Your loved one has finally agreed to get help for their addiction to alcohol or drugs. That’s great news. But remember that the road to recovery is long and requires patience, support, and vigilance. Part of your role as their support system is to recognize the warning signs of relapse.
Relapse is a common word in recovery, and it’s common because the relapse risk is extremely high. Identifying relapse warning signs can be tricky. The longer someone is abstinent, the better chance they have of avoiding relapse–but it’s still no guarantee.
Supporting a loved one who has gone through a rehab program is a delicate process.
How can you tell if your loved one has relapsed or is about to? Although everyone is different, one of the most common relapse warning signs is when the person stops doing what they are supposed to do in order stay sober. They start making excuses to skip 12-Step meetings or counseling appointments. They start to isolate, avoiding family and friends.
Another warning sign is when someone one tries to reconnect with past friends from their substance use days. If those friends are still using, chances of the person relapsing are high.
Watching a loved one suffer through addiction and struggle in recovery can be extremely painful. The risk of relapse is high and completely out of our control. So, what can you do? First, attend an Al-Anon meeting. In Al-Anon, you’ll learn tools to keep the focus on your life and how to be happy – whether your loved one relapses or not. You’ll hear how others have managed to get through painful times with courage, strength, and support.
If you notice that your loved one is showing signs of relapse, talk with them. Encourage them to reach out to their sponsor or the alumni program at their treatment center. Relapse is not the end, and it does not mean the person has failed. It’s simply a chance to try again and to fine-tune the recovery program to better fit the person’s needs.