Relapse prevention identifies the warning signs and symptoms of the process that occurs before returning to drug and-or alcohol use. Relapse prevention is interrupting the forward progress of the drug or alcohol addiction relapse process. Here is what to look for:
The drug or alcohol relapse process has certain signs and symptoms that must be addressed before actual use of drugs and alcohol reoccurs. Relapse prevention is all about interrupting the process prior to use..
There are certain signs and symptoms that may indicate that a person may be in ‘relapse mode’ Some or many of the following may occur and are definitely worth paying attention to.
- H.A.L.T – H is for hungry, A for angry, L for lonely and T for tired. Often when people feel snappish or cranky a quick review of those for symptoms may pinpoint a cause. The danger of not paying attention here is that minor incidents can get blown way out of proportion if any or all of those four states are not dealt with.
- Dishonesty – This can cause concern in one of two ways, the first is that if you have never gotten completely honest about your addiction and recovery in the first place. The second and more likely scenario is that ‘little white lies’ of convenience have started to creep into your life. This can then progress into deceiving yourself about important things.
- Complacency – Complacency is a really sneaky one because when it occurs, things are going well. When things go well people tend to slack off and put minimal effort into recovery. Thoughts like “I wasn’t that bad” and “It wasn’t alcohol and drugs that was my problem…it was ________” Those are sure fire signs of the relapse process in full swing.
- Self-Pity – Climbing on the pity pot usually involves either becoming a victim, “How come everybody can drink except me?”. Or, You can adopt a blaming stance…” If you had my husband/wife you would drink too. If you are a victim or a blamer it is always someone else’s fault, and you are not responsible. If it is not your fault you don’t have to take action because it would make no difference.
- Frustration – Two very common traits of people in addiction and addiction recovery are poor impulse control, ‘I want what I want, when I want it’, and the need for immediate gratification. This can be childlike in throwing a hissy when things don’t go your way. That can easily escalate to ‘I’ll show them’ and its off to the bar or drug dealer.
Identifying drug and alcohol addiction relapse warning signs is not a black and white issue, there are many potential signs of danger, and they are different for everybody.
Author: Bull Urell — is an addictions therapist at a leading residential treatment center. He teaches healthy life styles and life skills as a component of holistic addictions treatment.