Are you concerned that someone you love has relapsed? When you’ve suspected a relapse, broach the situation carefully as not to come off accusatory to the person in question.  This could emit a response of mistrust and shut the door to what can be a potentially life-saving line of open dialogue. Insinuate trust when you love someone in recovery, but HIR brings you a handy checklist for in case you’re on high alert for relapse and intervention or action is needed.

1.   Hidden behaviors or alienation

Often times, someone who has relapse feels ashamed. Make them feel comfortable enough to reach out for help. Shame is the number one cause for relapse and drug and alcohol use. If someone with sobriety time under their belt has to reset the score, they tend to internalize and beat themselves up, which leads to more use. Let them know that if they have slipped up, it will be ok. Many say relapse is a natural part of recovery. Offer to attend therapy or a meeting with them to encourage getting back on track. Remind someone who has relapsed that they can gain control again, and that all great successes are riddled with roads of slip ups in order to instill a true lesson.

Shame often causes one to alienate and hide activity after relapse. They are consumed with new drug behavior, nothing else matters.

2.   Physical Signs

Signs of drug use often include odd or erratic behavior, pupils either dilated or pinholed, sweaty and nervous, agitated and unpredictable, paranoia, runny nose, gaunt or lethargic, slurred speech, nausea and vomiting, and in poor health. Of course these symptoms range across a plethora of drugs and are not applicable to each person’s drug of choice or brain chemistry, but when someone is using, you can tell they “just aren’t themselves.”

Someone in recovery from heroin who is convinced they can have a beer or two is playing with fire. The cocaine addict who lights up a joint here and there is asking to lose inhibition enough to return to cocaine again. Addiction originates from lack of self control every time we give it our power, so that when someone who struggles with substance abuse loses control in any way they wind up right back to where they started in their addiction, if not worse.

4.   Hanging Around The Wrong Crowd

Reminiscing on people and places from a past life of use that are “no good” is the sign of giving into triggers. Hanging out with people who haven’t sought out sobriety is essentially planning an alcohol relapse or drug relapse. This welcomes doing the same substances and with the same people who still indulge them, and that’s not easy to abstain from. Someone solid in their recovery communicates regularly with a sponsor and/or counselor as well as attends 12-step meetings. They have worked with these professionals to identify who to avoid, so if your loved one is still hanging around the “wrong crowd,” they’re not sticking to the plan, and that is a red flag. One’s absence is noted in 12-step meetings, and the fellowship will see it as cause for concern about a missing attendee’s wellness.

5. Money troubles

When someone starts asking you for money or can’t manage their own finances, that’s a sign they may be spending it on an urgent need that will consume them and their bank account. Not everyone has their finances in order, but to fund one’s own addiction means never having money because every dollar goes to the next high. Then the addict tends to rationalize they can borrow, lie, cheat, or steal to get that next fix — it’s all that matters to them. If your loved one in recovery is constantly asking for money, a ride, or a meal, then you cannot always supply their unstable lifestyle because if sober, they could support themselves. Professionals call this enabling. You can actually be unintentionally supporting a loved one’s addiction by not forcing them to practice self-care.

3 Types of Triggers That Can Lead to Addiction Relapse - Hawaii Island Recovery
3 Types of Triggers That Can Lead to Addiction Relapse

Read on to learn more about the three types of triggers that can lead to addiction relapse and learn how you can gain the tools necessary to respond…

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6. Overall Unhealthy Behavior

Bad habits, bad thoughts, and bad feelings manifest themselves in our patterns of behaviors. If someone neglects hygiene or healthy relationships or success at work, they are not good with themselves — the first sign leading to relapse. In recovery we are taught to make our bed, throw our cigarettes out in the ashtray, and have respect for our surroundings and selves. If someone loses that respect, it shows a sense of lack of care for their environment and life in general. We all have tendencies to slack in everyday responsibility, but for someone in recovery, relapse happens when we don’t stick to our routine. Most people who relapse undergo feelings of shame, guilt, and regret. After that, comes behavior of self-neglect, exuded by neglect for others and shared settings.

7. Defensiveness

If you straight up ask someone if they have been using or drinking, and their response is extremely offended, or they have an outburst, that in combination with the aforementioned signs is another sign of relapse. If someone approached you pointblank in the streets and said you just committed murder, you’d most likely laugh it off or simply wonder why, but to get defensive and offended is a sign of guilt. You see, someone in recovery knows that relapse is probable and are not afraid to discuss it, because discussing it is encouraged.

No matter how committed you are to pursuing recovery, there is always a chance that at some point in your life you could relapse, whether it be drug relapse or an alcohol relapse.  So if a love one suspects it, someone good in their sobriety be ratiinal and have an understanding as to why you may think so. But someone in use will blame your assumption on you in order to deter your thinking and hide.

8. Participation In Recovery

Recovery is marathon. Marathons require encouragement from others to maintain staminal. Recovery is constant work, and for that we must have a certain respect for those who choose to be sober. But when they don’t do the work, it’s a sign of relapse. Recovery groups are crucial because they are reminders that others struggle and they allow you to reflect on your own. Addiction is real and so are the consequences. Sometimes the reward feels to great that someone in use forgets the bad, but meetings remind you that using leads to a whole other world of problems that aren’t worth it. Not working a program is one of the signs of relapse.

9. Signs of withdrawal

For alcoholics it’s the shakes and agitation and for opiate addicts it’s extreme pain and flu like symptoms. Every drug has different withdrawal symptoms (alcohol and benzos are cause for immediate care as they’re life treating.) Be leary of these signs in case immediate medical detox is needed.

10. Route Of Administration

This is the tell-all sign of someones who uses and how deep in use they are. Smoking has an odor, IV has track marks and paraphernalia, snorting has debris in the nose and runny fluids. Oral is undetectable besides the physical signs withdrawal signs.

See The Signs Save A Life

Relapse is not a reason to excommunicate someone, in fact it’s a sign they need more love and support. If you do in fact find out that your loved one has relapsed, encourage hope. Relapse, if it hasn’t led to jail institution or death, can be positive. A relapse can be a wakeup call to learn and identify triggers and readjust. If you suspect someone has relapsed, just ask, come from a place of love and non-judgement and open the line of communication. Consider the cause and apply it as a learning experience. Relapse can be educational and solidifying in recovery, however it is not encouraged since one more drink or drug use can be the last.

If you’re from an alcoholic’s family, or close to a drug addict and desperately trying to make them see the light and find a rehab treatment program after relapse, talk to us now.