10 Relapse Warning Signs You Shouldn’t Miss
No one said overcoming addiction was easy. The reality of relapse is a part of recovering from drugs or alcohol addiction. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, the relapse rate for drugs and alcohol is about the same as it is for other diseases, including asthma and hypertension. This means that most recovering addicts will relapse at least once during their recovery process. Relapse is preventable as long as you stop it before it goes too far. An excellent way to prevent relapse is to know and recognize the signs that it is happening.
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1. Thinking about the drugs or alcohol
One of the first signs of relapse is thoughts of drugs and alcohol. This is not the ordinary cravings that you are bound to get. It is a persistent thought. Although you might not realize it yet, the thoughts have turned towards how much fun you had and how many friends you had while you were using. The good times seem much better than what you are experiencing now. The stress of your life begins to get to you and you know that your drug of choice used to make that feeling go away.
2. You convince yourself you have control
One of the things that the thoughts of drugs and alcohol bring, is the thought that you are in control. Many people think they can control their habit especially when they are in recovery. Some go so far as to think that the skills taught in counseling and by the doctors will let them use without becoming addicted again. Unfortunately, this could not be farther from the truth. Once you are addicted to a drug or alcohol, you always will be. When you try it again, that addiction will come back, possibly worse than before.
3. You start driving by the places to get drugs or alcohol
A while after you start thinking more and more about using, you start exhibiting drug seeking behavior. You might start going to bars or houses that you would normally go to for drugs. It could be as simple as driving past a well-known drug haunt or picking up a bottle for a friend. Then suddenly it seems that one drink or one hit is not such a bad thing. Then one becomes two and two becomes three. Soon after that you are back to using again.
4. You start to lose interest in things that keep you sober
During counseling and rehab, you picked up tricks and hobbies to help you through the cravings and withdrawal. When you are starting to relapse, you lose interest in those things. They seem dull and ordinary compared to the memory of the drugs. The things that you did or thought about to keep you from using do not help anymore. They just seem empty or worse foolish. This is when you have to concentrate on the reasons why you are now sober and in recovery.
5. Problems with your family and friends start up again
Since nothing is working to keep your mind off using, you become irritable and angry. You start to blame the people around you, who helped you for your misery. It might start with just snapping at them. They might respond with accusations, you might go into denial about thinking of using again. This is when the fights start to break out and your friends, family, and support network start to crumble.
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6. All of your friends are using
You gradually drop the sober friends that you have. Since they do not use, you stop hanging around them. You find yourself with new friends or contacting your old ones. Since they use, it is natural for you to start using again. In this way recovering addicts, start to justify starting to use again. Unfortunately, many think they can control their drug or alcohol use if they only use around their friends. This is not true.
7. You start denying what the drugs or alcohol originally did
When you were using, there was a reason why you stopped. The longer you are in recovery the further the bad things that happened are from your mind. You start to forget why you stopped; you remember all the good times you had while you were using. You start to listen to your friends about being in recovery since they are the only voices around you at this point. You forget that the drugs or alcohol almost destroyed you.
8. Your life seems too stressful or depressing to not use
Everything around you begins to seem depressing, boring, or stressful. It might be your job or your children but it all seems too hard. The drugs and alcohol were an escape for you. They start to seem like an escape gain. It gets harder and harder to remember why you ever quit using. After all, it did make you feel better.
9. You stop your treatment
You decide to stop your treatment. You stop seeing your doctor, stop taking your medication, and stop all counseling. It might start by missing an appointment or two or you might miss a meeting or group therapy. After that, it does not seem like you should go to them anymore.
10. You find yourself purchasing paraphernalia and ultimately drugs
After everything, the final step into the abyss of relapse is starting to buy and use again. It might start innocently enough. Someone might buy you a drink or a pipe that you liked. Then offer to share. When this happens it is important to remember that the doctors, therapists, counselors, and friends who were there for you the first time are still there. Rehab is available and as difficult as it was to stop the first time, you can do it again. Call 800-481-6320 toll free for help finding treatment.