Identifying Warnings Signs and The Stages of Relapse
When it comes to addiction recovery, no matter how committed to sobriety a person is, there is always, always the risk that they may return to using or drinking—especially during the first year of recovery. Contrary to what many might assume, however, relapse is not an impulsive act. In fact, the process that leads to an eventual relapse is just that, a process involving a breaking down of the barriers to addiction that the individual had so carefully erected in treatment.
Someone new in recovery uses a great deal of energy to remain sober. They may attend several 12-step or other types of non 12 step support meetings per week, get a sponsor, work the steps, and actively confront the demon of addiction on an hourly basis. Depending on the severity of the addiction, efforts to override the temptation to use can be exhausting. But, alas, addiction is a chronic, relapsing disease. In fact, the statistics are indeed discouraging, with 40-60% of individuals relapsing in the first year of recovery, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse.
There is no shortage of triggers that tempt someone in recovery to fall down each and every day. Stressors that seem to be abundant in recovery are usually consequences of the disease—such as relationship issues, financial problems, job loss, or custody issues—can become overwhelming without the crutch of the substance to ease the discomforts of dealing with them.