1. Abrupt Changes in Mood
The process of recovery has often been compared to an emotional roller-coaster. Your loved one has to learn whole new attitudes and perspectives on life while also acquiring new life skills. Before these new attitudes and skills become second nature, they are likely to feel uncomfortable with their new self.
That’s why it can be hard to notice the abrupt changes of mood that can indicate a relapse is beginning. Look in particular for signs of irritability, which may indicate that your loved one is trying to hide something.
2. Rejecting their Aftercare Recovery Program
Another sign that your loved one is headed for relapse occurs when they distance themselves from their recovery program. Recovery is a day-by-day process, and everyone needs the kind of support that a recovery program provides. If your loved one stops attending meetings or starts bad-mouthing the program, they are probably setting themselves up with justifications for leaving the program.
Each person has to choose and follow a recovery program for themselves. But when they start backing away from it, it’s never a good sign.
3. Isolation & Depression
The process of recovery involves reconnecting with the outside world in new and healthy ways. If you sense that your loved one is starting draw inward into isolation, cutting off those who care about them, you’re seeing a serious warning sign of relapse.
The isolation may manifest as staring at a screen for hours–television, a computer, video games–rather than communicating with others. It may take the form of your loved one speaking about not wanting to see anyone or making excuses for staying home and alone. Isolation is a stepping stone on the path to depression, which can exacerbate a recovery, so take steps to reassure your loved one that they’re wanted and accepted, and to include them in social gatherings.
4. Denial and Rationalization
Denial is at the heart of addiction. You probably saw a great deal of denial from your loved one before they entered treatment for their addiction. They probably claimed that their problem wasn’t that bad, that they could handle it. They probably underestimated the amount of drugs they were taking or the effect their addiction was having on their own life and on the people around them.
When denial and rationalization show up during the recovery process, it’s always a sign of pending relapse. The denial associated with addiction is reaching out to pull your loved one back into old, destructive ways.