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Signs of Relapse and How to Combat Them 

Home » Blog » Signs of Relapse and How to Combat Them 

Getting sober after abusing drugs and/or alcohol is a major accomplishment. One that many people with substance use disorders never get the opportunity to achieve. The vast majority of those who are in recovery from addiction have committed their time and effort to therapy, medication management, and deep soul-searching. They have continued to do things to promote their well-being. Rather than allow themselves to fall back into the deadly cycle of active addiction. But, everyone who is in recovery must prepare for relapse, even if it never happens. That is because relapse is part of the disease of addiction, as people in recovery are either working to prevent it or are striving to overcome their struggles with it. 

To date, there is no hard, comprehensive measure regarding what percentage of people in recovery from drug and alcohol addiction end up relapsing. But, those in the industry and those who are in recovery themselves, know that relapse is very real and impacts countless individuals to different extents. Some people relapse and are able to bounce back quickly. While others relapse and suffer a fatal overdose before getting the chance to do the same. The bottom line is that relapse is something that you can prevent, especially if the signs of relapse are recognizable.

Signs Of Relapse And How To Combat Them

Signs of a Relapse

A relapse occurs when a person starts repetitively using or drinking again after being sober for a period of time. Not to be confused with a lapse, which occurs when a person uses or drinks one time after getting sober and quickly gets back into recovery. A relapse can occur at any point in a person’s recovery. As it does not matter if they have been sober for a few weeks or a few decades. That is because a relapse can be triggered by a number of different things ranging from stress and physical exhaustion to the sudden loss of a loved one and unchecked mental distress. While talking about relapse is certainly not a conversation filled with rainbows and butterflies. It is essential to have the conversation for nothing else but to learn the signs of relapse so that you can obtain help and support quickly.   

Signs of a Relapse

So, what are some of the most common signs of a relapse? Consider the following:

  • Falling back into old patterns. After a person has been sober for a period of time, it becomes easier to root out what behaviors were definitive of their active addiction and what behaviors were not. It is possible that a person is relapsing if they are engaging in behaviors they used to when they were using or drinking. This can include socially withdrawing, limiting communication with others, making impulsive decisions, and even beginning to slack on responsibilities at work or at home.
  • Skipping meetings or therapy sessions. A huge part of recovery is therapy and community support. Of course, not everyone goes to therapy and attends meetings. But many people either do both or one or the other. When someone who has been in recovery for a period of time begins to skip meetings and/or therapy sessions, or is spacing them out in their schedule, it is possible that they may be relapsing. Attending meetings and going to therapy becomes extremely difficult when addiction is active again. Especially because of the dishonesty a person has to present with in order to be a functional member of either.
  • Revisiting old stomping grounds. Part of a healthy recovery is distancing oneself from people and places that used to be associated with their active use. This usually includes others who are still using. Exes who played a role in their use, dealers, bars, houses that drugs used to be used in, and so on. So, if a person is revisiting those places or hanging out with those people once again, it can serve as a major warning sign that a relapse is occurring or is about to occur.

Someone who is relapsing may also start to experience changes to their physical appearance. Become more irritable or unpredictable with their behaviors. Start asking for things that they would otherwise take care of themselves. Like a place to stay, cash, or help with other basic needs. Thankfully, there are things that you can do to combat relapse both before it happens and as it is happening.

How to Combat Relapse

How to Combat Relapse

The best way to combat relapse is to have a relapse prevention plan ready at all times. You can put together relapse prevention plans while in treatment, with a therapist, or on your own. A relapse prevention plan includes regular, daily methods of self-care. It also includes techniques to help avoid stress and manage big emotions like anger or anxiety, and contact information for those who can be of help, and support if recovery starts to feel unstable. This is a proactive measure that can help prevent relapse and also help shorten a relapse should it occur anyway.

Other things that you can do to prevent relapse from occurring include the following:

  • Attend regular meetings 
  • Continue to see a therapist 
  • Identify triggers to use
  • Practice good self-care consistently
  • Utilize having a strong support system of friends, family, and loved ones

The best way to manage relapse is to stay ahead of it. But, if a relapse does occur, it does not mean that a person has failed. Relapses, especially those where recovery comes quickly after, are bumps in a long, winding road of recovery. There is no shame in relapsing as long as making efforts to get back on track.

Drug and Alcohol Rehab in California

If you are struggling with your recovery and feel like you are on shaky ground, stop what you are doing. And call us right now. We can help you overcome the challenges you are facing in your recovery. And even help you get back into recovery if you have already relapsed. 

Do not give up on yourself. Call us right now to learn more about how we can help.


  • Excellent treatment center. Hathaway put on the road to recovery, I been sober 2 years today! Thank you Dena and staff members!

    Mike M.
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    Gabby H.
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    Diane K.
  • I came to Hathaway Recovery on court orders stemming from charges due to not taking medications for my mental health. I was fearful of what my future held and what that would look like. I have never been to a dual diagnosis treatment program before, and I didn’t know what to expect. I really didn’t think I had a substance abuse problem but after about 3-4 weeks of group therapy and the counselors here at this facility, I finally realized substance abuse influenced me to not be able to take care of my mental health. With the help of Hathaway Recovery’s team, I was able to build a strong foundation for my recovery that is vital to me and my family. The clinical staff, therapist, case managers, and counselors included, were honest, caring, and really helped me gain the knowledge I needed to build this recovery program and lifestyle. I am forever grateful for the treatment at Hathaway Recovery.

    Transition A.
  • My brother has been addicted for years. All our family gave up on him. Recently, he completed an inpatient residential program at Hathaway Recovery. This place is blessed and so helpful. It’s very luxurious, you feel like you are on vacation at a beautiful resort. Hathaway Recovery staff is very helpful, understanding and supportive. They all helped him to recover and to become a human again and enjoy his life. This place also supports family members and teaches them how to deal with aftercare to prevent relapse. Hathaway Recovery is the place for those who are struggling with addiction. Thank you for everything!

    Beauty D.
  • As a Trauma Informed Therapist I was contracted by Dina , the Owner to provide additional Trauma Informed Counseling. She indicated that she was seeking additional clinical services because her client population were enthusiastic about their recovery and she wanted to provide quality care. Working with Hathaway has been magical. This program does not separate addiction and mental health trauma into separate treatments, This program blends together the understanding that addicts have childhood trauma and have habitually used drugs or alcohol to dull their inner pain., Hathaway Recovery provides highly individual services for each client, including bilingual counseling. This is a program that I am proud to be a part of. Susan Pennington, LCSW – Trauma Informed Counseling Services.

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    Justin J.
  • After running into some trouble with the law, a substance abuse counselor suggested that I check myself into Hathaway Recovery. Hathaway Recovery helped me get my life back together one step at a time. Through discipline, routine, and structure, I can honestly say that this treatment center has helped me tremendously! The staff are very helpful and caring to each person’s needs, and helped me to realize the beauty of living a sober life.

    Josh M.
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  • Finally, Hathaway is a Treatment Center that offers a holistic approach to addiction. This center offers a safe place, community and a network to grow with throughout your recovery process. They make you feel that you are NOT alone. The leadership has been in your shoes!!! Hathaway Recovery is more than just a temporary fix, it is a foundation, a movement, a family to be a part of.

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  • Hathaway Recovery and their staff have been nothing but supportive and understanding throughout our family member’s journey. I truly appreciate all the staff and their hard work. The communication has been great and has provided us a really positive experience. I would highly recommend this facility to anyone looking for a rehabilitation center for themselves or a loved one. Thank you Hathaway Recovery!

    Lilit H.
  • Hathaway Recovery is a very solid, very friendly place. My boyfriend decided to go here and has spent a significant amount of time at the recovery house. They are very good at bringing clients to meetings and on fun outings occasionally! Hathaway is committed to their clients’ recovery and their sobriety and to helping them in any way possible. They go above and beyond for the clients and I definitely would recommend considering Hathaway for your sobriety/recovery.

  • Hathaway is a warm caring treatment oriented environment to receive help from various addictions and behavioral problematic issues. The location itself is serene and safe.. I enjoyed the both staff/professional’s and patient’s… It has many services available, a very unique place… I recommend anyone to come and receive long-term treatment here at Hathaway…

  • Hathaway Recovery is a very solid, very friendly place. My boyfriend decided to go here and has spent a significant amount of time at the recovery house. They are very good at bringing clients to meetings and on fun outings occasionally! Hathaway is committed to their clients’ recovery and their sobriety and to helping them in any way possible. They go above and beyond for the clients and I definitely would recommend considering Hathaway for your sobriety/recovery.

  • “There was no longer any doubt in my mind that I was in the right place for my drug abuse treatment, “Of all the rehabs I could have chosen, I am glad I picked The Hathaway Recovery Support hope respect and care is what i was offered thanks for everything Hathaway recovery you are the best

  • Hathaway Recovery is an awesome place the whole staff has been so helpful they are very professional and very nice Hathaway recovery is a great place to get your addiction treated my brother is doing very well there and we are so glad they were very understanding and willing to help him.

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  • When your loved one is sick and needs help you look for the best and I found the best for my son thank you for everything you did for him.


    Hathaway Recovery is an exclusive addiction rehab treatment center in California offering healing recovery from all substances. We’re proud to provide a great combination for drug, alcohol, psychiatric and psychological recovery treatment backed by experts in the addiction treatment field. Our drug and alcohol rehab is built on the cornerstone of care and compassion and accommodates clients and their families from all backgrounds to educate, inform, and create change around substance use disorder. In a secluded mountain hill luxury resort, our facility offers a therapeutic environment and array of clinical modalities to help individuals and their families. Our staff are also multilingual to address the needs of clients from anywhere in the world.

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