Early Warning Signs of a Relapse


Relapse is one of the biggest fears for someone in recovery. Through all of the trials and tribulations that we encounter on our path to sobriety, many of us have a good idea of just how bad it can get if a relapse were to occur. The fact that addiction is a progressive disease means that it will always get worse, and for some of us, that can start to look very bad very quickly. Even though it got very bad for some of us in our addiction, relapse is always a possibility, as it is the nature of addiction to use every avenue at its disposal to make us use again. There are several things to look out for when trying to detect an impending relapse.

It is common for people who are about to relapse to start distancing themselves from the people around them, and the people that love them. They start missing engagements, dodging phone calls, and just not showing up in general. A lack of communication is a big warning sign of a possible impending relapse, as those who are working a strong program maintain the relationships that they have rebuilt over the course of their sobriety. If you find yourself noticing that you are becoming less and less communicative with the people in your life, it may be time to take a look at where your program is, and consider that you might be headed for a relapse. Dishonesty is a big one. When we start becoming dishonest again; something that we have tried so hard to rid ourselves of in sobriety, it is a big indicator that something is seriously wrong with our program. Lying and stealing are the common and obvious ones, but there are more subtle forms of dishonesty, such as lying by omission and manipulation. Being dishonest is a sign that we are taking back power and trying to arrange our life to suit our needs, regardless of the needs of others, and is a big manifestation of the ego. Honesty is a huge part of a program of recovery, and if you are being dishonest, a relapse may be right around the corner.

Taking back power in all forms is a sign that your program is dwindling. This look several different ways, and is a sign that you are no longer placing faith and reliance on your higher power, which is at the very core of a program of recovery. Making decisions without praying on it, losing touch with your meditation routine, being impulsive, and generally living your life in service of yourself are ways in which you might recognize that you have taken power back. Also, if you find you are no longer going out of your way to help others, then that might also be a sign that you are taking back power.

Basically, if your program of recovery, which is outlined in the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous, is starting to fall apart, this could indicate that you are starting to white knuckle your recovery, and a relapse may be imminent. Watch out for these warning signs.

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