Once we have put together a span of continuous sobriety, the fear of a relapse into using once again is often quite overwhelming. The reality is that it only takes a single drink or drug to undo all the hard work we have accomplished to achieve sobriety.
The good news, however, is that once we have built a strong recovery program: relapsing does not happen with the blink of an eye. Rather, a relapse begins long before the first drink or drug is taken.
This leaves plenty of time for the road to relapse to be spotted and corrected long before the actual relapse happens.
Here we take a look at some of the signs you or a loved one may be on the way to a relapse.
Withdrawing from recovery
While this usually means scaling back the amount of recovery related events in our day-to-day lives when compared to early sobriety, it does not mean drastically scaling back our recovery program.
This is often times an early warning sign that we may be heading in the wrong direction.
An often said quote in the recovery: don’t let the gifts of recovery take you away from it.
While a life in recovery means we do not walk on eggshells in order to stay sober, it still requires us to use good judgment when it comes to risky behavior.
For example, occasionally going to the casino to gamble with friends is not necessarily a bad thing, but routinely doing this is certainly a risky behavior for someone in recovery.
While these risky behaviors may not readily seem similar to our past drug use, they may trigger the same parts of our brain drugs and alcohol did and thus can contribute to the path to a relapse.
Change in mood/mood swings
Sobriety typically has the power to “even us out”. In other words, we stop experiencing the extreme highs and extreme lows that plagued us during our addiction. As we begin to drift away from recovery, we are often times astonished at how these mood swings come back- before we have even taken a drink or a drug.
The return of these changes in mood and frequent mood swings are often times a sign that there is something lacking in our program.
The return of old ideas and behaviors
Once we achieve sobriety, we often times realize that the drugs and alcohol were just a symptom of our problem. Recovery sets about changing our old ideas, perceptions, and behaviors to more healthy ones.
If we start to drift away from the program, we find that these feelings, resentments, and perceptions can once again return. This typically will bring back old behaviors such as lying, cheating, and self-seeking.
This is usually a great indicator that we are heading down the wrong path.
Return of cravings
Surprisingly, the return of craving is usually one of the last signs a relapse is dangerously close to occurring. While occasional bouts of craving are usually nothing to worry about, the return of frequent craving despite having continuous sobriety is often a danger sign.
The return of craving is usually brought on by the culmination of the previous signs we mentioned. By this point in the road to relapse, the only difference between our lives in our addiction and our current lives is the absence of drugs. At this point, a drastic recommitment to recovery is essential.
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.