• Scott McClure

Relapse Red Flags: 4 Signs That You Might Need Support

According to the American Addiction Centers, relapse in addiction treatment is very common with a rate of 40 to 60 percent. Another source states that 90 percent of people in recovery experience relapse within their first year.  One of the main causes for relapse in early recovery are due to an individual’s lack of healthy coping techniques when triggered by an outside force or thought.  Triggers can be overwhelming in early recovery which can lead an individual to have a slip or relapse.  Identifying an individual’s triggers and coming up with certain buffers or a “game plan” of action when these triggers occur is vital in relapse prevention.  Just like identifying triggers, being able to identify warning signs or “Relapse Red Flags lowers the chances of a slip or relapse.  And if you’re aware of the warning signs of a drug and alcohol relapse, you can prevent yourself or a loved one from spiraling down that path all together.


Here are some warning signs that someone in early recovery might need support.


1. Negative Emotions


Unhappiness makes your brain crave dopamine, which it knows can be provided by drugs and/or alcohol and can trigger that desire to drink or use.  Constantly feeling negative emotions such as sadness, anger, guilt or shame is common in early recovery and if not addressed or brought to the attention of your loved ones, therapist or sponsor, it will lead to a relapse.  During this phase in your recovery, it is wise to let your sponsor and your recovery community know about your warning signs so that they can be on the lookout as well as you and usually can spot it way sooner than you will notice.


To prevent these emotions from taking you back out, it helps a great deal to have people or a person in your life that you can talk to about them as soon as you begin to notice them.  Trying your best to stay busy and out of your head will lower the frequency and severity of these emotions. You can spend quality time with your friends and family, go outside for a walk, start an exercise program, plan a trip or do other things that made you happy before drugs and alcohol took over your life.


2. Missing Work or School


To prevent destructive behaviour and give proper structure to life, people in recovery develop a daily routine. It’s a pattern of healthy activities with regular commitments. But if you ever notice a desire to avoid daily meetings in yourself or a loved one, know that it’s a red flag for relapse.


3. Isolating from Friends and Loved Ones


Support from your friends and loved ones is a crucial part of your recovery. They’re there to help you, listen to you and comfort you when you need it the most as well as hold you accountable and help you stay on the beam.  If you ever find yourself arguing with your family, lying to your friends, seeking isolation; not wanting to spend time with the ones who hold you accountable; that’s a big warning sign of a relapse.


4. Proximity To Triggers


Along with emotional and mental triggers, there are physical triggers which can cause a slip or relapse. If you find yourself in a place where you used or drank; or in an area where you used to score your drugs; or if you start spending most of your time with your old using buddies; or with others that are early in recovery, like your “littermates”  from your time in treatment, it’s important for you to be aware of these behaviors and reach out to someone, like a Sponsor for example, to help you stop these behaviors and start moving towards healthier actions and behavoirs.


To help you stay ahead of or in front of a lot of these red flags, you might consider living in a healthy, safe, recovery focused and purpose driven environment. At Life Launch, we offer you that exact environment in Houston, where you can allow yourself the time and space you will need in early recovery to build a solid foundation for a healthy, love filled and purpose driven, happy life in recovery.


We’re committed to providing the space and care you need to heal.


Contact us for more details.

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