You might have heard this before, or this might be the first time hearing it but, you don’t just accidentally relapse. There’s no falling on a needle full of heroin or accidentally drinking a beer. Many refer to it as a mental relapse or pre-lapse but, this is all part of the relapse process. In fact, there are 11 phases of relapse, with the last phase being when you actually pick up a drink or drug. Here are 11 very subtle signs you’re on the verge of relapse.
1.) Internal change
During this phase you look good on the outside, however, you begin to experience increased, internal stress.
You may or may not notice a change in your thinking: you begin to feel that your recovery program is not as important as it used to be and think that you don’t need to put as much effort in your program because things seem to be OK.
You stop telling your sponsor, sober supports and others what you honestly are feeling or thinking.
You might start worrying about yourself yet deny to yourself that you’re worried. You start feeling uneasy about the changes in your thinking, feelings and behavior. You begin to feel afraid that you won’t be able to remain sober but you don’t want to think or talk about it.
3.) Avoidance and Defensiveness
You avoid anyone or anything that will force you to be honest about your thoughts, feelings, and behaviors.
You tell yourself, “I’ll never use alcohol or drugs again” in an overly confident way. You focus on others, instead, taking their inventory. You are defensive and display compulsive behaviors as well as impulsivity. You also start isolating because you start feeling uncomfortable around others.
4.) Crisis Building
You start having problems in sobriety.
There’s a loss of constructive planning, meaning that you tend to overreact and mismanage every day problems in a way that creates bigger problems for yourself. You experience “tunnel vision” and minor depression.
You begin to feel trapped or can’t get started doing what you know you need to do.
You get stuck in a pattern of daydreaming and wishful thinking while at the same time you feel like nothing can be solved. You have an immature wish to be happy. There’s a vague desire to be happy or have things work out but you don’t set up any plans to make those things happen. You find yourself wishing that something will magically happen to rescue you from your problems.
6.) Confusion and Overreaction
You have trouble thinking clearly.
You’re irritable and have a tendency to overreact. You also have difficulty with managing your feelings and emotions. You find it difficult to remember things, resulting in periods of confusion and irritation, especially with your friends. You are easily angered.
You stop doing the things you usually do.
You think life is not worth living. You display irregular eating habits. Sleep isn’t restful and you no longer have any daily structure. Yet, there’s a lack of desire to take action. You experience periods of deep depression.
8.) Behavior loss of control
You are out of control but not willing to admit it.
You don’t attend as many meetings as you used to or you have stopped altogether. You have an “I don’t care” attitude and openly reject help from others. You feel dissatisfied with life and feel powerless and helpless.
9.) Recognition of loss of Control
You realize how severe your problems are but have become so isolated that you feel there is no one to turn to.
You experience self-pity and a complete loss of self-confidence. You are consciously lying and may even experience difficulty with physical coordination which results in accidents. You are also havng thoughts of using “socially.”
10.) Option reduction
You feel no one can help you and that there are only three options: insanity, suicide or self-medication with alcohol and drugs.
You hold unreasonable resentments, experience overwhelming loneliness, frustration, anger, and tension. You also experience a loss of behavioral control.
11.) Alcohol and drug use
You return to alcohol and drug use and try to control it but, once again you realize your addiction is destroying your life.
You experience disappointment, shame, and guilt which leads to a loss of control with your drug use and thus problematic use ensues.
If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse and addiction, please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135.