Signs of Relapse and Steps We Can Take to Prevent It

In order not to relapse, we can prepare a list of relapse signs ahead of time. Call it our relapse prevention list. Keep in our wallet, tape it somewhere in the kitchen. Even if we are fully ensconced in recovery, it’s smart not to let our guard down. Relapse can come out of complacency. We’ve got it all together. If this attitude takes hold, stop and ask if it’s true.

Have we reframed that break we took from the Sunday morning meeting into a necessity? Sure, we need breaks from meetings every now and then. Family obligations call. Our spouse wants to go out for breakfast once in awhile. She or he aren’t asking much. We also need to be cognizant that we are only one drink away from relapse. To prevent relapse, it’s a wise idea to keep up with our meetings.

We can easily put aside thoughts of abstinence when things aren’t going well. The kids are sick with the flu, and a deadline is looming at work. Our stress level gets turned up. We forget seemingly big things going on aren’t really that big at all—at least compared to our sobriety. To prevent a relapse, we ought to pay attention to thoughts of drinking or drugging. We can regroup and go with the flow.

Negativity may accompany the perception our life is seeming to fall apart. We start whining and complaining about every little nuisance. Where we once pitched in with chores, we negate our responsibilities. What a hassle, we say. We’ve done enough around here already! Negativity can be habit forming. It feels good to complain—get things off our chest once in awhile. When negative thinking creeps in, it’s time to get out our insurance policy. It’s time to look at our emotional state. What are we needing? Where are we heading?

What if we’re running an errand, and pass the liquor store or the street where we used to score. We start reminiscing about how good that first swig of bourbon felt after a long day at our job. We remember those cool highs when the world felt like a golden haze. We forgot the haze turned into an addiction and we could never seem to attain the same high as the first time. We forget we woke the next morning with an empty bottle beside the couch, a horrible hangover and the shakes. Quit reminiscing. It’s time to change the channel in your brain.

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