While relapse is something that recovering addicts and alcoholics need to be alert to for the rest of their lives, it can often occur without warning. Some people may be faced with situations that trigger a relapse and they might find themselves suddenly back in the grips of the substance to which they were once addicted.
However, for others, there may be subtle warning signs that a relapse is imminent. It is wise to be alert to the red flags as this could put you in a better position when it comes to resisting a slip-up.
If you suddenly find that you seem to be going to extraordinary lengths to explain your behaviour to your loved ones, then you could be verging on the brink of a relapse. You could be trying to rationalise why you have been late home from work or why you have not been attending your fellowship meetings.
You may find that you are beginning to find excuses for avoiding commitments at home or work. If you are putting off tasks or are acting in a way that does not have your best interests at heart, then you could be about to slip up.
If you are experiencing panic attacks, it is a sign that things are not quite right in your life. You may be experiencing feelings of dread or thinking about things such as suicide, promiscuous sex, or gambling. These are all indications that you need help and should get in touch with your sponsor or counsellor immediately.
Avoiding Your Sponsor
If you regularly checked in with your sponsor and attended regular fellowship meetings but have just realised that it has been weeks since you did either, you could be heading for a relapse.
You may have put certain rules in place in the early days of recovery, such as avoiding certain places or people. You may also have had a rule that you would stay involved in recovery activities. However, if you find yourself breaking these rules, you could be getting complacent. You may start contacting your old drinking or drug taking friends or finding yourself stopping by your old haunts.
Romanticising Your Past
You could find that you are thinking about the times when you used to drink or take drugs, which is making you wonder if you actually ever did have an addiction. You find yourself thinking if maybe it was something else that was causing the problems in your life and you decide that maybe it is alright to start experimenting by having one drink, or trying just one hit of your drug of choice. Or you decide that because you had a problem with drugs, it will be okay to have alcohol or vice versa.
You keep certain prescription medication in the house just in case you might need it one day, or you do not delete your old dealers phone number from your phone because you tell yourself it will serve as a reminder of your past; you rationalise that this is important to your sobriety.
You are Not Progressing
You find that your recovery seems to be at a standstill and you are not progressing as you did in the past few months. If you find that you are following your programme of recovery but you do not feel any better, then you should get in touch with your sponsor or counsellor.
If any of the above describes you or your behaviour recently, you could be in danger of relapse and so need to take this very seriously. By denying the problem or ignoring it, you could find yourself back where you started.