About 40 to 60% recovering people and alcoholics relapse within one year of treatment. It is common, but it is not an indicator of failure. If you or a loved one are going through recovery, here’s how you can recognize the warning signs of relapse so you can immediately work to avoid it:
1. Increased stress
Life after rehab can be stressful for recovering people, even in controlled environments such as transitional housing projects in Phoenix, AZ. Feeling stress is normal for everyone, but if it is too intense for a person who is trying to stay sober, it can lead to many negative emotions that may trigger a relapse.
2. Falling back into your old routine
One of the most effective ways of staying sober is to create a new routine that won’t remind you of your old habits. So if you find yourself falling back into your old ways (e.g. hanging out in the same places, yearning for your old coping mechanisms, spending time with other users, etc.), talk to your support group and find ways to snap out of it.
3. Anxiety and depression
Even while you stay sober, your psychological issues may continue to affect your mental health. Anxiety, depression, and all of its symptoms can influence recovering addicts to treat them with alcohol or other prohibited substances. Thus, recognizing the symptoms of anxiety and depression is one of the most crucial steps in avoiding relapse.
If you find yourself doubting that you can stay sober, or having other issues with your self-confidence, express these thoughts to your therapist or support groups so they can help clear them out of your head. Leaving these unhealthy thoughts swirling in your head can eat away at your self-confidence and eventually tempt you to just give in.
5. Changes in routine
Are you starting to sleep later than usual? Not showering as often as you should? Or perhaps not eating at the right times? Falling out of your regular, post-rehab routine may be an early sign of relapse. When this happens, mention it to your therapist so they can help you fall back into your routine.
Distancing yourself from other people or making excuses to opt out of socialization is another early sign of relapse. You may also stop going to your group meetings or start missing appointments with your therapist. If left unchecked, this behavior can lead to complete isolation, which is never a good thing if you’re recovering.
7. Irresponsible behavior
Recklessness can lead to a downward spiral, so you need to take action if you start acting irresponsible, making bad choices, and deliberately doing things that you know will lead you to harm.
8. Feeling overwhelmed
Triggers are often impossible to avoid entirely. While actively avoiding your triggers is a great way to maintain sobriety, it can also become too overwhelming as time passes by.
Relapsing on alcohol or other prohibited substances is common for recovering people, but it is not impossible to prevent it. By knowing the warning signs of an oncoming relapse, you can seek help as soon as possible and stay on the path to sobriety for good.