Most drug rehab treatment and recovery programs focus on making good changes in a person’s life. They aim to get that person out of their old habits, away from their environment and into a new happy and healthy outlook on life.
However, when a person stops focusing on recovery or begins fantasizing about the days when they were using, this is when relapses may occur.
Sign 1: Romanticizing Past Drug Use
It can be easy to remember only the good times when you were using – the times when you were partying and having fun.
But remember, you got sober for a reason. At some point, drug or alcohol use was no longer fun. In fact, it probably created a lot of harm to your health, personal life, professional life, financial situation and perhaps even saddled you with legal issues.
What to Do:
Make a list of the things that make you happy in your sober life. This will help to foster an appreciation for your drug-free life and remind you why you entered treatment in the first place.
Sign 2: Believing You Can Use Again Without Falling Back Into Addiction
While recovering, you may be compelled to use recreationally. For example, by having “just one drink,” you might think you can prove that you’ve beaten your addiction. Those strong in recovery understand that just one time is bound to become many more times and lead you back to the place you worked so hard to leave behind.
What to Do:
Remember how far you’ve come. Understand that compulsion is a part of the chronic condition you’re suffering from. It is useful to use coping self-talk during this time to remind yourself, “I don’t need to use.”
You can also use a distraction strategy taught in cognitive behavioral therapy, in which you participate in a recreational activity to take your mind off the craving.
Distractions From Cravings:
- Go for a bike ride
- Read a good book
- Watch a movie
- Play a sport
- Hang out with a sober friend
Sign 3: Starting to Reconnect With Old Friends From Your Addiction Days
It’s normal to miss your friends. But putting yourself back into an environment in which you used regularly is too tempting for most people struggling with a substance use disorder. Relapse prevention relies on new healthy environments that promote sobriety.
What to Do:
Identify and avoid tempting and negative environments in which drug use is prominent. If you find yourself wanting to reconnect with old friends, try to schedule social activities with a group of sober friends.
If you’re struggling to find a group of drug and alcohol-free friends, consider attending a 12 step meeting or joining a support group, such as SMART Recovery. These supportive environments are both encouraging and empowering. They are designed to make you feel comfortable sharing your experiences.
Signs of relapse below are indicators that something might be wrong and should propel you to get support for yourself or your loved one right away. 888-535-1516