A CHECKLIST OF SYMPTOMS LEADING TO RELAPSE
- EXHAUSTION: Allowing yourself to become overly tired or in poor health can lead to relapse. Good health and enough rest are important. If you feel good, you are more likely to think well. Feel poor and your thinking is likely to fall apart. Feel bad enough and you might begin to think using couldn’t make it any worse. Try to eat healthy foods – vegetables, fruits, whole grains. Eating sugar or sweets makes some people crave alcohol.
- DISHONESTY: This begins with lies to yourself. Then come lies to family, friends, and others. This is called rationalizing – making excuses for doing what you know you should not do. Or, making excuses for not doing what you do not want to do.
- IMPATIENCE: Things are not happening fast enough. Or others are not doing what they should or what you want them to.
- ARGUMENTATIVENESS: Getting into arguments with people. “Why don’t you ever agree with me?” If you pick a fight, are you looking for an excuse to drink or use?
- DEPRESSION: Feeling sad, lonely, stressed out or depressed can lead to relapse. These feelings should be talked about.
- FRUSTRATION: At people and also because things may not be going your way. Life can be very frustrating. Don’t let your frustrations lead to relapse. Find a healthy way to cope.
- SELF PITY: “Why do these things happen to me?” “Why must I be an addict?” Feeling sorry for yourself.
- BEING IN USING SITUATIONS: Thinking you have it under control and no longer fear addiction or alcoholism. Going into using situations to prove to others you have no problem. Do this often enough and it will wear down your defenses. Hang around using people and you will end up picking it up again.
- COMPLACENCY: This is when you’ve been clean and sober for a while, and you think you have it made. “Drinking was the farthest thing from my mind.” Not drinking was no longer a conscious thought either. It is dangerous to let up on disciplines because everything is going well. Always to have a little fear is a good thing.
- EXPECTING TOO MUCH FROM OTHERS: “I’ve changed, why hasn’t everyone else?” It took you a long time to get where you are, and others might need some time to adjust to your changes. They may be expecting the old ways from you. They may not trust you yet, may still be looking for further proof. You cannot expect others to change their lifestyles just because you have.
- LETTING UP ON DISCIPLINES: Prayer, meditation, daily inventory, AA or NA attendance. You may feel bored or think you have it made, and then stop working your program. You cannot afford to be bored with your program. The cost of relapse is always too great.
- USE OF MOOD-ALTERING CHEMICALS: You may feel the need to ease things with a pill, and your doctor may go along with you. You may never have had a problem with chemicals other than alcohol, but you can easily lose sobriety starting this way. Remember, you will be cheating! The reverse of this is the drug-dependent person who starts to drink.
- WANTING TOO MUCH: Do not set goals you cannot reach with normal effort. Do not expect too much in the beginning. It’s always great when good things happen you were not expecting to happen. It can take a while to get your life back together. Be patient with yourself.
- FORGETTING GRATITUDE: You may be looking negatively on your life, concentrating on problems you have that haven’t been solved yet. But remember to think about the good things in your life, and how much better life can be when you are not using.
- IT CAN’T HAPPEN TO ME: This is dangerous thinking. Almost anything can happen to you and is more likely to if you get careless. Remember you have a progressive disease, and you will be in worse shape if you relapse.
- OMNIPOTENCE: This is a feeling that results from a combination of many of the above. You now have all the answers for yourself and others. No once can tell you anything. You ignore suggestions or advice from others. Relapse is just around the corner unless you change your thinking.