Denial & Loss of Belief Can be Triggers for Relapse
Denial & Loss of Belief Can be Triggers for Relapse

Denial & Loss of Belief Can be Triggers for Relapse

Keeping Belief Alive in Recovery 1. Become Defensive and Begin the Pattern of Denial
If you are sliding back into your old addictive patterns, you probably don’t see it, and you may take a defensive stance toward others who point it out. An extremely defensive attitude should send a message to you and those close to you that you may be in relapse mode. Recovery involves a willingness to accept feedback and be open to the concerns of loved ones and friends.

Steps to Help:
If you notice that you or your loved one has become defensive, it could be a sign that he or she is using again, or is at risk for a relapse. Keep communication open with a gentle approach.

If you recognize that you are becoming defensive, you may want to call your sponsor, if you have one, or a sober friend, counselor, or relative to discuss your attitude and feelings.

2. Change in Attitude or Behavior, Loss of Belief in Recovery

Sudden behavioral and attitude changes are clear signals that something is wrong. If you are abandoning your recovery efforts and noticing changes in your attitude and/or sudden feelings of depression, resentment, and loneliness, a relapse may be imminent.

Talk to a doctor or therapist to learn about alternative options that may be helpful.

Steps to Help:

Recognize the emotions you are having such as depression, disappointment, sadness, embarrassment, rejection or hurt. Use SMART Recovery and 12 Step Relapse Prevention tools such as “playing the tape through”, “positive self-talk”, “Cost Benefit Analysis” and a “Thought Record” to remind yourself that the escape is just temporary and not worth giving up your sobriety. Your problems and emotions will still be present once the substances wear off.

Relapses often happen because people don’t want to acknowledge their uncomfortable emotions.

3. Break Down of Social Relationships

A network of sober support is a crucial element in maintaining sobriety. A lack of continued focus on maintaining personal connections can mean something is wrong – especially if you find you’re:
• Disagreeing more with friends
• Lying to your loved ones
• Spending less time with family
• Resenting those who are trying to help
• Having a more difficult time accepting help
Steps to Help:
Seek connection with your group of sober friends, go to a meeting or meet up with your sponsor or counselor. Be open with them and explain the issues you’re experiencing. Chances are, they’ve gone through similar problems and can provide you with useful experience, strength and hope.
You can also talk to your therapist if you attend individual therapy and alert that person of your interpersonal concerns. Whatever you do, don’t stifle your fears and feelings. It’s best to discuss them with someone.

4. Loss of Interest in Hobbies and Activities

Positive sober activities can be key in preventing relapse. Loss of interest in the hobbies that you love is a red flag that your focus is in danger of shifting from your recovery to negative feelings, thought patterns and the desire to use.

Steps to Help:

Make a list of the hobbies that you really enjoy. Then plan to do a recreational activity that you once loved. Set a time frame and do the activity, even if it’s hard to get started.
If you do this often, you are likely to find joy in your hobbies once again. Additionally, alert your therapist or sponsor of this sudden change so that you and the therapist/sponsor can collaboratively explore why this may have occurred.

5. Sudden Appearance of Withdrawal Symptoms

When withdrawal symptoms are evident, it is one of the telling signs of relapse because it means that they have begun using again. It’s important to know what the withdrawal symptoms are so that you can notice them happening and offer appropriate assistance.

Steps to Help:

Remember to avoid an angry and confrontational tone, because the person most likely won’t be willing to talk to you if you aren’t compassionate and calm.
Approach the person in a nonjudgmental and empathetic way. Say that you are concerned about them and ask if they’d like to talk about anything.

If your loved one is receptive and admits to using again, you should suggest re-entering a treatment facility and make sure that you will support them every step of the way.

Get help for yourself or your loved one as soon as you see any of these symptoms.

AToN Center is here to help. Call to find out more 888-535-1516.

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