likely to summon the willingness and courage to engage thoroughly in our recovery program.

Treatment should be stress free. That’s why we offer comprehensive evaluations, personalized assessments, and individual treatment programs. We’re more than treatment. We’re a community committed to sobriety. Call Anchored Recovery Community today for more information: 866-934-4849