Relapse can happen to anybody. It doesn't matter how long they've been in recovery or how dedicated to their sobriety they might be. If it happens to you, it doesn't mean that treatment has failed. You don't have any reason to be ashamed or embarrassed; the key is being able to recognize the signs of relapse.
At Pathways Recovery Center, we recognize that relapse does not mean a person has failed. It just means that you have to get up, dust yourself off, and recommit to your recovery journey. This is something that we help our clients do successfully each and every day. It is always possible to still enjoy lasting recovery.
Relapse can very easily sneak up on you without you even realizing it. Relapse actually occurs in three different stages. In order, they are emotional relapse, mental relapse, and physical relapse. You want to recognize the signs of relapse before reaching physical relapse. When you are able to recognize the signs, you can seek help before a relapse further progresses.
It is when you are in the emotional stage that the signs of relapse will most commonly go unnoticed. This is because, during this stage, you are not actually considering turning back to substance misuse. However, there may be certain negative experiences from your past that are starting to creep up again. This could include anger, anxiety, or even unmanaged stress.
You may have convinced yourself that you may be able to handle your recovery on your own. Maybe you think you don't need to attend 12-Step support group meetings or therapy sessions any longer.
Perhaps you have also abandoned certain routines. Maybe you are no longer keeping up with healthy life changes that you adopted as part of your recovery. Maybe you're not making time for proper self-care or fun sober activities. This is a slippery slope that can progress very quickly if you're not careful.
When you reach the stage of mental relapse, you are actively thinking about substance use. This could involve dwelling on different memories you have from when you were still engaging in active use. Perhaps you are hanging around the people you used to party with or even going to places like bars where you know temptations are likely to occur.
When a lot of people reach this stage of relapse, they convince themselves that they are able to engage in substance use while still being in control of themselves. They tell themselves that nobody will know if they turn back to substance misuse or that this time everything will be different. Maybe they will even make excuses for their past behavior in an effort to convince themselves that they don't actually have a problem with drugs or alcohol.
Eventually, when you reach this stage, it is common to actually make a concrete plan for how you're going to obtain drugs or alcohol. This may also include a plan for how you're going to hide it from those around you.
Even at this point, it is not too late to avoid physical relapse. It is important to seek out professional help right away and make necessary adjustments to your treatment plan.
It is when you enter the physical stage of relapse that you officially take steps to break your sobriety by turning back to drug or alcohol use. Even before actually taking drugs or drinking alcohol, you can do things that would qualify for physical relapse. This involves any active steps you take to actually obtain a certain substance. For example, it could involve calling your old dealer or even just making the drive to the liquor store.
Many people think that after they've been in recovery for a long period of time, that relapse is not something they have to think about anymore. But the reality is that being able to recognize the signs of relapse is important no matter where you may be in your recovery journey. When you remain conscious of and are able to recognize the signs of relapse, you can get help before these signs can progress any further.
At Pathways Recovery Center, we help to ensure our clients are as prepared as possible for a sober life. This is why we help to educate them regarding the signs of relapse should they ever experience them.
If you are experiencing signs of relapse, reach out to your treatment provider right away. They can help you get back on track and can modify your treatment plan to better fit your current overall needs. Avoiding relapse is possible, and you can get back on track.
A lot of people falsely believe that if someone relapses, it means that they haven't put in the work to maintain their sobriety. This couldn't be more false. Relapse can happen to anyone, and it can come out of nowhere. If it happens to you, don't feel discouraged. It doesn't mean that you've done anything wrong. Simply reach out for help and recommit to your recovery journey. At Pathways Recovery Center, we have helped many people achieve and maintain sobriety. To learn more about the types of treatment we offer, give us a call at (888) 771-0966 today. We will be happy to answer any questions that you may have.