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10 Warning Signs to Relapse

Alcohol and drug addiction recovery for some is strife with relapse. In fact, most recovery addicts tend to at least relapse, or ‘slip’ as some say, at least once before finding their own path to sustained and successful sobriety. Relapse is tricky, not so forth coming and obvious that you can recognize it as you’re in the middle of it. What does that mean? Well, it means that relapse starts long before you pick up that first drink or drug. Generally speaking there are 10 signs you’re headed for relapse, and it’s important you keep track and become aware of each of these signs of relapse. As a side note: Not everyone will experience each of these before relapsing. Every addict is different.

Change in Attitude toward your Recovery Program. Your program isn’t as important as it once was. You might even fall prey to ‘stinking thinking,’ which is the direct result of not working your program as you did before. You might feel something is off but just not sure what it is.

Stress in your life has become Elevated. Have there been major changes in circumstances? How about a lot of little things building? Situations like this can lead to mood swings – strong negative and positive emotions.

Denial is Reactivated. This type of denial is not about denying you have an alcohol or drug problem, it’s about denying you are experiencing stress. You typically spend time telling yourself and others that everything is okay, but it’s really not. You convince yourself that you’re not scared, worried, sad, or angry and that you might be experiencing some of those emotions you are now working through them and all will be okay in the long run.

The Return to P.A.W.S. When most addicts set down alcohol and drugs they experience Postacute Withdrawal Symptoms (PAWS) for quite a while. Feelings such as anxiety, depression, sleeplessness and memory loss are common at that time, but they are also common during times of great stress, especially when the recovering addict is in denial about it.

Change in Behavior. The beginning of using poor judgment is active once again. A recovering addict will now tend to create problems by acting impulsively and not thinking situations through. Avoidance of situations or even responding defensively when honesty is what’s being called for is also increasingly common now.

Isolation and Social Collapse. Not sure what to do, the recovering addict will them begin to make excuses to keep from being in social situations. They might be uncomfortable and withdraw from all friends and family, and even steer clear of meetings and other forms of support.

Life Structure Collapse. Pinpointing on small parts of life and dismissing other aspects become common. The day to day activities such as; personal hygiene, skipping meals, eating unhealthy foods, fall to the wayside. The recovering addict at this point will stop making constructive plans and/or when plans that are made don’t work out there is an overreaction.

Lack of Judgment. Making healthy choices and decisions begin to become extremely difficult, and often times healthy choices become unhealthy ones. Managing emotions and feelings are challenging as is thinking clearly, concisely, becoming annoyed, easily angered, and overwhelmed are also typical in this later stage.

Loss of Hope and Options. In this last sign of Relapse a recovering addict will now feel options are limited, and if he or she doesn’t feel that they are will suddenly make them appear that way. It’s now typical to cut people off who can help, lose confidence in the ability to manage life as it is. Loneliness, frustration, helplessness, anger, resentment, tension, and desperation are in the forefront and the might only seem to be three ways out; insanity, suicide, or medication through alcohol and drugs.

Relapse. The use of alcohol and drugs in the hope you can control it but also to make the feelings go away.

Relapse is preventable by knowing these 10 Warning Signs to Relapse. By knowing them, you can tend to make healthier choices and alternative actions. But remember, relapse is NOT the end of everything. Jump back on the plan to recovery as soon as you can.

Recovery Rob BIO

Recovery Rob is a 48-year-old man who has more than twenty years of sobriety, whose drugs of choice at one time were alcohol and drugs, and he has worked in and around the field of addiction for more than 20 years. Having just recently launched his own website,, he hopes to reach out and continue to help others who work through their process of addiction and recovery. Recovery Rob is a professional writer who has published two novels and is currently working on his third. He has been writing and working as Pat Moore Foundation’s premiere blogger and content writer, which helps keeps Pat Moore Foundation’s addiction and recovery blog top-rated.