What many people don't realize is that relapse doesn't always sneak up on you in the shadows and pounce on the unsuspecting. In fact, behavior studies show that the relapse rate goes beyond just the action of relapse. In fact, relapse behavior can predate the actual act of relapse by as little as 90 days.
More often than not, by recognizing these behavioral patterns, you can, in all likelihood, prevent the relapse that is waiting in the wings.
Warning signs often include much of the same behavior that addicts exhibit while in the thralls of their addiction. The signals can be as far-reaching as reconnecting with those who are very much still involved in the lifestyle we just struggled to get out of.
You will know you a headed down the road to relapse when you start to experience one or more of these things;
- romanticizing using
- recovery isn't coming first
- selfish/ moody behavior like from when addicted
- 'just one won't hurt' mentality
- seeking out old friends (who are still using)
- removing sobriety anchors
- defensive when someone mentions changed behavior
As recovering addicts, the best thing we can possibly do for ourselves is to learn to recognize these speedbumps in our recovery journey and begin to deal with them as soon as possible.
Think about any type of illness you have had; the flu for instance. You have been sick enough times to know when these symptoms begin to arise. Often, you will hear people say, 'i hope I'm not coming down with something'. Which is really a brief way of saying, 'I recognize these symptoms to be that of a certain illness, and I, therefore, need to do A, B, and C in order to minimize or entirely avoid sickness.'
The goal is to recognize these same symptoms and triggers in your relapse. Chances are, you will know before anyone else that you are starting to slip.
- your mindset shifts
- your behavior reverts in some ways
- you find yourself romanticizing thoughts of using.
Much like your body knows when it's sick, you will know you are beginning to struggle on some aspect.
Your intuition isn't steering you wrong, it's trying to tell you something, and it's time to listen.
The more honest you are about these flags when they pop up, the higher your chance of staying sober and beating the relapse rate.
Pay attention to your actions and your moods.
If you have to, have a pre-emptive intervention. Have your loved ones gather with you and keep you grounded in why you are doing this and how horrible it truly was to be completely addicted and unable to stop.
Recognizing relapse behavior can save your recovery from an almost assured, and abrupt downfall.