You probably know the main signs someone's in relapse mode. Maybe they're justifying drinking or using every so often. Perhaps they no longer identify as having an addiction and think they can handle their intake without consequences. Maybe they're hanging out with the wrong crowd again.
But addiction is insidious, and you may be in relapse mode without genuinely recognizing the magnitude of certain behaviors. Here are some less-common warning signs.
You No Longer Prioritize Your Routine
Structure and predictability are important tenants in recovery. They keep you grounded, and they also hold you accountable for taking care of yourself.
If you neglect your routine, you inevitably might neglect taking care of your recovery. This change can start slowly. For example, one day, you might sleep in and miss your gym class. As a result, you skip the next day...because what's one more day?
Or, you stop going to a certain meeting because someone in the room irritates you. You decide that you'll substitute with another meeting, but you never get around to finding one.
Unfortunately, all that unstructured time (and lack of accountability) can be dangerous. You may now feel less motivated or connected with others. Worse, you might rationalize concerning behaviors as viable alternatives.
You Keep Glamorizing Your Old Life
Recovery can be challenging and painful, but your old life was undoubtedly worse. So what happens if you start feeling a twisted sense of nostalgia for the past?
Recurrent visits down memory lane may signify that you feel incomplete, bored, or resentful of your current responsibilities. Indeed, a part of you may miss the chaos or drama or pleasure associated with your past habits.
But this type of glamorizing can quickly get out of hand, as it may trigger immense cravings. Moreover, if you don't know how to cope with those cravings, you risk relapsing.
You Assume You're Doomed
What if you've never had a sustained amount of recovery under your belt? What if others have labeled you as a chronic relapser, and you believe them?
It's important to be mindful of the risk of relapse. But being mindful is very different than being a complete pessimist. If you don't believe in yourself- or your ability to engage in a meaningful recovery- you're basically permitting yourself to continue messing up.
You're Only Going Through the Motions
Let's say, on paper, you're doing everything right. You're going to meetings, therapy, and taking your medication. You socialize with sober people and even make your bed every morning.
But if you're only doing the bare minimum- and just showing up without really engaging in the process- you will probably burn out quickly. Recovery requires active participation. While showing up to therapy can be helpful, you won't get very far if you don't actually share what's on your mind!
You Deny Being Stressed
Even though things may seem hectic, you are convinced nothing is bothering you! The real world isn't as bad as everyone makes it out to seem. You're fine, and everything is fine!
This denial can have devastating consequences. Stress is a normal part of our life, and it's essential that you identify and validate what's going on when it happens.
If you don't, you risk putting too much on your plate. You also risk resorting to unhealthy coping strategies to mitigate your feelings.
You Minimize Consequences
Are you telling yourself that things will be better this time around? That you won't overdose or end up in jail or lose your job? That even if those things do happen, you'll figure it out and be okay?
Justifying or minimizing consequences can make relapse seem more incentivizing. If you aren't scared of using, you have no real incentive to stop. That faulty thinking inevitably creates a slippery slope.
You Lie About Small Things
Deceit is a hallmark trait of addiction. That's because lying goes hand-in-hand with shame- it seemingly protects you from being exposed for who you truly are.
Therefore, the solution for treating addiction often lies in practicing honesty and vulnerability. You need to be forthcoming about your fears and struggles. You must be willing to be imperfect, even if you fear rejection or abandonment.
Take a moment to reflect on how honest you are in your daily interactions. What do you choose to withhold or modify? When do you engage in bald-faced lies? And remember, the more dishonest you are with others, the more dishonest you probably are with yourself.
What if You’re in Relapse Mode?
Relapse mode can be scary, but it doesn't mean that you're automatically positioned to fail! Intervening now can make a tremendous difference in how you take care of yourself moving forward.
At The Resurface Group, we support individuals recovering from addiction, and we help our clients get their lives back on track. We are here for you- no matter where you are in your journey. Contact us today to learn more!