From accepting there is a problem to be addressed to finding a local rehab centre and every subsequent step in the process, there’s absolutely nothing easy or straightforward about beating an alcohol problem. Quite to the contrary in fact, it’s one of the most incredibly difficult experiences any individual is ever likely to go through – precisely why going through it once only is preferable to say the least.
The problem with relapse is the way in which the subject is regarded as taboo by so many individuals who could really do with speaking about it more openly. This includes both recovering alcoholics and their friends and family members alike, as it is usually when the prospect of relapse is ignored that it becomes a more severe threat. Losing sleep about relapse every day of every week is just as counterproductive, but at the same time it is not the kind of thing that should be simply swept under the rug.
This is precisely why recovering alcoholics and their support circles alike should be very much aware of the kinds of signs that can suggest relapse is imminent, or at least more likely. Identifying when and where things are heading in the wrong direction, it becomes immediately more possible to nip potential problems in the bud, keeping things heading in a positive direction.
So with this in mind, here’s a quick overview of six warning signs of impending relapse among recovering alcoholics:
1 – Straying from Programs
First of all, the day a recovering alcoholic decides to skip or in any way alter even the slightest element of their treatment program is the day things embark on a slippery slope. The simple fact of the matter is that every single instruction and requirement provided by way of an alcohol treatment program is there for a reason. And just as soon as you get into the habit of straying from these instructions, you’ll no doubt find yourself continuing as such.
2 – Missing the Past
For almost every alcoholic, there will have been a time prior to their habits spiralling out of control when they both had full control over their activities and enjoyed them. During times of hardship and personal challenge…i.e. recovery…it is common for certain individuals to begin romanticising about at least some of the good times they had which centred around alcohol consumption. When an individual somehow begins to ignore the way in which alcohol destroyed their life and instead seems to become focused on the few good times in their early drinking days, this is a very strong and worrying sign of impending relapse.
3 – Selfish, Moody Behaviour
It is always going to be very difficult to remain positive and upbeat throughout the recovery process, though there’s a big difference between at least trying to be positive and being downright selfish. When recovering alcoholic falls into a pit of self-pity, despair and absolute selfishness, this again could be a sign that relapse is on the cards.
4 – “Just One Won’t Hurt”
These are quite simply the four most dangerous and ill-conceived words that can be spoken or even thought by a recovering alcoholic. The simple fact of the matter in this instance being that the most dangerous and indeed fatal alcohol dependencies imaginable always begin with ‘just one’ drink. Regardless of how much control anyone thinks they may have, it’s technically impossible to know how you will react after a drink and just how many drinks will follow, one after the next.
5 – Rebuilding Toxic Relationships
While there’s much to be said for rebuilding relationships during the alcoholism recovery process, there are certain relationships which for obvious reasons should be walked away from entirely. If for example you are part of a group of friends where each individual had a fixation with alcohol and to some extent contributed to your alcoholism in the first place, these are absolutely not the kinds of individuals you should once again be hanging around with. When a recovering alcoholic begins making efforts to rebuild these kinds of toxic relationships, it could be the start of something highly detrimental.
6 – Defensiveness
Last but not least, one of the most important steps in the recovery process is that of accepting that not only were your actions and behaviours during your alcohol dependency perhaps unacceptable, but also that you and you alone are technically responsible for your developing of an alcohol addiction in the first place. It’s one thing to forgive yourself for past mistakes and to move on – this is an incredibly important and powerful part of the recovery process. However, it’s a different story entirely when a recovering alcoholic begins trying to defend their actions and past behaviours, blaming others and to a large extent trying to justify what they did and who they were. Once again, this can be a sign of impending relapse.