1. Theft or asking to borrow money
Unexpected and repeated requests to borrow money is a strong indicator of money problems or financial irresponsibility, a standard behavior of substance abusers, as they prioritize appeasing their substance habit in the short-term over long-term relationships and health. This can also take the form of items missing from your home, including electronics, jewelry, furniture, clothing, etc.
2. Changes in physical appearance
Drug and alcohol abuse quickly becomes the top priority in an abuser’s life, taking a toll on healthy, daily routines having to do with hygiene and appearance. These changes don’t only manifest themselves in the individual but in his or her living space as well.
3. Compulsive behaviors
Unfortunately for some, getting addicted to substances or certain behaviors is just a part of who they are. Whether they have managed to remain clean or not, any activities that give them a small amount of pleasure can eventually dominate them and become automatic even after they’ve stopped enjoying said activities.
4. Denial or defensiveness
Approaching a loved one or friend about his or her secretive behavior that you suspect is related to substance abuse can be one of the hardest things that you ever do. What makes it even more difficult is his or her outright denial or defensiveness towards your concerns. Bear in mind that substance abusers often do not have their own best interests at heart and wouldn’t know help if it looked them in the eye.
Any rash actions, especially those that seem out of character, could be caused by a return to alcohol or drug abuse.
6. The mischaracterization of old habits
Any understating or glorifying of former ways can indicate a disconnect from reality resulting from a recent return to drug or alcohol use after a period of sobriety.
7. Missing recovery meetings, therapy, and outpatient sessions
Putting distance between you and your support system, including loved ones, friends, support groups, and professional help, illustrates a breach between what substance abusers know is best for them and what they would rather do instead, a trademark of substance abuse.
8. Returning to former contacts
An essential part of any former substance abuser’s recovery is severing ties with old friends and acquaintances associated with alcohol or drug use. Reconnecting with any of these individuals not only increases the risk of relapse but can also indicate that a relapse has already taken place.
9. Sudden mood changes
A life of indulgence, led by those in the early stages of substance abuse or a recent relapse, is typically marked by the inability to deal with or the sheer avoidance of negative stimulus. A rebound often entails disproportionate emotional responses to irritation, conflict, dissent, etc.
10. Unrealistic expectations
Having become accustomed to their success with sobriety, many of those in recovery forget how difficult it was to get clean in the first place and lower their guard to temptations. Underestimating your addiction and assuming that you can revisit old habits and then freely return to sobriety is a grave mistake.
While this isn’t an exhaustive list, keeping an eye on these 10 relapse warning signs will help give individuals the resources to learn the proper techniques to be able to manage their conditions and keep the urges to relapse and use at bay. However, maintaining a strong defense isn’t enough.
A person also must present a strong offense, including attending meetings for those recovering from your substance of choice, pursuing friendships with others at those meetings, and filling your extra time with healthy habits such as exercise, hobbies, and/or spending time with friends and family.