Relapse is an unfortunate reality for people that are in recovery, but it doesn’t need to be. As frightening as the proposition of a relapse is, it is not some mysterious event that occurs out of nowhere. It is not something that just sneaks up on you one day and you find yourself drunk or high again and it is a shock, but rather it is something that happens as the result of stopping working a program or participating in the things necessary to maintain sobriety. If you know the signs of relapse and stay cognizant to their appearance then you can ensure a continued and happy sobriety and really have nothing to worry about.
That being said it is almost always easier to recognize the signs of relapse in another person then it is to recognize them in ourselves and this is why it is important to have people in your life that will tell you when they see you wavering. So let’s take a look at some of the most common signs of an impending relapse and hopefully it will help you to avoid any and all of these pitfalls.
Signs of an Impending Relapse
Usually, the first thing to occur when a relapse is imminent is that a person stops going to meetings. Almost every person that gets sober after a relapse talks about this. They usually say something along the lines of, they got busy with their life and the gifts of their sobriety and so they started to only go to a couple of meetings every now and again. In time this eventually turned into them not going at all, and left without the connection and community created at meetings, they relapsed without much thought.
This is probably the most telltale sign that a relapse may be impending because without meetings, many people are left with only their thoughts to combat their addiction and this is never a great place to be. The longer that you stay sober, the more difficult it may be at times to attend meetings. This may be because you have become increasingly busy as your life is rebuilt and your career and relationships flourish. Or you may stop attending as many meetings because you have grown bored of the routine of it all. The important thing is that you continue to go, even when you don’t want to because alcoholism and addiction are subtle foes that can sneak up over time and you can fall into their grips again without much effort involved.
Another sign of relapse is that a person starts to participate in old behaviors, which are now uncharacteristic for them. This may mean that they start lying or stealing or they get angry more often, but regardless of what the behaviors are, they may mean that a relapse is impending.
Dealing with the resurgence of old behaviors can sometimes be difficult to spot and this is why it is important to have good people in your life that can tell you when you are acting out. The mind of the alcoholic or addict is great at making justifications and constructing delusions and sometimes just taking a personal inventory is not enough to spot these defects of characters, so having people around you that know you intimately can help to offset this precursor to a relapse.
While some of the signs of relapse are more difficult to spot, this next one is fairly straight forward, and it is that the person starts to seek out people who are using. They may not do this with the intention of using right away, but the act of seeking out old drug or alcohol using friends is usually a sign that something is wrong. A person in this stage of the relapse may not even be consciously thinking about using. They may tell themselves that they are just trying to reconnect with old friends, but in time, hanging out with old friends for long enough can lead directly back to a drink or a drug.
When a person starts to reconnect with old using buddies, they also usually start to distance themselves from their friends in the program. What predicates this shift can be varied, but usually the two go hand in hand. So if you find that you have started to isolate from your sober friends and feel more of a draw towards people whom you used or drink with, then you may be setting yourself up for a relapse.
People who are most at risk for relapse are those who are just getting out of treatment or who are early on in the program. For people who have not completed the Steps yet, one of the most common indicators that a relapse may be imminent is their unwillingness to work the 4th Step. You will see that many times, people who only work the first 3 Steps and then drag their feet on their 4th Step do not stay sober for very long and some can wind up in the vicious cycle of constant relapse because of this.
The thing about relapsing is that it does not occur overnight but is a gradual decline in defenses that leads to the outcome of drinking or using drugs again. The actual act of using or drinking is only the result and relapsing is a process that occurs over time. As alcoholics and addicts, there will always be somewhat of a drawback to old behaviors but by being wary of the signs of relapse, continuing to go to meetings, reaching out to friends, and ensuring the temperance of old behaviors, relapse does not need to be a reality for you.
Finding Treatment That Works For You
If you are currently struggling with getting clean and sober and are not sure what to do, then call the professionals at Evolutions Treatment Center, at 1-800-795-8527. Our staff can help you not only get sober but can help you with relapse prevention so that you can achieve continued and happy sobriety. There is no need for you to struggle alone, so call us today.