Addiction is a lifelong battle that is difficult and cannot be fought alone. When an addict chooses recovery over their addiction, they choose life. But that decision isn’t all it takes to battle addiction recovery, as a significant percentage of recovering addicts relapse at least once. A relapse occurs when a recovering addict falls into their old habits of drunk or alcohol abuse. It’s important to recognize the signs of a relapse, to help yourself or anyone else suffering from addiction.
Addicts should usually stay away from their old ‘everything’ when they start recovery. It’s important to stay away from the old hangouts, old friends, and old environments that create the very atmosphere you’re trying to avoid.
If a recovering addict is hanging out at all their old places or with all their old friends, there could be a possibility of relapse. It becomes a temptation when you are around the same places and people that once influenced you to be the person you are trying not to be now that you are in recovery. During recovery, addicts are extremely vulnerable. Being around temptations can be too difficult for a recovering addict to ignore.
A recovering addict should accept that old behaviors, friends, etc. were not good for them and should not justify returning to those old behaviors. According to Huffington Post, “wanting to belong, glamorizing and missing the good old days can be a very strong pull toward relapse.”
It’s true that most addicts fresh into recovery may be emotional. It’s an extremely emotional experience, and most addicts are extremely vulnerable once recovery begins. As time goes on though, recovery should become routine and emotions should balance themselves out.
When recovering addicts are thinking of using again or have relapsed, they tend to be extremely irritable. Their nerves tend to be out of whack, either because they are trying not to relapse or because they already have. If you notice anger easily showing itself over seemingly trivial things, or showing up without warning, it could be a major sign of impending relapse.
Lashing out anyone at any time out of anger or irritation is a surefire sign that you’re struggling with your sobriety. In many cases, outward irritation is a subconscious way of asking for help.
Addicts in recovery must have support from their friends and family. In addition to that, it is smart to have interests. Whether it was an interest found before or after you began using, it doesn’t matter. Having an interest in something or a healthy habit can help drive people away from wanting to use again.
Taking classes, working out, joining clubs or groups, and participating in music or art are all great activities that many people in recovery participate in. When they start to lose interest in the things that previously made them happy, it could be a sign that they have relapsed, or that they are thinking about it.
This symptom is commonly known as “withdrawing” and it can include people too. When recovering addicts don’t want to see their family, best friends, or other people they usually enjoy, it is usually because they are “withdrawing” back into their mentally addicted state.
According to CNN, “research shows that ongoing recovery is most successful with long-term connections to community, self-help groups and appropriate medical management.” Very rarely does an addict become completely sober without any help. This help comes in the form of rehab programs, healthcare management, addiction programs, and support groups.
These programs are all designed to help keep addicts on track while they are in recovery, by creating a support system and resource center. Most often when an addict has relapsed or is considering it, they begin withdrawing from their programs and support systems. They may make excuses for not attending meetings or justify their past actions.
Recovering addicts may stop attending meetings because they feel guilty for relapsing or because they may be trying to justify returning to their old behaviors.
Recovery is an arduous process that lasts an entire lifetime. Addicts must be diligent in their recovery process and lean on their support systems. It’s important to recognize the signs of relapse, to help your or your loved ones stay on their path to recovery.