Recovery is an ongoing journey, and relapse sometimes factors into it – but that doesn’t mean that you have to resign yourself to falling back into your own ways. Here are six common warning signs to watch for.
Addiction recovery is a journey – an ongoing process – and the threat of relapse is constant throughout. Fortunately, relapse rarely occurs without warning. By being mindful of these signs, you can set yourself up for success and help to avoid any potential pitfalls along the way to lifelong addiction recovery.
1. You’ve Given Up on Your Support Networks
Recovery networks are indispensable. Recovery is a lifelong endeavour that requires daily practice. Staying clean for the long haul is easier when you’re part of a local recovery fellowship. There are many ups and downs along the road to recovery, and having someone in your corner makes it easier to weather the storms. With some sober time under your belt, you may start to think you don’t need to keep attending meetings week after week, month after month. But if you start skipping meetings or otherwise neglect your recovery maintenance, then relapse is much more likely.
2. You Feel Nostalgic About Using
Despite the raft of negative consequences that come with substance abuse, using can be fun. In fact, most addicts can easily recall a time in their lives when they were able to use their substance of choice with relatively few downsides. If you find yourself repeatedly waxing nostalgic about a time when you used to use, then you may be headed for relapse. If you find yourself in this situation, call your sponsor and up your meetings immediately. Now is a good time to remind yourself of how much you lost due to your behaviour when you were in active addiction, and how much you’ve gained as a result of your sobriety.
3. You’re Trying to do Too Much
People who are prone to addiction usually have a habit of taking things to the extreme. This is part of our all-or-nothing mentality, and it makes us susceptible to going all in with substance use and abuse. It’s this same mentality that enables us to double down on our recovery and do what it takes to get clean. However, burnout is a very real phenomenon, and problems arise when we try to do too much in other aspects of our lives, needlessly complicating our day-to-day existence. If your life is getting unnecessarily complicated – whether you’ve taken on an extra job, picked up a new car payment or started caring for a new pet – it could be that you’re trying to do too much. If burnout sets in, it’s going to be all too easy to return to your old ways. Be mindful of this possibility and never forget to give yourself time to breathe and relax.
4. You Catch Yourself Rationalising Moderate Use
You’ve been clean for a substantial amount of time. You’re obviously having success in your recovery, and you believe that you’ve developed a stronger line of defence against your old ways. With that in mind, you tell yourself that one or two drinks won’t hurt, or that a carefree weekend will be good for you. You may even think you’ve earned it. The problem for those of us in recovery is that we don’t actually have control over our use. Placing ourselves back on that slippery slope almost certainly means that we’ll be back to our old ways in no time. For us, there’s simply no such thing as one or two drinks, or of a one-off using event. Being mindful of this can help to prevent relapse.
5. Old, Using Friends Are Back in Your Life
One of the hardest things about getting sober is the realisation that you have to distance yourself from the friends you used to use with. It’s simply too much of a risk to have these people in your life, as you can’t count on them to support you in your recovery. If you find yourself actively seeking out or spending time with your using friends again, there’s a good chance that you’ve placed yourself on an active countdown to relapse.
6. You’ve Gone Through Some Major Life Changes
Staying in recovery is an act of discipline; a matter of establishing and maintaining a healthy routine. Major life changes can disrupt our routines and put us at risk of going back to our old ways. Maybe you’re dealing with the loss of a loved one, or you’re suffering from unexpected health problems. Even positive changes like a new romantic interest in your life or a promotion at work can be disruptive to those new practices you’ve developed. If there have been some major changes in your life, it’s important to be cognisant of psychological changes they create. Changes in sleep patterns, overconfidence, self-pity and a proclivity to miss appointments or skip work are all warning signs that deserve your attention.
Contact The Cabin Melbourne if You’re Seeing Signs of Relapse in Your Life
Relapse isn’t inevitable, but it is common for those in recovery. Even so, relapse doesn’t signal the end of your recovery. Whether you’re detecting signs of relapse in your life – or even if you’ve already relapsed – your life in recovery can continue. Contact The Cabin Melbourne to make an appointment, and learn how our addiction experts can help you strengthen our resolve to stay clean and sober for good.