Unfortunately, it is a sad fact of life that not everyone will achieve recovery the first time they try. However, in some cases an alcohol addiction relapse can be helpful in proving to the person that their addiction is bigger than them and will always win if given the opportunity. Speaking to people who have just experienced an addiction relapse, I often find that they become more determined to get well and are more accepting of the nature of addiction. That being said, it would be great if everyone could get to that point the first time they attempt recovery, and so below are a few indicators that may suggest a relapse is looming if further action is not taken (and by further action I mean meeting with a sponsor, attending a meeting, returning to rehab or aftercare sessions etc.)
1) Complacency – when you feel that perhaps you are putting off going to a meeting, working the steps, calling your sponsor or any of the other techniques you usually employ.
2) Isolation – without the support of other people it can be very easy to become negative.
3) Dishonesty – making excuses for things that are happening; telling your sponsor you have to work or you are sick.
4) Depression – nothing is more likely to make us turn to alcohol than depression and a feeling of hopelessness.
5) Argumentativeness – becoming confrontational with people about small things can be an indicator that there is something else going on that needs to be addressed.
6) Self-pity – poor me, poor me, pour me a drink.
7) Cockiness – having been sober for a period of time it is easy to think that everything is under control and less effort needs to be put into recovery.
8) Expecting too much from others – it is your responsibility to stay sober, telling a loved one that you will drink unless they behave in a certain way is shirking that responsibility.
9) Easing up on daily disciplines – working the steps, attending meetings, whatever it is that has kept you on the path to recovery up until this point.
10) Forgetting gratitude – Having come so far it is important to remain aware of where you have come from; life has not always been so manageable and can become unmanageable again.
11) Omnipotence – I know so much about addiction now that I could never go back to where I was before; I have beaten alcoholism.
12) Obsessive and compulsive thinking – this doesn’t necessarily have to apply to alcohol, compulsion towards other activities such as computer games, texting, shopping or eating could indicate that the tendency towards addictive behaviour is progressing.
13) Boredom – an active mind is a healthy mind. Boredom can result in losing interest in remaining sober.
14) Maintaining resentments – being caught up on someone hurting you is only going to result in continuing to hurt yourself. You can never move forward all the time you’re stuck in the past.
15) Past people, places and things – Putting yourself back into situations where you used to drink as a way of testing yourself, or proving to others that you are still the same person.
16) Keeping alcohol in the house – either as a way of testing yourself or in case guests may want an alcoholic drink.
17) Anger – turning to alcohol as a way to lash out at someone you are angry with.
18) Shame – I am worthless and will never amount to anything.
Recognising the presence of any of these signs is good. Being aware of them means you can put strategies in place to ensure they don’t result in adiction relapse. For further advice on preventing alcohol relapse, call us now.