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Relapse Red Flags

Telling The Truth…Later

There’s a difference between keeping secrets and lying. People who are on the verge of relapse tend to dance right in the middle of these two versions. Though they don’t keep the lie long term, they keep a lie short term. After something has happened of which they have been lying about, they tell you later on, so that they can at least be honest. Honesty is a key to sobriety and their admittance of their lie is important. However, if this happens increasingly it’s a sign that you just don’t know when they’re lying and when they’re not. The next truth might be that they relapsed and didn’t tell you.

Suddenly Busy

You’re used to hearing from the regularly. When you’re around them they’re always on their phone and answering it immediately. Suddenly they’re just not available. Routine texts and phone calls go without answer and they’re letting you know they aren’t available to talk. While they might be using at the moment, they could be contacting connects. Worse, they might be struggling with cravings so intense they don’t want to talk about them anymore, which is always a sign relapse is around the corner.

Not Taking Accountability

You’re noticing a change in their attitude and behavior which is offensive to you and to other people. Confronting them only leads to arguments, defensiveness and a reversal of blame. Everything they learned about looking for their part and taking responsibility seems to be slipping away. Relapse is an ultimate way of not having to take accountability for one’s thoughts, actions, attitudes, and behaviors.

Slacking In Their Program

Typical treatment programs are usually followed by aftercare which is a one to three time a week meeting where treatment alumni can process and check in about what they are going through. Most have opportunities to continue meeting with therapists, continue attending meetings, and keep up with their routine of recovery. Changes in those areas can snowball quickly into a relapse when they don’t get the support they need or continue to stay accountable with their peers.

Acting Out

Relapse doesn’t always mean drinking and using. Compulsive sexual behavior, self-harm, starvation, binging, breaking rules, and more are small rebellions which can lead to a relapse. Acting out usually occurs when someone is getting uncomfortable, likely because of the changes and growth they are experiencing.

Fantasizing About Using

The brain can handle only so much euphoric recall about drugs and alcohol until it starts to experience cravings. If they are suddenly talking about drinking and using without remembering how bad it got in the end, they are stuck in a cycle of euphoric recall which can trigger obsession and craving.

Criticizing Recovery

As if to justify their reasons for relapsing, they suddenly turn sour towards recovery. All sign of gratitude and appreciation for their new sober life is gone as they criticize sobriety, sober people, and their program of treatment. Sadly, they’re going out of their way to convince themselves that drinking and using is a better option, even if they don’t believe that to be true.

Convincingly “Fine”:

Sometimes the most obvious sign of an impending relapse is the least obvious sign- they’re doing really well. If they are going through a hard time, have been through recent trauma, or are processing something challenging in therapy they might compensate for their difficult feelings by being “fine”. Perfectionism is a defense mechanism. Problematically, it is easy to be convinced that one is so “fine” that it would be “fine” if they took a drink or used drugs.

Enlightened Solutions focuses on relapse prevention by helping clients create a new way of living which supports a healthy, happy, holistic lifestyle. For information on our partial care programs of treatment for men and women, call 833-801-5483.

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