Addicts and Alcoholics, while using, are not really known for being the most honest, or enjoyable people to be around. On the other hand, once these people put down the booze and the drugs and work a program, the transition that takes place in such a short amount of time can be astounding. They regain their humanity, their compassion, and their sense of responsibility. They learn new tools to deal with life, and for the most part, they become pretty happy, successful people. However, “If an alcoholic failed to perfect and enlarge his spiritual life through work and self-sacrifice for others, he could not survive the certain trials and low spots ahead.” Page 14 Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous
For those of us who have recovered from the battle of active using and drinking, we are able to immediately spot a person who is either not working a program, or who is letting their program slowly slip away. There are always signs that a person is struggling. Spotting a relapse can be as simple as connecting a few dots.
When we were out ripping and running, all we knew was using. Once we start to gain some sobriety, the difference in who we are as people becomes astonishing. Where once we were liars, cheaters, and manipulators, we have now become honest, hardworking, and humble (for the most part) people. It is a sure sign that a person is working a strong program when they can not only admit when they are wrong but usually choose to do the “right thing” straight from the jump. When a person falls back into their old behaviors, it is commonly a sign of a pending relapse.
Different Signs of Relapse
1. Not Attending Meetings
For us, we must stay in the loop if we want to continue on with our sobriety. Meetings allow us to reconnect with our fellowship, be of service to the community, meet newcomers, and carry the message. When we make excuses and fall off of our meeting commitments, it is likely because we are carrying around some sort of resentment, guilt, or emotional baggage that is blocking us off from others. For this reason, we often don’t want to go to our meetings because we know people might see that we are struggling.
In all actuality, this is crazy because meetings are the safest place for us TO STRUGGLE! They are the only place where we can be completely honest, and have someone come up and hug us after.
If there is anything that brings us back to old behaviors, it is lying. This can be in any form. We alcoholics and addicts sure are good liars. We can manipulate, exaggerate, fabricate, whatever you want to call it, we can do it. However, as people in recovery, we no longer have this option in our lives. These lies block us off from our Higher Power and our fellows. Not to mention, it enforces that sense of guilt that we discussed in the previous example. When a person begins to lie about trivial things, it shows a lack of honesty (obviously) in their program.
Again, as we mentioned, if we are not in frequent communication with our sober supports, we are going to suffer. When we are alone in our heads for too long, we can come up with some pretty crazy ideas, and we are (again) amazing liars; so good in fact, that we even believe our own lies! We need to have other sober people to bounce our crazy ideas off of, so they can tell us how whacko we are being.
4. Mood Swings
Have you ever been driving down the road, and all of a sudden you burst into tears or fly off into a fit of rage over a thought you had about something you probably made up in your head? If you answered yes, then you might be an alcoholic or an addict. And you should probably call your sponsor. When we are working a healthy program, we tend to stay mostly stable in our emotions… most of the time. But when we are in relapse mode, our emotions come at us in all directions because we aren’t doing what we need to do to keep ourselves in check.
5. Idolizing false Gods
Money, Power, Sex, Food, Work, Shoes, Cars, whatever. When we place superficial “things” in front of our program, we are going to lose everything. By all means, buy the new shoes, or keep working hard, but don’t lose sight of the program and the Power that got you to the point that you’re at now, where you CAN buy the shoes, or be trusted to be an employee.
6. Abandoning the Things We Love
No, this is not a cheesy romance novel. I’m talking about your hobbies. The gym, sports, reading, playing guitar, heck, even writing Manga books or whatever. We lose sight of the things that are important to us when we go all reptilian and stop working our program. These hobbies are our forms of meditation, they keep us centered and they provide us with a few calm moments throughout our days to get us outside of our heads. When we abandon the things we love and make excuses to not get around to them, we are not giving ourself our R&R.
While every alcoholic and addict is different, the signs will usually present themselves along the same general outline. The person will become isolated, moody, distracted, secretive, and detached. There is usually a very obvious “aloofness” about someone when they are in relapse mode, as even when they are around, they are never quite “there.”
The value of keeping ourselves dedicated to the things that move us forward is immeasurable. These small things, the responsibilities that we have, keep us away from a relapse. Today, our responsibilities are cleaning our house (being honest, good people), trusting our higher power (not superficial things), and being of service to others (going to meetings and reaching out to our fellows). If we stick to our basic rules, we will be safe from relapse.
Seeking Treatment for Alcoholism and Addiction
If you or a loved one has a problem with alcoholism or addiction and want to experience recovery in a thriving community with lots of people just like you, then call the professionals at Stout Street today at 866-722-7040. Our trained staff is standing by to take your call and help you in any way we can. We know how difficult of a decision this can be and we know what it takes to ensure you find your own person path in recovery. You no longer have to do it alone, so give us a call today and find the happy and sober life you’ve always dreamed of.