Making the decision to recover from drug addiction is by far the most monumental decision you have ever made. You’ve spent years, maybe even decades, spiraling out of control, watching your life waste away. So, you’ve decided to finally ask for help and follow the direction and suggestion of someone else. Things are beginning to look up, your life is starting to fall back into place, you feel great, and your family enjoys spending time with you again. What could go wrong? Maybe nothing; maybe everything. That all depends on you and the work you put into staying sober one day at a time.
Relapse is unfortunately a part of many people’s stories…but it doesn’t have to be a part of yours. Nevertheless, you may feel yourself slipping. Your thoughts are beginning to get the best of you. You find yourself irritable and moody more often. You begin missing the “good ol’ days” with your so-called friends. These are just a few examples of a relapse in the making. In this article, we will discuss the warning signs of a relapse and what to do to prevent one from happening.
You Stop Doing The Basics
It seems so generic, so obvious, yet it is the number one offender when it comes to relapse. When we stop doing the things that we did in the beginning, such as going to meetings, sharing where we are at, working with a sponsor, and taking on commitments, we set ourselves up for failure. If you have found yourself slacking or pulling away from the program, you must reevaluate your decisions and where you would like to see yourself. Do you want continue “white-knuckling” it and most likely relapse, or would you rather stop yourself in your tracks and re-commit yourself to the program? You can always start fresh, start over. The most important thing to remember is that as long as you don’t pick up the first drink or drug, you can do anything.
You Start Removing Things That Keep You Grounded
In recovery we find things that keep us anchored. It is different for everyone. It may be praying, meditating, painting, running, reading and so on. No matter what your anchor is, when it is slowly removed from your daily routine, it is typically a clear sign that you are heading in the wrong direction and potentially a relapse. It may seem silly, but these things are crucial for our well-being on an emotional, spiritual, and physical level.
Old Behaviors Come Back
Changing our behaviors is one of the more difficult things we need to do in recovery. Without that change, nothing else really matters. Even if we are not using or drinking, if our behaviors stay the same, where we are selfish or dishonest or irrational, then abstinence means nothing. The same goes for those that have worked hard to change, have achieved that goal for a period of time, but suddenly start to slip back into past behaviors. When negative thoughts and behaviors begin to crop, you must be able to recognize them and use the tools of the program to avoid relapse. You cannot expect to stay sober if you are behaving the way you did in active addiction.
You Start Romanticizing Drug Use
Have you started thinking about the “good ol’ days,” remembering all the fun times you used to have when you were drinking or drugging? Maybe you go back to that first time you ever used your drug of choice and remember the feeling it gave you that day. You remember it so well, you can physically recall the sensation tingly through your body. This is a clear red flag of an oncoming relapse. Don’t get us wrong, the thought of using or drinking may sometimes come up, but when you get to the point in which you tell yourself “one will be okay,” you are in dangerous territory. Remember, utilize your support system in times such as these. That is what they are there for.
Start Hanging Out With Old Friends
It should be obvious, but spending time with old associates or friends you used drugs or alcohol with, is definitely not conducive to your ongoing recovery. Maybe you think it’s not a big deal, as long as you aren’t using with them. Nonetheless, if you take into account the other relapse signs that have begun to show up in your life, it is only a matter of time before you say to yourself, “only one.” As the saying goes, “If you hang out in a barbershop long enough, you are bound to get your hair cut.”
Contact Clearbrook Today
Drug addiction and alcoholism is a cunning and baffling disease. Whether you have 30 days, 1 year, or 10 years sober, you will never be cured. No matter the time you have sober, you must continue to do the work necessary to maintain your recovery. If you have found yourself relating to any of the relapse warning signs we discussed today, it is time to get back to the basics. Get connected with your support group and sponsor, and maybe consider speaking with a drug and alcohol professional. Remember, it is never too late to start over again.
If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse, please get the help you need. For more than 40 years, Clearbrook Treatment Centers has been providing effective addiction treatment to the suffering individual. Please contact our Admissions Specialists today and begin your journey to wellness.