For individuals struggling to overcome an addiction, it is often a habit that has been…
How to Know If You Are at Risk of Relapse
Regardless of their unshakeable dedication to sobriety, relapse is a constant threat to recovering addicts and alcoholics. Ask an addiction counselor what is relapse and they will explain how an addict can return to drinking or drug use with the suddenness of a lightning bolt if they become complacent or don’t ask for help when they need it.
If you’re an addict who has finished rehab, it is vital to understand more about the risks of relapse and how to recognize when you might be on the brink of abandoning your recovery and squandering all of your previous hard work.
Here are some indicators that might indicate a relapse is on the horizon:
You’ve been missing therapy sessions or 12-step group meetings.
Whatever your excuses are, they aren’t good enough. These interactions help you stay grounded and give you an outlet to express the fears and frustrations that might otherwise send you back to drugs or alcohol.
You’ve been telling yourself or others that “my drinking (or drug use) wasn’t really all that bad.”
Your memory is playing tricks on you, motivated by suppressed cravings for drugs or alcohol that haven’t yet died. In truth, it really was that bad, and if you doubt it go talk to family members or friends who knew you when your addiction was at its most extreme.
You’ve started spending a lot of time with old “friends.”
By “friends,” we mean your old drinking or using partners and acquaintances. If they’re also in recovery, you can help each other. However, if they aren’t, you’re asking for trouble if you continue to see them. These people are not your peers anymore and they will not support your efforts to remain clean and sober.
You find yourself thinking about your favorite intoxicating substances more and more.
You need to replace the cold comforts of drugs and alcohol with other coping mechanisms, which you should have been working on with your therapists during your treatment program. But if drugs and alcohol are on your mind all the time, it means those new methods of managing stress and anxiety aren’t well established and may need some reinforcement (in therapy and in your 12-step group meetings).
What Is Relapsing From Addiction and How Could It Affect Me?
To help keep you focused on your recovery, every once in a while ask one of your peers in AA to talk about their previous experiences with relapse. Most will have horror stories to tell that will scare you and make you conscious of how important it is to keep taking your recovery one day at a time and to never lose sight of how dangerous relapse can be.
Doing this won’t automatically keep you safe. But having a true understanding about what is relapse and what it could do to your life will boost your fighting spirit and improve your chances of staying on the straight and narrow.
National Institute on Drug Abuse: What Is Relapse?