Early Stages of Substance Abuse Recovery
Are you exhibiting warning signs of a possible relapse in the early stages of your recovery? The early stages of recovery from alcohol or drug addiction is very difficult for everyone even if a person is ready to stop drinking or using drugs and has sought help for their addiction.
It's extremely hard for any recovering addict to make positive healthy decisions in the early days of their recovery. Not only are people emotionally fragile in the beginning of their recovery, it's normal to also be hesitant and worried about living life clean and sober on a daily basis.
Adjusting to daily abstinence isn't easy and stress, depression and even boredom can lead to a relapse in the early days of recovery. Many changes have to take place in a person's lifestyle during early recovery too because situations, people and environments associated with past substance use are 'triggers' that can easily lead to a relapse. We also have to learn how to effectively cope with stress and temptations now because drugs or alcohol are no longer our emotional 'coping vice'.
That's why it's so important to receive help from professionals who specialize in treating addiction if you're dependent on drugs or alcohol. It's not that people don't relapse if they receive substance abuse treatment because they do sometimes, but they're able to receive the extra help they need to prevent it from happening again. There are so many different aspects of a person's life that are addressed during their recovery from addiction other than their dependence if they receive treatment from qualified substance abuse professionals.
Recovery programs that provide Relapse Prevention education to help people understand addiction and assist them in developing effective ways to prevent relapse are extremely beneficial during early recovery. You learn the warning signs of relapse and how important it is to avoid situations that may challenge your recovery. Sometimes it's impossible to avoid someone or something that may trigger thoughts of past substance use and temptations can be difficult to deal with. During treatment you begin to develop helpful ways of coping with temptations, stress and triggers which will help you to prevent a relapse.
Warning Signs of Relapse in Early Stages of Recovery
During the early stages of recovery from alcohol or drug addiction it's not uncommon for a person to relapse but there are usually warning signs displayed ahead of time, these may include:
- Overreactions to stress and normal daily challenges
- Feelings of tension and frustration
- Mood changes such as anger, depression anxiousness
- Reminiscing old memories of drinking or using
- Returning to past friendships, social settings etc.
- Unwillingness to talk about their feelings and avoiding unpleasant conversations
- Staying to themselves and becoming isolated
- Feelings of loneliness
- Compulsive tobacco use
- Staying away from helpful recovery activities such as therapy, recovery meetings or other treatment
We have to remember that addiction is a medical illness and you're not weak if you're struggling to stay clean and sober and you haven't failed if you relapse. This means you need extra help and support to get back on track. Being open and honest with yourself and reaching out for help may be difficult to do but it's extremely important during this time.
Make it a priority to go back to therapy, support meetings or if you're currently receiving outpatient treatment be honest with your counselor or therapist and they will provide the extra help and support you need. If you have not received treatment for your addiction and are trying to recover on your own and relapse, it's time to seek help. Remember you're not weak because you're struggling with your early recovery, overcoming addiction isn't easy and we need to be surrounded with positive support and receive as much knowledge as we can about addiction and recovery.
No one recovers from addiction at the same pace and everyone's treatment needs are unique and different, but there are some things that hold true for anyone working on their recovery.
- We can't change something we don't fully understand that's why we need to be educated about addiction, relapse and recovery so we can learn how to overcome our use of drugs or alcohol.
- We also have to make healthy changes in our thinking and behaviors which is difficult to do on our own especially if we don't even recognize our negative behaviors.
- We have to work through problems that may have led to our substance use and deal with issues that have taken place due to our use of drugs or alcohol.
- We need to learn better ways of coping with stress, temptations and daily challenges so that maintaining sobriety isn't so difficult.
We all need to be surrounded with healthy support in our lives but during the early days of recovery, we need as much encouragement, reassurance and hope as we can possibly receive from people who understand what addiction is all about.
Find a recovery program that can help you understand your addiction and provide the knowledge, tools and positive support you need to learn how to overcome your addiction and maintain sobriety. An effective substance abuse program will help you make changes in your life that promotes long term recovery and help you recognize the warning signs of a possible future relapse so you can receive extra help and support when needed. If you do relapse, remember it isn't because you're weak or that treatment has failed, you just need extra help, guidance and support as soon as possible to get back on track. You can overcome your addiction to drugs or alcohol but it doesn't happen overnight, you have to work on your recovery every day and surround yourself with the people in your life that are supporting you and who want to see you succeed.