Relapsing is usually a great source of disappointment for a person in recovery.
Some people who pick up on the spur of the moment manage to avert disaster by withholding themselves right away. It is a slip not a relapse.
In many cases, however, a person will completely go back to regular addiction. Getting another chance to achieve sobriety won't happen for some of them. It is important that you try as much as possible to avoid a relapse because it could easily end in death. Relapses however don't just happen without cause. When a relapse is likely, there is usually some warning sign of what's coming. The individual will be able to prevent catastrophe if they are able to spot these tell-tale signs.
Some of the usual signs that a person might be going towards relapse are: Isolation: this is the stage when the individual begins to stay away from other people.
They begin to keep secrets and even tell lies. The person will not attend or will not share as much during Alcoholic Anonymous meetings and other such meetings.
The feeling of being stuck in recovery: frustrations overcome people when they begin to realise that they are not making any progress during the recovery.
Ambivalence toward recovery: Sometimes individuals act like they don't have any strength left or like they don't care anymore so they don't do the things they should in order to remain clean.
Anger and resentment: The individuals blame those around them as their life in recovery is not turning out as they expected. Thus get an excuse to return to alcohol or drugs due to these feelings.
Denying their situation: If life after the addiction is far from ideal yet the person won't admit to this fact, this could be a major problem. They won't be able to deceive themselves for long, even if they manage to deceive others. An obstacle to the recovery can also be the problems that are not dealt with.
"Stinking thinking": This entails that people start having severely negative thoughts about their life without substance abuse. This may mean that they are trying to justify an impending relapse.
Overconfidence: that is a well-known proverb which says, "pride comes before a fall." Setting up for disaster may the result for individuals who are overconfident about their recovery. It may result in self-satisfaction, and before even realizing what has happened people can be back in the hub of addiction. People are most vulnerable when they let their guard down because the recovery is a serious business.
Feeling overwhelmed: This is usually a sign of forthcoming relapse. People are unable to think rationally when they feel overwhelmed. A yearning to elude the uneasiness simply leads people back to addiction.
Romancing about drink or drug-: This is when the people begin to recall the times they felt happy as a substance abuser. Longing for those times might even occur. The Past can seem far rosier than it actually was as the memory plays tricks on people. People will overlook how greatly they desired to recover from their addiction.
New Addictions: The person may start to engage in other unhealthy behaviours in an attempt to avoid their hardships. They can become preoccupied with their work or might start overly working out. Another mind-changing substance might be the choice of some people.
Behaving like a dry drunk: This where people have quit drinking or abusing drugs but continue to behave much like they did before. A dry drunk can easily relapse and won't be as committed as they should be to staying sober.
Time spent with previous friends: There is great danger I spending time with friends that you used to abuse drugs or alcohol with. Group pressure can influence individuals into relapse if they have a fragile recovery.
Visiting drinking venues: Visiting a bar so long is usually safe for people with a strong recovery as they have a good reason to be there. If, however, people go to these drinking places so they can get indirect satisfaction from looking at other people drinking, then it can be very dangerous. Going to these places out of loneliness is also a terrible idea. In AA they say that you will definitely get your haircut if you sit in a barber shop long enough.
Keeping a tab on the warning signs of a return to addiction can be understood well enough if the context of the relapse process is considered.
This is a sequence of the process that suggests what usually happens before people relapse. It is the mind within the individual where the process normally begins much earlier before they actually go back to pick up a drink or drug. This description is useful in getting to see how the relapse happens although the events don't happen the same way for everyone. Each of these following stages is part during the relapse process:
When progress in recovery stops for the individual.
This occurs because they are confronted with a problem they don't want to deal with, or are unable to cope with. The person will do their best not to pay mind to the signs that they are not moving forward. Life becomes unpleasant because of this delay in progress. In order to deal with this, the individual turns to maladaptive coping techniques. This pain will keep on building inside even if they manage to bury it deep down.
In order to rise to the surface, a trigger event provides the opportunity for this internal discomfort. The tension has been building up over time due to which the individual overreacts while this could be a minor argument over something trivial. Increasing emotional turmoil will be experienced by the individual during this stage. This is the kind of discomposure a person would experience by sprawling into substance abuse. In sobriety, these feelings may make the person feel vulnerable. Challenges in thinking straight and leading a normal life are as a result of inner chaos.
The emotional unrest could become more pronounced to other people. People may begin to appear angry or agitated. They could also display signs of erratic behaviour. In order to maintain the sobriety the person who has reached this level will quit doing the things they need to do.
During this time, the feeling of being overwhelmed and going out of control was also be felt by the individual. Thinking about how substance abuse helped them to get away from life troubles is what they often do now. Preventing a relapse at this stage will take more than just the motivation for sobriety.
People who spot the warning signs of an impending relapse can take actions by following some of the steps mentioned below:
Pay attention to the reasons why they gave up their addiction and consider the hopes and aspirations they had during the recovery. Now is a good time to go back and read the journal if you have been keeping a recovery journal. Remaining sober should be their top priority in life. All other jobs should be relegated into the background until the individual is feeling secure and sober. This is not a good time to make life-changing decisions or to accept new obligations.
Sharing relapse fears with someone that will listen and give a solid advice is very important for these individuals. In the event where an individual belongs to a 12 step group, the persons sponsor is the best person to turn to. Making an emergency appointment is strongly advised to the people who have a therapist. There may be somebody whom people can contact if they have recently left rehab. Not being alone and talking with others is very crucial at this time. During this crucial moments individuals belonging to a group are encouraged to attend often. Share the problems you've been facing with other people during the meetings.
Totally evade previous drinking or drug abusing associates during this period. Visiting places where alcohol is served during moments of vulnerability is a bad idea for the recovering alcoholics. The reasons why a number of people relapses are because they have committed some mistakes during their recovery. Go back over everything you've done and see where you went wrong. A therapist or an individual who is highly reputable in their own recovery can be immensely beneficial to conduct this investigation with. This can be a great time to read motivational recovery material. It can provide people who need the motivation to remain sober. People can also make use of the online addiction recovery resources. Reaching out to addiction help lines who are working round-the-clock will also prove helpful.
If the individual is feeling vulnerable to relapse, he or she should be considering using one of these help lines.