A relapse is a return to an earlier state. For people in recovery from alcoholism, relapses can be devastating, but it is important to remember that they are not the end of the world. A relapse does not mean you have failed as a person or alcoholic. It only means you need to take additional steps to ensure sobriety and stability. While helping your loved one through recovery, it’s important to understand the common signs of alcohol relapse.
Signs Of Alcohol Relapse in a Loved One
1. Missing Meetings or Therapy Appointments
Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and other 12-step programs help people stay sober by giving them a sense of community and support. They also offer an opportunity for members to find an outlet for their feelings and share their experiences with others who have similar problems with alcohol abuse. Missing meetings means these benefits are no longer available to them and may signify that they are considering returning to their old ways.
2. They Neglect Their Responsibilities and Personal Hygiene
Mental health issues or substance abuse are often associated with poor personal hygiene. If your loved one begins to neglect their well-being, gently confront them about it if this was a problem during active addiction.
The person may also neglect work, school, or family if they are close to relapsing. When an addict drops back into this lifestyle, it’s common for the substance to take priority over everything else in their lives.
3. Hanging Out With Old Friends
Another common sign of alcohol relapse is when people start hanging out with old friends who used to be heavy drinkers or drug users. These relationships can be dangerous for recovering alcoholics because it’s easy to fall back into old patterns when you’re around people doing things you used to do in the past. It can be a slippery slope and lead right into another full-blown addiction.
4. Their Routines Are Changing.
It is common for recovering addicts struggling with relapses to change their routines. A sober lifestyle requires a routine for people in addiction recovery – especially in the early stages. Relapse is often caused by boredom and lack of purpose, and incorporating purposeful and fun activities into your recovery routine is the best way to prevent it. If this person is falling behind on their usual schedule, encourage them to get back on track and provide assistance.
5. Withdrawing From Friends And Family
People who abuse alcohol usually drink alone, often out of embarrassment or to avoid criticism. It is, therefore, common for someone considering relapsing to isolate themselves from those they love. They may be thinking about drinking again, and as a result, they may try to avoid socializing out of shame or to keep from being held accountable.
Maintaining contact with this person while not overwhelming them is key. Make yourself available, keep them focused on their goal, and help them without being asked. Staying by their side makes them feel not alone.
Not every alcoholic can maintain sobriety for the rest of their life. Some will experience a relapse, and it’s important to know what this means so that you can help your loved one seek treatment again. As a loved one, be patient and understanding but don’t forget: you are there to support your loved one.