No matter how far you are into your recovery, triggers are inevitable. Life can get stressful, and it’s important to recognize the people, places, or situations that might exacerbate substance cravings.
And while some triggers are obvious, many of them are insidious. Subtle ones, in many ways, can be even more detrimental. That’s because you aren’t really aware of how much they might impact your well-being. Here are some of the sneakier relapse signs.
More Accomplishments and Praise
At first, this sign may seem paradoxical. Many people in recovery have serious histories of poor impulse control, regret, and perceived failure. Any sliver of success should be a breath of fresh air, right?
As it turns out, earning achievements can be unnerving and vulnerable. This is especially true if you feel like you’re in the spotlight.
You may feel like you don’t deserve to have good things, and that can spiral into self-sabotage. Or, you might assume you’re doomed to fail regardless, which can also impair your judgment.
One day, you’re going to meetings, checking in with your therapist, and sticking to your usual plan. But, the next day, you’re sleeping in until noon and disregarding your chores and work responsibilities.
While nobody follows a schedule perfectly, routines can anchor you into a stable recovery. If each day feels erratic, you aren’t grounding yourself in anything. As a result, you may be more susceptible to various stressors that lead to a relapse.
Anger is a normal emotion, and we all experience it from time to time. But sudden increases in frustration or rage may mean that you’re more prone to stress than you realize.
It’s no secret that sitting with anger can be challenging. But if you don’t manage it effectively, you may be tempted to return to old cycles of escaping. At that point, you might be at a higher risk of relapsing.
I’ll never use again. I always relapse. This treatment will never work. I’m always going to have cravings.
All-or-nothing thinking can trick you into believing that there are only two extremes for any given situation. This distorted thought pattern can quickly become a self-fulfilling prophecy.
We often live in ways that align with these patterns. Therefore, if you assume the worst (or best) is going to happen, you may subconsciously act out to reinforce that thought.
Other Compulsive Behaviors
Maybe you’re sober from drugs and alcohol, but you’re working, eating, or spending too much. You justify those actions because they seem outside of the realm of an actual relapse.
But compulsive energy is compulsive energy, and when you keep trying to use different vices to escape your feelings, you risk seriously relapsing. That’s because you aren’t actually managing your thoughts and feelings- you’re simply distracting yourself.
No two addictions look the same, and no two recoveries look the same, either. Your healing process is entirely your own.
With that in mind, it’s still important to be mindful of these common trends associated with relapse. If you believe you’re struggling, intervene now. If you need support, reach out now. The faster you act, the more likely you are to position yourself for success.