What Happens When You Relapse?

The short answer to this question: Nothing good. Relapse isn’t a single event like many think. It is a process, with the actual taking of the drink or drug at the tail end. This process can start weeks and even months before the ingestion of any chemicals.

Within the Process, Are Three Stages

  1. Emotional relapse
  2. Mental relapse
  3. Physical relapse

In the emotional relapse stage, your behavior changes. You may not be going to meetings, and you may be anxious, agitated, and moody. Your self-care, such as eating and sleeping habits may be slipping, and you are isolating from others. The signs of emotional relapse also correlate with post-acute withdrawal syndrome (PAWS), so be sure you understand both. Getting yourself out of this first stage is much easier than the next second stage.

The mental relapse stage is incredibly dangerous. Your head is a scary neighborhood to be wandering in alone. You start lying, your thoughts romanticize your past drinking or using, you start hanging out with old friends, and you are fantasizing about relapsing. You may feel like you can get away with it, and no one will know. These thoughts are straight from the mouth of your disease. It tries to convince you that you don’t have a problem and that the past wasn’t all that bad.

Though the mental relapse stage can be difficult, it is possible to get back on track without drinking or using. When you are having urges, play the tape through. Honestly look back towards the end of your addiction and remember where it took you. If you don’t take action, you will end up back where you were, only worse.

Take Recovery One Day at a Time

Tell someone how you are feeling. If you want to use or drink, do not keep that to yourself. You also need to remember that these feelings will pass. An urge often disappears after 30 minutes, so just ride the wave until it’s gone. Feelings won’t kill you, but drinking or using may. Take care of yourself, and keep doing your recovery one day at a time.




You don’t have to struggle with addiction any longer. The Lakehouse Recovery Center will help you begin your journey in recovery, and we will give you the tools you need to stay in recovery. This is your chance to make a change. Give us a call, we are available 24/7, toll-free at (877) 762-3707. Recovery is possible. Call today.


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