Relapse Prevention: Signs of Relapse in Recovering Addicts
When someone is struggling with addiction, having a loving support group of individuals who are highly committed to his or her recovery and sobriety is important. Friends and family can help make rehab treatment successful and can also act as watchmen on the road to recovery. Surveys have shown that many of those seeking recovery from alcohol misuse experience at least one episode of relapse along the way. Drug abuse is similar. However, it is possible for watchmen to see road signs that warn a potential relapse is imminent.
Some signs are physical, some mental and others emotional, but they are all fairly accurate in predicting the direction the addict’s behavior will head. Alert loved ones will learn to read these cues and do what they can to steer the recovering loved one onto a better road.
If the person shows signs that just being around alcohol affects them, if he or she becomes anxious or irritable at gatherings where alcohol is served, a relapse may be in the offing. The recovering addict’s heart even may race if others nearby are consuming alcohol.
People who have been misusing alcohol or drugs have become accustomed to feeling numb or living in an emotional monotone. Living with the daily fluctuation of emotions can sometimes prove extremely trying. If the person expresses feelings of isolation, loneliness, or depression, these could trigger a relapse. Irritability and anger are also red flags that the person is finding it hard to manage mood shifts.
Any small stress can be enough because the person is unpracticed in the art of problem-solving and evaluation or regulation of emotions. Testiness could be a red flag that self-soothing with alcohol or drugs is lurking.
While it is impossible to see into another person’s mind, listen for signs that the person is fantasizing or fondly remembering prior instances of substance use. Once the person embraces a positive mental image about using drugs or alcohol, he or she will often look for a way to re-connect with former companions or seek to drink or use drugs without others knowing.
Indulging in positive imagery feeds the cravings, yet the person feels conflicted and guilty about breaking sobriety promises. This self-inflicted stress means that relapse is likely. If you see your loved one reaching out to prior friends or becoming secretive, be aware that this could be a sign of relapse.
Loving friends and family can be on the watch for signs of relapse and they can even warn the person when they see signs of danger, but no one can control another person or prevent them from relapsing. Having an alert support network can make the chances of relapse diminish, but only one’s personal commitment to sobriety can safeguard him or her from the many ways that recovery can be temporarily derailed.
Find help with relapse prevention: Making Your Way in an Addiction Recovery Support Group