Going through the recovery process for alcohol or drug addiction is an arduous process on many levels. When an addict finishes his initial treatment program he will begin long-term care. Long-term care is something that an addict does for the rest of his life to stay on the right track and avoid relapse at all costs. Relapse is a dirty word to many people in the world of addiction recovery. It represents a falling back to former destructive thought and behavior patterns that entrap the individual. Every step forward that was gained during recovery is now lost. If the addict is fortunate, he will recover from relapse quickly and get back on track to sobriety. Others are not so lucky and some addicts never get another chance at recovery. That is why it is so important for a recovering addict to know the warning signs that may lead to a relapse.
Knowledge is power, and in the case of warning signs, it is also a deterrent against relapse. One of the most important relapse warning signs is a negative emotional and psychological state. After a recovering addict has finished a rehab program and comes home, he has more time to think and may start to mull over his past. He may begin to dwell on all the bad things that happened in his past and he may begin to feel sad, angry, frustrated, bitter and even hopeless. Feeling resentment about your past is a dangerous thing and Alcoholics Anonymous states that “resentment is the number one offender” in causing recovering addicts to start using alcohol and drugs again.
Negativity is a hard habit to break especially when you have been negative most of your life. But it is not impossible; it just takes some work. When you are negative about everything and everyone you begin to think that life is not worth living anymore. What’s the point in struggling to go forward when everything looks so hopeless. A negative attitude may lead you to give up on yourself and life, and slip back into substance abuse. There is a saying in Christian circles: “don’t let the devil steal your joy” and that is just what negativity does. It puts you in a somber, depressed state of mind where you feel sad and powerless. When a person is positive they are filled with joy and happiness and feel empowered to live life to the fullest. To break the cycle of negative thinking you have to go on a fast from negative thinking. You have to stay vigilant and aware of your thoughts and remarks. When a negative thought rises up in your mind, you cast it to the ground. You give it no opportunity to grow, expound or control your thinking or your life. You have the power to decide what thoughts will govern you and your life, so you must take command and cast down all negative thinking whenever it arises.
Another warning sign for relapse is losing a loved one. Maybe your spouse left you because of your addiction and all the problems it caused. You may also be estranged from your children and other family members. You may go into mourning and grief because of this kind of loss. It is a difficult thing to accept, but maybe as you progress in sobriety you may be able to reconcile with your loved ones. There is always hope for the future. Things may not be the same as they were before but you might get a second chance and maybe things will turn out even better for you. Don’t give up hope. Instead work on staying sober and healthy and rebuilding your life. In time, your loved ones may take notice of the change in you and give you another chance.
Other major relapse warning signs are work-related problems, loneliness, isolation, discontentment, money and health problems, cravings, triggers, etc. All these problems can be solved in a timely manner. A recovering addict should bring all their concerns and worries to their counselor to discuss solutions. Health problems should be addressed by a physician. The addict should also be attending support group meetings consistently. They will be able to socialize with other recovering addicts, share stories and solutions to problems and never have to feel lonely again. Work related problems should be discussed with the boss or supervisor. If a solution is not found, then the addict may want to look for other employment. He may also think about going back to school to learn a trade or earn a degree.
Sobriety is a new beginning for the recovering addict and he should consider what kind of life he is creating for himself. He should establish goals and map out a plan to attain them. Progressing in life will build his self-esteem and make him feel in control of his destiny. Positive thinking will solve problems and carry him through the difficult times. Never give up hope, stay positive and focused and avoid all the warning signs of relapse.
If you or a loved one needs help with abuse and/or treatment, please call the WhiteSands Treatment at (877) 855-3470. Our addiction specialists can assess your recovery needs and help you get the addiction treatment that provides the best chance for your long-term recovery.