Warning Signs of Relapse

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Relapse is a return to drug and alcohol use after a period of sobriety. Relapse is a process that starts before the drink or drug is picked up. Relapse involves more than using substances again. Relapse begins with thinking and behavior changes.

There are relapse warning signs which are important to be aware of if you are in recovery.

  1. Hanging out with old friends is a sign that relapse may occur. When you are sober, it is not helpful to be around people who use drugs and alcohol. Sometimes these friends have been in your life for a while. In order to focus on recovery, you may have stopped associating with them. When you start to entertain relapse you may feel that you are strong enough to withstand temptations to use. Spending time with people who use can be detrimental to your recovery because you no longer share a common goal.
  2. Going to old places like bars and clubs is a trap for relapse. Some recovering people can go to bars or clubs after they have gained a good period of sobriety, but this is not always the case. Again, when you are working a recovery plan your goals change. By returning to places where you used to drink or use, you are setting yourself up for relapse.
  3. No longer attending 12 step meetings, support groups, or therapy is a warning sign for relapse. If you start to think that you no longer need this type of support or can stay sober on your own, you are risking relapse. Recovery is a daily choice that involves staying connected with groups or therapy. Once you stop attending the risk for relapse is high.
  4. Isolation is a sign of relapse. Isolation happens when you stop reaching out to your sober friends or supportive loved ones. If you isolate you may stop focusing on what was once important, like your recovery. Recovery was not meant to be achieved alone. Successful recovery involves having supportive people to talk to. Avoiding other people makes you more vulnerable to recovery.

If you start isolating, frequenting familiar scenes, and avoiding groups and positive support you are showing signs of potential relapse. Acknowledge these behaviors and reach out to your recovery network. Talk about what is going on and what you are feeling. If you are able to recognize these warning signs, you will be able to stop relapse before it happens.


Recovery is full of twists and turns. The Kimberly Center can help you navigate recovery and avoid relapse. Call us now at 855-4-KCENTER, we can teach you about recovery. We are committed to putting you and your recovery first. At the Kimberly Center, our clients are in trusted hands.

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