Maintaining recovery is harder than most people think. It takes a lot of willpower as well as support from professionals and loved ones to stick with the recovery process. For many, there is ample support from family and friends. Alongside they make valuable relations with fellow former addicts in rehab that keep them motivated to remain in recovery for the rest of their lives. Aftercare by rehab also plays a key role in relapse prevention.
However, life does not always go as planned. There can be many circumstances where a person may relapse into addiction despite his best efforts and support. In such cases, it is important to quickly identify the signs of a relapse and get help. Otherwise, they risk going down the same spiral of addiction as before.
So, let us tell you the most important relapse signs to look out for if you think your loved one has relapsed or is on the brink of it.
1. Unwillingness to Stay Constructively Busy
One of the most common reasons why former addicts relapse is because they cannot find things to keep themselves engaged. There is an old English idiom about this – the devil finds work for idle hands, and this one really applies here.
So, the first thing a person could do after getting rehabilitation treatment of any length is to get busy. This can be in many ways. They can resume the career they had before their addiction started, or they can take on an entirely new career path. The overall aim is to stay busy. If your loved one has nothing to do, be wary of their behavior. They are very prone to a relapse.
2. Breaking Away from their Support Group
You might very well be the pillar of support that your loved one needs. But there are some things that only former addicts can give to a fellow mate. That is why regular attendance in support groups is vital for remaining sober. If you are a former addict yourself, then remember to share your experience with your peers. They will understand what you are going through and will help you stay on the straight and narrow.
However, if you find yourself or any of your beloved not being as regular with their group attendance as usual, then you should find out why. It could simply be that they are busy with a job or some other activity. However, for the sake of prudence, you should make sure they have not relapsed into addiction.
3. Acting Indifferent Towards Others
One of the several things that addiction does is that it reduces our emotional sensitivity. This is both physical and psychological. It takes time to recover the emotional depth we lost to our addiction and it takes consistent effort to maintain it. That is why most former addicts create a support structure for themselves.
However, sometimes nothing really works and the person finds themselves facing the abyss of addiction. A telltale sign of this is that they are emotionally detached from others and dwelling on their own thoughts. They might even be romanticizing their days spent in addiction. If you find yourself or someone doing any of this, make sure to reach out to your counselor or closest people at the earliest.
4. Becoming Unnaturally Defensive
Just like when the addiction is first spotted, the person will defend his current backsliding if he has relapsed. You need to be wary of such behavior and remember that recovery is a process. If you find the former addict stagnating at any point, it is time to seek out the opinion and wisdom of others who have gone through the same experience.
If you feel that someone is about to relapse or already has then you need to talk to them. However, do not be over assertive or overbearing. You need to find out the facts of the matter and the only way to do that is to remain open-minded. If they have relapsed, you might expect some excessive opposition. It is your job then to break down the walls they are creating and reach out to them before it is too late.
5. Not Maintaining a Good Routine
Above all, it is the routine that former addicts need to create and follow, which keeps them from relapsing. So, they need to maintain a well-defined but flexible routine that serves professional commitment, social obligations, and personal fulfillment. Any break from the routine can be a sign of an impending relapse. Be wary.
If you find a loved one falling out of routine, it might be time to ask them. It could always be form creating a new routine. But it is better to be safe than sorry.
Addiction can be contained, controlled and even defeated completely. All it takes is diligence and determination. Support from the family and friends can be an added advantage. Work on these five signs to prevent a relapse and ensure a happy addiction-free life for yourself and the people you love.
Written by: Don