The plans we create for our future selves and the tragic comedy that usually ensues never seem to coincide. More times than not, we get our crystal ball confused with our magic “8” ball and expectations get mixed up with disappointments. Of course, it’s not as bleak as it may sound; sometimes it’s just a matter of being able to accept reality as it comes our way.
Whether it’s cheap plastic or crystal sorcery, both give you a chance to react to the information provided. The same goes for recovery and avoiding any form of ‘prelapse’. In the blink of an eye, we can throw ourselves overboard and into the largest downward spiral if recovery is not kept on the front burner as a priority. If sobriety is the vision that we seek, there are certain components that must be maintained to hold onto that happy, joyous, and free lifestyle.
Why Do People Relapse?
Recovering from addiction is difficult, not just because of withdrawal or the mental strain that comes with it, but also because of the possibility of relapsing. This is a very raw reality for some individuals, as half of those who undergo addiction treatment will experience a relapse.
The most important thing anyone can do for this is to be proactive in preventing relapse. In this regard, recognizing the signs of relapse are imperative in preventing it. These signs include the following:
- Recovery Lacks Priority: Relapsing sometimes can seem inevitable; it’s a harsh reality to face. When someone begins to lose motivation for recovery, relapse becomes more likely to occur.
- Lack of Support: When it comes to success in treatment, a lot of it depends on whether or not a person has individuals around to support them. This is a majorly influential factor of the success with inpatient treatment, therapy, and twelve-step programs. When people leave rehab and wind up not having any sort of support to be surrounded by, relapse increases in likelihood. Encouragement and support are imperative to the recovery process.
- Attending Treatment for Others: There could be many reasons that someone seeks out help for their addiction treatment. Oftentimes someone seeks out treatment options as a result of an intervention from friends and family. Recognizing how one’s actions are affecting others is enough to change their perspective. But if they’re not doing it for themselves also, chances are they’ll lose sight of their motivation.
- Lack of Preparation: It’s one thing to be inside the walls of a treatment facility, but it’s something entirely different to leave treatment and apply new skills to the real world. This is why it is imperative to have a plan for whenever one transitions from treatment to the outside world. A lot can happen to everything someone has built up in recovery, even in a matter of days. Some of these things include the loss of a family member, harmful relationships, finding a new job, or even financial difficulty.
The Straw That Breaks the Camel’s Back
For those who are not aware, ‘prelapse’ (the beginning of relapse) starts in the brain long before alcohol or drugs have tapped into your bloodstream. Relapse mode only starts with a few seemingly simple thoughts before you’re on track to destruction. When an individual has fully immersed themselves in recovery, it is blatantly obvious what their intentions are and what they are striving for.
The opposite is just as clear when prelapse thoughts and triggers are having their way. An alcoholic thinker might do well for extended periods, but even with cautious optimism, nothing is permanent.
Keeping in mind there isn’t a cure for addiction will help us to recognize that this really is a disease that is a constant battle for some as their using thoughts flourish and recede. Unfortunately, relapse is a very real thing for any chemically dependent person, regardless of the time accumulated. On the bright side, prelapse can be easily spotted in loved ones or self when looking out for mannerisms like:
- Irritability or anger
- Increased dishonesty
- Periods of depression
- Impulsive/radical behavior
- Excessive defensiveness
- General dissatisfaction with life
- Constant physical and emotional exhaustion
- Lack of motivation or the desire to do anything
- Poor daily routine and/or structure; lack of self-care
- Loss of interest in therapy or support group attendance
It’s unfortunate of course and we can try to help, but it’s ultimately up to the individual to fight back against the disease as its high tide starts crashing down waves of prelapse and negative thinking onto the shores of their brain.
James Bond Cravings
Prelapse warning signs will sneak up like a double agent would in the Hollywood blockbusters. Before you know it, the person in question will begin thinking that Alcoholics Anonymous meetings are pointless and that they have obtained everything they need already. This is a person who is on the pathway to relapse usually because they are already at a point where they are becoming close-minded. That’s what our addiction and alcoholism want is for us to lose. It’s definitely a game, but there’s no silver and gold- it’s life or death.
Addiction numbs us to reality and causes us to always look at things from the perspective of the glass always being half empty. Everything in life starts to have this hollow feeling to it and the mindset of “nothing we ever do is good enough” roots itself into every forced step we take.
All that negative thinking, of course, attracts more negative experiences. Irritability and loads of stress start tacking on with the rest of the cynical frame of mind that is now dulling their personality. It’s important to look for unnecessary mood swings and anger conjuring itself from out of nowhere. Don’t fall victim to stressed induced emotion.
Preventing Relapse: Post-Treatment Outpatient
As previously mentioned, if someone is not ready for the world outside of recovery, it can spell danger for everything they’ve worked to build up in terms of strength. In these circumstances, it is safe to say that outpatient treatment may be necessary.
Outpatient treatment is a great way to transition from inpatient treatment to the real world. For some, it’s a good decision to make to be proactive about one’s life post-treatment. For others, it is a necessary step. Either way, taking care of oneself after treatment is vital to recovery success.
Depending on one’s individual needs, outpatient treatment could last anywhere between three months to over a year. This method of care offers individuals 10-12 hours of access to professional therapists and psychiatrists per week. This has been known as a good way to keep individuals accountable as it relates to their recovery.
Fight for Your Right to NOT Party
As some signs of prelapse start appearing, more of them follow suit as the person slips down into the inevitable. Prelapse thoughts just add weight that drags you down ever so slowly. With the negative outlook and more off-putting situations occurring, it’s common to see the addict or alcoholic begin losing hope with life. Ambitions will begin to diminish and getting the person to do anything productive will seem like a chore. Addiction and alcoholism will convince them to give up on themselves.
Even sadder, the person will begin losing interest in hobbies or people that typically kept their attention in the past. Things will just seem off to them and they often will push friends and family away in attempts to hide the depression/anxiety they’re going through. It will literally suck the life out of them to the point where they feel like getting high or drinking is the only way to cope with such a bottom. As all this starts to come to a head, maybe they will begin making questionable decisions or even putting themselves in sketchy or risky positions. They will constantly convince themselves that they got a bad hand in this deck of cards.
The victim role comes in strongly as they start looking for any reason they can to throw it all away and pick up the bottle or pipe. Having a good friend or family member who can call the person out when prelapse seems prevalent can be a holy grail amongst the darkness. Call them out and support their endeavors with love. Knowing the premonitions before they occur may just save your struggling loved one’s life.
Stop Prelapse Before Relapse
When it comes to cravings and the warning signs at hand, sometimes they will come from out of nowhere and coax even the strongest of individuals into second-guessing their recovery. It’s important to know the signals and to stand up to yourself and the identity crisis addiction creates. If you or a loved one has been struggling with getting a firm grasp on sobriety and need detoxification, please contact us here. Our team of specialists is waiting to help figure out what options are best for sending your life in a comfortable direction that you can proudly stand behind.