Experiencing a relapse – or even multiple relapses – during recovery is pretty common, but it’s not inevitable. In fact, long before the first drink or drug use occurs, there are typically warning signs.
According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), when people who have had a stable recovery and have done well begin to relapse they may experience the following:
- Inability to experience pleasure
- Lack of motivation
- Feeling slowed down or speeded up
- Being uncaring
- Avoiding others or isolating
- Being obsessed with something that doesn’t really matter
- Displaying of irrational thought patterns
- Feeling unconnected to your body
- Increased irritability
- Increased negativity
- Not keeping appointments
- Changes in appetite
It goes without saying, then, that a smart relapse prevention plan should include your individual warning signs as well as your personal triggers. Many addiction experts recommend keeping a running list – and refining it as you progress in your recovery. If this isn’t your first slip, you may even want to go a step further and ask your family, friends, pastor and/or counselor what signs they’ve noticed in you prior to your relapse.
In addition, the SAMHSA recommends taking action with one of these tips to prevent a relapse:
- Reach out to a counselor, pastor or sober friends or family members.
- Remove yourself from the situation and take a walk around the block a few times.
- Distract yourself with a healthy snack or a book or movie.
- Ask your friends and family to stop you if you begin talking about the fun you had while drinking or using.
- Make a list of the good things about your new life: better relationships, more success at work or school, healthier appearance, more hobbies, etc.
- If you have already relapsed at least once, think of how it happened. What can you do differently this time? “Just be strong and say no” is not enough to handle the situations you will face, notes SAMHSA.
Aftercare for Lifetime Sobriety
Built on the same spiritual foundations as the inpatient facilities and detox services we offer, the use of outpatient drug and alcohol, mental health or other services can be used to help you develop relapse prevention strategies and build on the recovery you gained during rehab. To learn more, call today: 877-310-9545.