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If it happens, it is not something to be ashamed of because the statistic shows that 80% of addicts will relapse in their first year of recovery. The truth is, the key to staying in recovery and out of relapse is to be able to recognize the signs of relapse.
Relapse is an unfortunate but real possibility of anyone who enters recovery.

Relapsing Emotionally

Relapsing emotionally includes any feelings that bring about the beginnings of a relapse. Signs of that someone is relapsing emotionally include unnecessary anxiety, defensiveness, anger and unusual mood swings. Isolation can also be signs of an emotional relapse which can include no longer being active in a recovery program such as 12 step meetings, resisting invitations to go out with family and friends, and finally not seeking help once the emotional relapse is recognized. The good news is, this beginning stage of relapse is the one the recovering addict is most likely to notice right away, thus making it the easiest to come back from at any point.

Thinking and Planning the Relapse

Thinking about relapsing can perhaps be the most uncomfortable because the addict is constantly thinking about using more as it progresses. What starts as just daydreaming about using days, making them sound better than they actually were (often called “glamorizing”) will quickly turn in to literally picking a day and time to do it. This also includes spending time with old using friends and going to old places where they used. Because the addict is now planning the relapse, it is harder to come back from as it becomes closer to reality.

The Relapse

The relapse is when the alcoholic is actually at the store purchasing the alcohol, brings it home and drinks it. It is not impossible to come back from this, but it does take being honest with others about the relapse and not living in denial.

It is possible to avoid going into relapse mode. Maintaining attendance at 12 step groups, taking care of oneself, and keeping in mind the importance of abstinence will all help to avoid feeling, thinking, and acting out a relapse. The most important thing to do if any of these signs are recognized to tell someone whether it be a recovery group, a sponsor, or a therapist. Breaking the silence of the desire to use will help to stop it.


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