If you expect that going into recovery means you’ll have a perfect record of sobriety, you have a lot more to learn about recovery. The reality is that “relapse happens”, even to people with several years of sobriety and drug rehab under their belt. The circumstance of life change as time goes on, new triggers arise, upsetting events happen out of nowhere, the list goes on. Here’s a breakdown of some common relapse risk factors that can cause you to backtrack on your sobriety.
High Risk Situations With Old Crowd
You know you shouldn’t take your walk down by the bar a few blocks from your house. You also know that calling your old high school friend Julie (current drug user) would be a mistake. You’ve been there before and know exactly what will happen. There is hardly two ways about it for this choice.
Being in the presence of people who are not going to uphold your sobriety and who won’t have a safe environment for you don’t have a place in your. Run into them in the grocery store and say “Hi”? Maybe, but don’t go home with them.
Prolonged States of Negative Emotion
There are some things in life you cannot change or sometimes expect. Death, tragedy, illness, economic problems, all of these can be a part of your life without a lot of warning. The after-effects can also last quite a while. If you find that you are having long stretches of continuous anxiety, depression, or irritability, you may be ripe for a relapse. You may or may not be able to change the circumstances causing your upset feelings, but you can probably get some help dealing with your emotions in a better way.
Thinking You Are Better And Skipping Meetings Or Drug Treatment
Well, you may sometimes do better with your recovery than other times. But you are never really “better”, like you are cured. It’s an ongoing process, not a final destination. You should consider yourself at risk in some way throughout your whole life to best prevent relapse.
Keeping Drug Relapse A Secret
You have already had a relapse moment (or two) and you never told anyone. It might seem like you are keeping your image together, that you just “took care of it”, or it won’t hurt anybody not to know. But think about this – remember the feeling of shame you had when you were realizing you needed alcohol treatment? When you knew that things were completely out of control? Well, you probably just wanted to hide from everyone then, make it all go away.
Drug Treatment Can Help After Relapse
You may have already had a drug or alcohol relapse by now. If you have, what’s done is done. The most important thing is to step back onto the path of recovery with baby steps. Talk to your AA sponsor, your counselor, a trusted family member, someone. Be honest with them and yourself to take the shame out of it. If you cannot maintain your sobriety right now, get started in alcohol or drug treatment.
You may or may not need a lengthy drug rehab stay depending on how severe your relapse was. However, it’s most important to understand what was involved with your relapse, the risk factors. That can help you stay on the recovery path longer next time.