A man stands and thinks about his kids

Nothing is scarier to the sober addict/alcoholic and their loved ones than a relapse. The struggle just to get a single day sober, let alone an extended period of time is often one of the most difficult things any addict will ever have to do in their lives.

This hard work and determination, however, is all lost once a relapse occurs and we are back to ground zero.

The good news is a relapse is not something that just occurs randomly, such as being struck by lightning. A relapse is the end result of a slow, long fall back into old behaviors that eventually results in the use of drugs or alcohol again. Thus, by identifying the early signs of an oncoming relapse, it can often be prevented.

Here is a list of the most common warning signs that you or a loved one may be on the path to a relapse.

Slipping away from the program

Not surprisingly, an addict/alcoholic that begins slipping away from the recovery program of A man is considering taking a drink from a closet of alcoholtheir choosing is often a major sign they are at risk of a relapse.

Recovery is what keeps the pain of active addiction fresh in our minds and the cravings away. There is no better defense for a relapse than a healthy regiment of a recovery program of our choosing.

Complacency in Recovery

The ultimate goal of achieving long-term sobriety is to better our lives by freeing ourselves from drugs and alcohol, which have held us back over the years.

Thus, complacency in life is often a dangerous sign for someone in recovery. Achieving long-term sobriety and rebuilding our lives is an uphill battle for sure, and any sign of complacency is often negative and should be taken seriously.

Return of denial

One of the most difficult characteristics of addiction and alcoholism is the denial that a problem exists, despite the overwhelming evidence that one does.

Unfortunately, this denial can sometimes return once an addict/alcoholic has put together a period of sobriety. This often occurs as the pain of addiction is slowly forgotten, while the memories of the good times still persist.

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Glorifying drug or alcohol use

The return of glorifying or romanticizing drug and alcohol use is often a sign of relapse behavior.

The obsession to use drugs and alcohol is one of the most difficult components of addiction to deal with, and the return of glorifying behavior often means this obsession is returning.


While spending time alone in moderation is never a bad thing, extended periods of isolation is never a good sign for an addict or alcoholic in recovery, no matter what stage of their sobriety they are in. This is often a sign that old thoughts or behaviors are beginning to return that may lead to a relapse.

People, Places, and Things

The saying “people, places, and things” references the people, places, and things from our past addiction that should be avoided in sobriety. Examples include people that we only ever used with or places such as the bars in which we most often drank at.

Hanging out with old friends from past using days or in dangerous areas is a very risky behavior for someone in recovery and a potential relapse sign.

Final Note

This article is intended for those considering a new way of life, free of the pain of drug and alcohol addiction. For more information on recovery and anyone seeking help with addiction and substance abuse problems, please call True Recovery at (844) 744-8783 or visit us online.