Even though the first few days and weeks of drug and alcohol rehab are very difficult and filled with detoxification and fighting the physical urge to stay on the substance, people at this point of treatment are often motivated to get sober. Sometimes it is the time after treatment is finished that people struggle the most, as they work to avoid relapse.
Relapse is unfortunately a common part of the treatment process. Many people relapse, which causes them either to completely return to their addiction or else become more determined the next time to succeed. Relapse does have some warning signs that the recovering addict and their family should be aware of. A good treatment program will help the addict learn of the feelings they may face that might be cause for concern, and if families know what to watch for, they may be able to step in and help also.
Signs for the Addict to Watch For
A person who has recently made it through a drug or alcohol treatment program may at first feel happy about their recovery, even though they know it will still be a long, hard road. They may be excited about a support group and will attend meetings regularly, as well as keep in touch with a therapist or a doctor from their treatment program. As time goes on, however, the newness wears off, maybe they don’t have family checking in on them as much anymore, and things can begin to slide. Someone recovering from an addiction should be concerned if they start to feel depressed or anxious that they won’t make it without their substance, or overwhelmed by everyday problems. They might also feel self pity and the temptation to hide things from their loved ones and they might stop talking about their thoughts or feelings. A recovering addict may continue to feel the urge to use for months or years after recovery, but when that urge is accompanied by strong negative emotions, they should consider getting help.
Signs for Family to Watch For
On the other side, family members and loved ones should also be on the lookout for warning signs that their loved one might relapse. They might notice a change in their mood or increased depression. Their loved one might become frustrated easily and feel sorry for themselves. In addition, a recovering addict who is relapsing will become more isolated, will not attend support groups as faithfully, and will avoid family and friends. This return of denial that there is a problem is actually a telltale sign that a person is about to go back to their drugs or alcohol.
Getting Through a Relapse
To a person who is working so hard to recover from an addiction, and to their family, relapse can seem like the end of the world. It’s not. A person can get back on the track of recovery, even after relapse. It is important for someone who is relapsing to get help right away. By watching for the warning signs of relapse, a person can more easily get back to their sobriety.