Most people go into a drug treatment program with the best of intentions. By the time you come out of treatment, you are probably sober and ready to start your brand new life. Unfortunately, the reality is that many people will still struggle with a relapse.
The good news is that most of these relapses have warning signs that precede them. If you are aware of these signs, you can be more proactive. You may even be able to prevent a relapse by doing the things that helped you get sober in the first place.
Here are signs to be aware of that indicate you need to take action to prevent a relapse.
You Aren’t Making the Same Effort to Stay Clean
The thing to watch for here is that you have stopped doing what you need to do in order to stay clean. This usually means attending therapy, AA meetings or regular meetings with your sponsor. If you start to get more lax about attending these types of activities, it could be a bad sign.
You Romanticize Your Drug Days
During rehab, chances are that you focused on all the negative aspects of your drug abuse.
However, the farther away you get from the rehab, it becomes much easier to romanticize your drug using days and only remember the positive aspects. You conveniently forget how using and abusing drugs ruined your relationship with friends and family, wrecked your finances and cost you your job.
If you find yourself thinking about “the good old days” as a positive experience, it’s a huge warning sign.
You Revert to Your Old Moods
Another big sign that you’re headed for trouble is that you start to act like you did while you were using. Namely, you begin to be more moody and selfish. If you find yourself becoming easily frustrated, you get annoyed when things don’t go your way or you take it personally if someone you smile at doesn’t smile back, you need to be aware of where you’re heading.
You Begin to Think You Can Use in Moderation
This shows up in thoughts saying you can have just one drink or one pill. This kind of thinking is also a huge red flag.
If you had the ability to stop at one, you wouldn’t have allowed your behavior to escalate before. Thinking you suddenly have the ability to stop at one is a clear sign that your subconscious is beginning to slip toward a relapse.
You Look For Your Old Drug Friends
When you start thinking about looking up your old drug friends, you will probably think you’re just interested to find out how they have been since you’ve seen them last.
However, the reality is that this kind of thinking is almost always a way for you to start slipping back into your old world and it should be taken as a warning sign.
You Begin Releasing the Things in Your Life That Keep You Anchored
When you got out of rehab, you should have begun new activities that help you with your new, positive, sober lifestyle. This may be spending more time with friends who don’t use drugs, exercising or even keeping a journal.
Whatever is was that helped you, if you find yourself stopping those activities, it’s a warning sign you that you need to get back on track.
You Begin Getting Defensive
When you used to have a problem with drugs and were approached about it, you got defensive, right? That is what happens whether you are new to the drug abuse game or you are an old hand who has been sober for years.
You may or may not recognize that you are sliding back into your old habits, but chances are pretty good that your family and friends will. If they approach you about it and your instant reaction is to become defensive, it’s a strong sign that they have reason to be concerned.
You will be tempted many times during your recovery and throughout your sober life. The key is to recognize when you are getting too close to giving in to those temptations.
When most people who relapse look back, they find that there were pretty clear signals that they were creeping back toward their old lifestyle, they just didn’t recognize it in time.
Paying attention to the warning signs we just talked about will keep you ahead of the game. If you notice these signs, get help.