Relapse is defined as returning to a specific behavior (active alcoholism, addiction) after a period of abstinence (stopping), that particular behavior.
- Relapse does not come on suddenly and without warning, it is a process over time.
- Staying clean/sober is not recovery, working a program is.
- Relapse cannot be avoided by shear willpower of self-discipline.
Self-Test For Relapse Warning Signals
Here is a simple list of relapse symptoms. Perhaps you might like to print this out and check each one off when your life is not going like you feel it should.
- Lack of personal confidence to remain clean/sober or abstinent.
- Convincing yourself that you will never ever drink or use again.
- You start imposing recovery on other people.
- You become defensive when talking about your problem is recovery.
- Compulsive behavior appears, you adopt a non-structured lifestyle.
- You start over-reacting, impulsive behavior begins to appear.
- You experience periods of loneliness.
- You begin to focus on one certain area in your life and you become unwilling to defocus, (tunnel vision)
- Periods of minor depressions.
- Loss of constructive planning, attention to details lessens, wishful thinking begins.
- Plans begin to fail.
- Daydreaming and the “if only” syndrome enter your daily routine.
- Feeling that nothing can be solved.
- Immature wish to be happy, while not knowing what happiness is.
- Periods of confusion.
- Irritation with friends and family
- Easily angered
- Irregular eating habits.
- Inability to concentrate, full of anxiety, feeling of being trapped.
- Progressive loss of daily structure.
- Periods of deep depression.
- Irregular attendance at recovery meetings.
- Developing an “I don’t care” attitude.
- Open rejection of help.
- Becoming dissatisfied with life.
- Feelings of powerlessness and helplessness.
- Self pity.
- Thoughts of social drinking/ using.
- Conscious lying.
- Complete loss of self-confidence.
- Unreasonable resentments.
- Discontinuing attendance at Recovery Meetings, (“I don’t need them.”)
- Overwhelming loneliness, frustration, anger and tension.
- Start controlled drinking and using.
- Loss of Control
You Have Now Relapsed
Relapse is a complicated problem. It is something that has numerous warning signs and many plans of attack, but without help and a serious commitment on your part, it will win and you will lose.
Avoiding fun, overanalyzing yourself, blaming other people, too much or too little sleep, making a major life change in the first year, are all signs that you are entering an area that may take you somewhere you don’t want to go.
Relapse Danger Words
- I forgot
- I’ll try
- This is BS
- I don’t know
- More or less
- I can’t
- As I can
- Who cares
- I guess
- I don’t see how
- It’s too hard
- You’re picking on me
Relapse can be avoided. You will have to be honest, open and willing to deal directly with each symptom as it appears. Without help, it is too much for us. Recovery is a process that gives us the choice of life or death.
Addiction leaves us no choice but death…