One thing you know is true almost the minute you get out of treatment for your addiction: You need continued help to move along in your recovery.
There are a lot of very good reasons for this, but most important among them is the fact that you’re still so new to being clean and sober that you haven’t yet become comfortable in practicing your recovery skills. There’s so much that gets thrown at you when you return to your home, family, job and friends. Sometimes – often, in fact – it’s too much.
Without structure, your recovery may either be much more difficult or even collapse. Here are some tips on how to structure your environment in early recovery.How to Structure Your Environment in Early Addiction Recovery
Don’t worry. These are tips and techniques that have worked for many individuals, but there’s nothing to say that you can’t come up with some equally effective ones on your own. And there’s no test you need to take, no one to answer to, and nothing to prove – except, maybe, to yourself in how much easier recovery can be when you put a little structure into it.
1. Simplify your daily schedule: Too many duties, chores, assignments, projects, or to-do lists that you endlessly draw up and fail to complete will only serve to leave you frustrated, disappointed, angry, or depressed. The best thing you can do in your first weeks and months of recovery is to simplify your life. Eliminate all but the essential activities or duties from your daily schedule – especially for the first 90 days. Why is that? Addiction recovery specialists say that the first three months are the most critical. It’s during this time that many well-intentioned persons in recovery slip, prone to falling back into pre-treatment routines that get them into trouble, or giving up under the pressure of cravings and urges that they’re ill-equipped (not sufficiently practiced) to cope with.
How can you go about simplifying your daily schedule? Ask yourself what is absolutely mandatory that you do today. If you’re unsure, you probably don’t need to do it, so scratch it off your list. If you can go either way or if, for example, your job doesn’t depend on you doing it, cross it off. If you wind up with only one or two things you simply must do, that’s a great start.
2. What to say to others: You might get some flak from others in your family, at work, or even friends, when you try to simplify your daily schedule or pay attention to what’s important for your recovery. That’s actually to be expected. Although they’re well-meaning individuals, no one except you really knows what it’s like to go through this sometimes difficult and confusing time. Well, no one except another person in recovery. And, even then, every person’s situation is unique. So, back to what do you say to others who wonder why you can’t spend time with them, take on this extra assignment, go for the long business trip, entertain clients at the bar, or some other form of subtle or not-so-subtle persuasion?
The answer is, frankly, that depends. If the person is someone who knows that you are in recovery, all you need to say is that you’re following the recommendations of your counselors or working your program. Tell them that you need time to work your recovery plan and that means taking a break from all unnecessary extracurricular activities, family pressures, or other demands on your time. If the person knows nothing about your situation, a polite “I’m sorry, I’m not available at this time” should be sufficient – or use words that you deem appropriate to the situation. Definitely don’t go into a long dissertation about overcoming your addiction, how hard or easy treatment was, or all the many worries and sleepless nights you may be going through lately. They not only don’t need to know, it will probably scare the daylights out of them. This is your business, your recovery. The person to tend to it is you.
3. Mind the basics: Of course, getting back to feeling in tip-top shape and maintaining your sobriety entails more than just streamlining your schedule and having rehearsed things to say to others. Part of your new and structured environment in early recovery involves taking care of your nutritional needs and getting adequate rest. As it often happens, when you’re in early recovery, you’re still recuperating somewhat from the residual effects or chronic conditions resulting from your addiction. You may be anemic, weak, have muscle atrophy, or have trouble warding off infection. Many who return home following treatment say they just want to hole up and sleep for a couple weeks straight. Many do just that, although they do make time to go to 12-step meetings and counseling in between sleeping sessions.
Begin by stocking up the refrigerator and pantry with wholesome foods, including fresh fruits and vegetables, lean meat, seafood, whole grain cereals, breads, and rice or pasta. If you’re not a cook, and have no one to cook for you, buy a good cookbook or research some recipes online and create menus filled with nutritious, easy-to-make meals. In fact, creating tasty dishes can be a form of therapy for you, besides being good for your overall health.
You’ll also want to ensure that you’re eating a solid three meals a day, beginning with breakfast. This is one meal you don’t want to skip. Forget about just a cup of coffee or a latte from Starbucks on your way to work. That’s no way to treat your body, especially in early recovery. You need the fuel from food to keep you going through the morning hours, and your brain functions better with the morning breakfast boost as well. Don’t think you can skip lunch or eat a candy bar at your desk, either. That’s just no fuel and empty calories, respectively. When you’re hungry (as you’re bound to be when you don’t eat), it’s too easy for cravings and urges to surface. You’re also more likely to become jittery, nervous, frustrated, stressed out and prone to making mistakes or rushing to faulty conclusions. For dinner, it can be a light meal, if you like, but be sure to allow enough time (2-3 hours) so that you’re not eating right before you go to bed.
Speaking of bed, you need a good 8 to 9 hours of sleep per night. Most adults do, and this is even truer for those in early recovery. You may even require more. If so, and your schedule permits, get more sleep. But don’t just languish the hours away in bed. There are many more things that need your attention for the early days of your recovery.
4. Make meetings a priority: While you were in treatment, you learned the value and necessity of attending 12-step group meetings such as Alcoholics Anonymous. These fellowships are comprised of others in recovery that are committed to being clean and sober and to helping fellow members do the same. Most addiction treatment specialists say that recovery is only as successful as the quality of the support network the recovering individual creates and maintains. The truth is that some people may be able to complete treatment and make it on their own for the first few months of recovery, but this is like Sisyphus attempting to carry the massive boulder uphill: sooner or later, everything will come crashing down. The burden is just too great. Why shoulder such self-imposed difficulty? It’s so much easier to go to meetings, listen to the stories and accounts of what worked for others who may have gone through similar (although each person’s recovery is unique) circumstances, and adapt what you hear to your own situation.
You may have heard that Alcoholics Anonymous has a semi-official rule about attending 90 meetings in 90 days. It’s even referred to as the “90-in-90 rule,” according to some written accounts of personal recovery. What it means is that the individual who is new to recovery should make it a practice to attend 90 meetings in the first 90 days. This can be one meeting each day for the full three months, or it can sometimes take the form of 2 to 3 meetings a day (morning, afternoon, and evening). Doubling or tripling up on meetings may even be a means of preserving your sanity during especially troubling times or when you feel a crisis coming on. However you do it, and whether or not you hear about the 90-in-90 rule, you should make attending your 12-step meetings a priority. This is one of the activities on your daily schedule that takes priority over everything else – especially in early recovery.
Finding the meeting location that feels most comfortable to you may take some doing. But there’s nothing that says you have to stick to one location. Vary your meeting locations, days, and times. Not only will you be keeping it fresh, you will also avoid becoming bored by seeing the same people and possibly hearing the same stories over and over again. When you do find a meeting location where you jell with the other members, this can become your home base meeting group, the one you return to at least once every week.
5. Learn structure from other 12-step members: Besides making attendance at 12-step group meetings a priority, do more than just sit there and listen. It’s not a job. It may be the most important thing you do for yourself in early recovery. Why is that? No matter what you hear during the meeting, there’s bound to be something that you can learn from the person speaking. You don’t have to like the speaker. AA, for example, and other 12-step groups as well, isn’t about the person. It’s about the process of learning how you can overcome addiction and live a full, productive, and sober life.
Many 12-step groups offer special programs, workshops, and seminars that deal with various aspects of recovery. Some deal with how to structure your life to avoid stress, how to prioritize decision-making, learning how to better cope with urges, or other particularly relevant topic. There are also alumni who return to give back to the 12-step group and volunteer their time in job fairs, practicing interviewing techniques and resume writing, training members in various skills, and offering their expertise in many other areas important to recovering individuals.
If you become close to several group members, use them as sounding boards or ask for their support as you try your hand at structuring your environment. While 12-step groups are nonjudgmental, and they aren’t a substitute for treatment, nor do they offer treatment, the support and encouragement you receive from participating in them can be the difference between feeling good about how you’re handing your day-to-day environment and feeling lost, confused about what to do and when to do it. So, make use of your friends and allies, including your 12-step sponsor, in helping to structure your environment.
6. Clear the clutter around you: Here’s a simple technique that can help you greatly in structuring your environment. No one likes a messy house, not even the person who’s become accustomed to it. When you return from treatment, you see the world in a different view. Use this new world-view to closely examine your home environment. This is where you spend the majority of your time, work notwithstanding. You owe it to yourself and your recovery to make it a clean, organized, and inviting place.
Start by clearing out the clutter from every room in the house. You could begin in the bedroom, since this is where you sleep and rest from the challenges (and opportunities) of the day. It should be a peaceful place, not one that’s piled with boxes and strewn with tossed-aside or dirty clothing, shoes, purses, wallets, and other accumulated items. Remove food detritus, leftover cartons and containers. Scrub, dust, launder, and vacuum everything to make it squeaky clean and fresh. This is a good start.
Next, go to the room where you spend another big chunk of time. That’s most likely the living or family room. Tackle this room the same way you did the bedroom. After that, move on to the kitchen, garage, other bedrooms, etc. What should you do with items that you have removed from a space and don’t know where to put them? Keep the three “Rs” in mind: reduce, reuse, and recycle. If you don’t absolutely need it, haven’t worn or used it in two years or longer, donate it, sell it, scrap it, or recycle it. If you’re not sure, put it in a pile you label “Maybe” and go back to it when you’ve finished the rest of your de-cluttering task. Never leave a maybe pile for longer than the time it takes for the donation truck to arrive. If you haven’t decided by then, donate the item.
Why all this concentration on having a clutter-free home? There is ample evidence that shows that a clean and well-organized environment is conducive to healing, well-being, and general peace of mind. You owe it to yourself to give yourself the best foot forward in your recovery. And making your home more inviting is an excellent way to do just that.
7. Tackle bills with the same sense of organization: Who doesn’t feel stressed and overwhelmed by a mountain of bills, many past-due, some of which are even threatening? This is often the case following treatment – which can be quite costly. What’s the typical response when faced with a pile of bills? If you’re just trying to get back on your feet, you may wind up tossing them in a corner, burying them in a drawer, or just ignoring them completely. As you know from your days in treatment, if you leave things untended long enough, they’ll only get worse. So, for the sake of structuring your environment in early recovery, it’s just as important that you make a serious effort at tackling your bill-paying responsibilities.
It’s very possible – even likely – that you can’t pay many of them. You may need the assistance of a financial counselor. Ask your 12-step sponsor or other group member for a recommendation for a financial guidance professional. Or call your creditors yourself and work out a repayment schedule. Even if you’re behind on your mortgage, lenders would much rather get something that you negotiate than have to go through with foreclosure on your property.
Keep in mind that walking away from your responsibilities, while it may be an option, carries some long-term consequences. Not the least of these is what it does to your credit. But perhaps even more important to you in recovery is the fact that abandoning your responsibilities goes against what you’ve learned about being in recovery. It isn’t your fault that you have an addiction, but you do need to accept responsibility for your actions. And your financial responsibilities are part of that equation. Of course, if your financial advisor recommends bankruptcy for your particular situation, you may wish to pursue that avenue. Just be aware that it will take a long time to rebuild your credit.
8. Ask for help from your spouse or loved ones: If you’re among the lucky ones who has a spouse or loved one to support and encourage you, ask for his or her help in structuring your environment in early recovery. This doesn’t mean that you want or expect him or her to do your work for you, but that together you create a structure that not only works for your recovery but also takes into account and respects the needs of the family.
At first, this may seem like a tall order. After all, you’ve just come out of treatment, more than likely, and all anyone in the family wants is for things to return to normal. But this is the new normal, and the family environment is also bound to undergo some restructuring. Be sure to discuss this with love and respect, and take it slow.
9. Make a list of goals: Your recovery journey is here and now, but it also includes having a focus on the future. To do that, you need to craft a list of goals, things that you would like to achieve in the next 1, 2, 5, 10, or 20 years. When you first start creating your goal list, it may be somewhat vague. Don’t worry. You will fill in the blanks as you progress toward them. That’s why it’s important to put down short- and long-term goals. While you’re working on achieving the short-term ones, such as achieving your 30- and 60-day sobriety milestones, you’ll come up with ideas and steps to getting closer to your long-term goals.
For now, just list goals as they come to you. If you think of interim steps or requirements to achieving those goals, mark them down as well. This may include a long-term goal of finishing or getting a degree, and short-term goals of applying to a college or university, securing financing, choosing courses, and attending classes.
10. Give thanks for each day: Sometimes we get so caught up in our day-to-day routines – whether in early recovery or years later – that we fail to give thanks for our successes, lessons learned, and accomplishments that day. It doesn’t matter if you are thanking and acknowledging yourself, or God, or higher power, or the power of the spirit. What does matter is that you do put your gratitude out there. This is a form of structure - prayer, self-meditation, call it what you like – that pays dividends far beyond the mere utterance or thinking the words.
Make it a daily practice to express your thanks for what you’ve received that day. Even the most stressful or frustrating day deserves acknowledgement. You’ve made it through the day and have succeeded in facing many diverse challenges and opportunities. You are that much better equipped to face tomorrow.
Structuring your environment in early recovery actually gets a lot easier in time. In fact, once your structure becomes second-nature to you, it will be possible for you to devote more of your focus on expanding your reach to include even broader horizons. Further along in recovery - say one year and beyond - you will have even greater self-confidence, self-esteem, and willingness to approach your future with hope, joy, and a sense of discovery.
-- from https://www.promises.com/articles/addiction-recovery/how-to-structure-your-environment-in-early-addiction-recovery/
What is Recovery Coaching and who would need one?
Rome Italy just got their first taste of Certified Recovery Coaching Training which was conducted by Sober Academy out of London, U.K. Leading the training was Janique Svedberg, owner and founder of Sober Academy.
Recovery Coaching has been around for about 30 years and started in the United States when the lead singer of the band, Aerosmith, Steven Tyler was new to sobriety and needed help to stay "clean" while on tour.
He hired a man who had been sober and in recovery for a while and as the story goes, this man helped him stay sober throughout his world tour.
After this, a new profession was born -- an important profession -- one that grew out of necessity and need, and became an integral part to someone staying sober. Since then, the profession has grown by the thousands in the United States and training programs and certification has been implemented from New York to California (Janique was one of the leaders towards this end).
For more on what a Recovery Coach is and for information about training, check out www.sober-academy.com. Their next training is in London U.K. in September 2018.
The holidays are a time for coming together with family, friends, loved ones. And festivities will abound — work parties, social gatherings, and then there’s New Year’s Eve! Sounds like a lot of fun for most, but for those in recovery holidays can be very difficult and challenging. This is especially true for people in their first year of recovery and their first Christmas or New Year’s eve sober can be incredibly wonderful or incredibly hard! So here is a top 10 list of advice for people either new to recovery, or even us old-timers. We too sometimes need to be reminded.
1. Choose Not To Be Alone
This is a time of year where being in a recovery group, like AA or NA is a gift. We no longer have to be alone, for anything or any time of year! Offer to be of extra service. Ofter to host a Christmas or New Years party. If you have no family to be with -- especially if you are overseas -- then choose to be with friends, especially friends in recovery, or friends from church or school. Tell people you have no family. Ask for help without feeling sorry for yourself but knowing that by asking for help you are acutally helping other people. This is a time of year when others enjoy helping others, even others not in recovery.
If you feel like you have no friends then go down to a soup kitchen and serve food to the homeless over the holidays. There, you will find kindness, compassion and human connection. You will be in the solution of addiction.
2. Start with a meeting and set the tone for your week
Get to meetings, even every day. And if you are going home or traveling anywhere, find out where meetings are before you travel. Contact people in the town you are going to and tell them when you arrive, and ask them to pick you up if you are without a car. And get to a meeting first as soon as you arrive. Do this first before you get pulled into the energies of family or whomever you are with.
3. Recognize and Confront the Saboteur
Be aware of the mind’s or ego’s tendency to sabotage your efforts. Your mind may be
working overtime to get you to break your recovery and sobriety. During the holidays this is especially true. So simply bringing awareness to this tendency returns you to presence. Nothing more is needed. Once aware of it, it will lose its power as long as you remain conscious. There are also saboteurs in the forms of friends and family. People you may have in the past, or past holidays “used” with. Recognize them and if possible get away from them. Fast. You don’t have to stay at a party that may be dangerous to your sobriety. You can leave. Remember it is your life you are saving.
4. Loneliness and Sadness Come and Go
This time of year brings us face to face with powerful emotions as we may remember past holidays we have spent with loved ones we have lost, or friends we used to “party” with, or relationships that may have ended due to our addictions or other reasons. It is good to remember how much people actually mean to us and that the relationships we have had, have been important and lessons to us that help us grow.
And in sobriety we have the opportunity to share our feelings and by sharing, we can shift the loneliness and sadness. If we share our feelings with other loved ones, with other people in recovery, with our sponsor, we find that the feelings dissipate. If we connect with our local 12-Step meeting, church group, synagogue, yoga community or meditation group, we can find the connection we need.
5. Take Breaks
If things get uncomfortable for you, go to a meeting or yoga class, take a walk or a run or call up a friend in recovery, other trusted friend or sponsor. You do not have to sit in an uncomfortable situation. You can always just take a break. And you can always leave.
6. No Need to Fit in or Say Yes when you mean No!
Resist the temptation to fall back into old patterns with family or friends that no
longer serve the “you” that you have become. At the same time, we must resist the temptation of trying to seek approval for who we’ve grown into. Often, people will resent this or not see you in the same light you see yourself. This can bring up big-time resentment and leave your holidays feeling like an ordeal to get through. When offered drinks, even "just a little bit" to ring in the New Year, a firm No with a kind smile is your way of saying, I am protecting my sobriety for me and my future!
7. Be in the Attitude of Service
Show up this holiday season knowing your cup is full enough to be of service to
others. Service can take many forms. You can feed the homeless, of course. And you
can also show up with a good attitude to be with your family. Help them cook, clean
up. Be present as much as you can. Ask them how they are doing and practice being
a great listener. You will soon find that you have contentment – the freedom from
wanting or needing anything. For your 12-step group, bake cookies and take them to a meeting. Offer to open a meeting for someone going out of town or going for the holidays.
8. Avoid the pity pot.
I recall my first few years were spent feeling sorry for myself for not being with my family. I saw everyone else with their families, going out of town or being with their kids. And instead I was all alone. AND I threw my first party and helped other newer members of my 12-step group. Concentrating on helping them took the focus off of me and put me back on my track of serenity.
9. A time of self-reflection
Spending alone time can be a good thing too. We don’t have to think of it as isolating if in fact we are doing some meditation and contemplation. Or some simple time of catching up with that stuff we want to do but are usually to busy to do, such as clean out a closet (and donate the old clothes to charity, or sell it at a market!). Read that book you keep falling asleep with because your work schedule is so busy. Work on your 4th Step (finally!). Or read some 12-step literature, such as Living Sober.
10. Count your blessings
A great time to start the counting your blessings -- and yes, I do mean, putting them down on paper -- is the start of the New Year! Buy yourself a beautiful diary or journal and wake up each morning and make that list! It will help to bring your awareness back to the present of all the good things in your life, and shift your Holiday Blues to Jingle Bells Rock!
And lastly, if you are finding yourself in a crisis, know that you are not alone and do not hesitate to call us at La Promessa to speak to a Counselor or Therapist right away.
Wishing you peace and joy in this holidays season.
"There was a time when the predominant school of thought about an addict and when he would most likely seek help meant waiting for the individual to hit “rock bottom.” When that person’s life was adversely affected enough by addiction and destructive behaviors, he would enter rehab or find some other way of pulling himself up by his bootstraps. Over the past few years, that thought process has changed. As the medical community has come to realize that addiction is a disease and not a “lifestyle,” more attention has been paid on helping those afflicted with addiction, rather than punishing them."
La Promessa Outpatient Treatment Center in Rome is the first English-speaking treatment center in all of Italy to offer Intervention services in English and Italian by the only Professionally Trained and Certified Interventionist in all of Italy.
If your loved one, friend or colleague is showing signs of a substance abuse -- such as alcohol, cocaine, heroin, marijuana -- or a behavioral use disorder, such as eating, gambling or internet, La Promessa's Trained Interventionist will help motivate them to enter a treatment program that works for them and for their particular situation. After the individual is in a safe treatment program, the Interventionist continues to provide education and coaching on the nature of addictions, what to expect when their loved on returns home and many other important aspects of helping to create a healthy and happy environment in which to thrive and aspire to wellness.
Sobriety is not just about putting the bottle or drug down, it is about emotional sobriety and wellbeing. It is about learning to live life on life's terms. It is about finding balance and happiness despite the ups and downs of life.
Sound like too much to hope for? Let us help you and your loved one on a path to much more than just sobriety. We've been there. We know what its like and we are specialists at finding and living in the solution.
For more information on how to organize a Professional Intervention, in either English or Italian, call our office 0639739106 or 0639739146, or English-speaking specialist at +39.342.812.7620 or email at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org .
In the past few years, after giving up a job that had provided me with an abundant income, a stable seat in an office, the promise of a good retirement package (AND headaches, body aches, stress, unhappiness and guilt for not loving it and being satisfied), I have dedicated myself 100% to helping others with addictions, bringing addiction knowledge and professional standards to Italy and providing education and prevention programs to the English speaking community in Rome. And even with a lower income and bigger responsibilities, I do not regret having left that cushy job.
But this new work has been no cake walk and the one thing I have learned above all is to keep on learning! I spend over 3 hours every day -- sometimes more (like the past two days) -- rarely less learning and studying.
Working in the field of Addiction Treatment means keeping up to date on the latest drugs being used, the latest treatment modalities, the latest acceptable and respectable language being used throughout the world, the latest treatment centers that are adhering to the highest ethical standards, and so on and so on. The importance of continuing education, attending conferences, workshops, training seminars whether online or in person can not be underrated. The relevance of reading the latest journals, DSM, articles, studies and meeting with colleagues to discuss or debate is crucial to being in the know about how to best serve the public I work with. And lastly, improving improving and more improving of my Italian language skills so that I able to best communicate with clients, families, professionals and educators -- this is the fun part. Actually, for me, it is all fun!
They say the one thing that keeps a person young is to constantly be learning something new. If this is the case, I for sure, am going to stay young the rest of my life.
-- with love, peace and serenity.
HEY ROMANS: Let's Talk About Addiction - Alcoholism, Drug Addiction, Gambling, Internet, Marijuana, Food
Why does it seem like Addictions - alcoholism, drug addiction, gambling and the like, are such subjects folks don't want to talk about here in Italy?
I know personally from working in this field for a while that there are a lot of people suffering from addictions and behavioral disorders. I know them personally, their families, friends, loved ones. BUT why does it seem no one wants to talk about it? Addiction is not contagious. There are a lot of factors that contribute to someone becoming an "addict" but getting addicted by touching someone with an addictions isn't one of them. Let's work together to help remove the stigma of addiction. Start talking about addiction.
One program that has been developed in the U.S. and is making wonderful progress is called Drugs Over Dinner.
Together we can help open the dialogue to start talking, and start saving lives. If you, your school or place of work, or even your family and friends, would like to have a open frank talk about Drugs and other addictions, La Promessa and their team is at your service.
Check out the programme online - its pretty wonderful. http://drugsoverdinner.org/#intro
Please don't be afraid to talk about drugs or alcohol or anorexia or bulimia or other addictions - the only thing to fear is what happens IF YOU DON'T START TALKING NOW.
The International Conference on Addiction and Associated Disorders (iCAAD), headed by Samantha Quinlan and Christophe Sauerwein will hold its 2nd Annual iCAAD Conference in Rome on 13 April 2018 at the beautiful Gregorian University's, Roma Eventi Conference Center in Piazza della Pilotta near the Trevi Fountain.
The Conference this year will build on the theme from last year, Unity: The Next Generation of Solving Problems Collaboratively and further explore this idea with "FORWARD... Connecting practice with theory in the treatment of addiction; working towards our global goals in Behavioural, Mental and Emotional health Care.”
Last year, La Promessa Treatment Center's President Dr. Fabrizio Fanella presented on Repetitive Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation explaining the benefit of utilizing rTMS in the treatment of Addictions and Substance Use Disorders (SUDs).
This year we hope to encourage other colleagues -- psychiatrists, medical doctors, therapists and university counsellors to participate once again in an effort to bring awareness, education, prevention and more information to the community of Rome and Italy about the latest in the treatments for addiction.
For more information on iCAAD and for tickets, please go to https://www.icaadevents.com
Many addicts in recovery that are nearing a relapse episode exhibit predictable and identifiable habits and behaviors before the actual relapse occurs. Recognition of these habits is critical in order for people in recovery and their loved ones to take decisive and immediate action to prevent the relapse. This is especially important considering the potential consequences of each new relapse episode: prison, violence, bankruptcy, death. Relapse prevention isn't just about stopping someone from using again; it's about saving a life.
The following are 7 behaviors that many addicts exhibit prior to and/or during the early stages of a relapse:
A person in recovery who is on the verge of relapse will likely become withdrawn and purposefully isolate other people around them. This is particularly true of people that will not support or condone a return to drug use or drinking. This could be evidenced by spending less time with family members, staying out later at night than normal or not coming home, and by seeming withdrawn and quiet when others are present.
2.) Decline in Hygiene/Productivity
There is often a lack of care and concern when a relapse is imminent. Meaning, less attention is paid to personal hygiene details, exerciseprograms are abandoned, employment or educational inefficiencies or neglect occurs, and regular household upkeep suffers. These are all common signs of an addict who is beginning to care less and less about trying to maintain a legitimate lifestyle.
3.) Glorification of Substance Abuse
An addict that is unhappy with or neglectful of their recovery will often yearn for the days when they used drugs or drank. They may talk about using and relive their past drug use in the form of stories, anecdotes and comments that make it clear that they miss those times, despite the severe consequences they suffered as a result. (Levels of Relapse Warning Signs, T. Gorski)
An early warning of relapse is when a person in recovery begins to reconnect with friends or acquaintances they used drugs or drank with. This refers mainly to individuals who are potentially still using drugs or those who do not support recovery/sobriety. These reconnections are especially troubling when the person in question has withdrawn from people that DO support their recovery.
5.) Engaging in Risky Behavior
An addict in recovery that is about to relapse will often exhibit abnormally risky behavior. This could include extreme sports or other athletic activities, promiscuity, excessive speeding and other dangerous activities. Engaging in behaviors such as these fills a certain need for excitement and euphoria, but for most addicts in recovery the only euphoria that will satiate them is a return to their drug of choice.
As people in recovery get closer to relapse, they sometimes become secretive; carefully guarding their phone or computer, remaining tight-lipped concerning where they go, who they're with, etc. Often at this stage the relapse has already begun and secrecy is required in order to conceal it.
7.) Abandoning Treatment
Addicts in recovery usually engage in some type of ongoing treatment as part of a relapse prevention program. This can take many forms, but when people in recovery are nearing a relapse episode, they often abandon these types of treatment with little explanation. When combined with any or all of the behaviors outlined above, it's likely that for these people, relapse is imminent. (Carole Bennett, M.A. 6 Common Relapse Triggers PsychologyToday.com)
If you recognize any of these signs in yourself or someone you love who is in recovery, don't wait another moment. Gently address the issue directly with the individual, and try to involve the person's support network, their sponsor, partner, treatment specialists or clergy, and if needed, an interventionist.
We are here to help.
New research has found that alcohol use disorder (AUD) is an often untreated epidemic in the United States. Do you have an alcohol use disorder? This blog post highlights the 11 symptoms of alcohol use disorder based on new criteria for assessing both alcohol abuseand dependence.
The Eleven Symptoms of Alcohol Use Disorder