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Warning signs of relapse

The holiday season is a challenging period for those in addiction recovery. Many recovering addicts relapse during this time of year so it is vital to recognize the warning signs and interrupt the process. Any return to addictive behavior can lead to a relapse. Warning signs of relapse occur before addictive behavior begins. There are major clues to look for including changes in attitude, thoughts and behavior.

For those who are newly recovered, falling back into old addictive patterns can be especially tempting during the holiday season. The initial honeymoon period of feeling good about conquering their addictions ends, and they start to question if being in recovery is what they really want. Others feel too confident in their newly found recovery tools and underestimate the stresses of the season. This time of year brings on a variety of demands than can be too much to handle for newly recovered addicts who are just beginning to cope with life without turning to addictive behavior.

During the holidays, it is vital to observe any changes in attitude and behavior towards recovery in all those who are battling addictions.

Look for the most common warning signs of relapse:

  • Mood swings and irritability
  • Avoidance of normal activities
  • Isolation
  • Secrecy
  • Defensiveness
  • Self pity
  • Depression
  • Feeling overwhelmed
  • Sleeping too much or insomnia
  • Impulsive behavior
  • Voicing their past addictive behavior was not that bad
  • No longer attending support groups
  • Pulling away from sponsor or positive influences
  • Rejection of help
  • Hanging out with old friends who encouraged addictive behavior
  • Lack of confidence in the ability to stay in recovery

The best way to prevent relapse is to recognize the warning signs and interrupt the process as soon as possible. This is the time to ask for help from a sponsor, a therapist or another professional. Having a relapse prevention plan in place increases the chances of successful addiction recovery through the holiday season. If you feel that you or a loved one is in danger of relapsing, please call Shades of Hope for a free private consultation.