Oftentimes, many former substance abusers will relapse during divorce or other stressful times in their lives. Divorce in particular is a common reason some people relapse. In fact, according to the American Psychological Association, about 40 to 50 percent of married couples in the United States get divorced.
There is evidence that shows that stressful life events such as divorce are associated with an increased risk of relapse. To understand this more, we will look at the different stages that lead to relapse.
Here Are the Components of Relapse
There are certain symptoms and signs that can point to someone potentially suffering from a relapse during divorce.
Emotional Relapse: An emotional relapse begins when emotions and behaviors begin to trigger more thoughts about using. There are a few signs that can point toward an emotional relapse. Some signs include bottling up emotions, isolation, not going to recovery meetings, going to meetings and not sharing anything, poor eating habits, and poor sleeping habits. The emotional relapse stage generally occurs when an individual is dealing with a stressful situation, such as divorce. When these things happen, it is not uncommon for those in recovery to have emotional issues that can lead to isolation.
Mental Relapse — There is usually a mental relapse in someone’s mind before a physical relapse occurs. Some common signs of mental relapse include experiencing cravings for drugs or alcohol, thinking about past use, lying, looking for relapse opportunities, and planning a relapse.
Physical Relapse — A physical relapse is the final stage, and occurs when the individual begins to use again. Once an individual has relapse, it can quickly lead to uncontrollable using once again.
These are a few of the common signs and stages that can lead to relapse during divorce. Identifying these is key to avoiding relapses.
Avoiding Relapse During Divorce
Relapse could mean a return to heavy alcohol use or other substances like prescription medications or even illicit drugs. It should be noted that relapse is a common issue for many who are in recovery.
With that said, recovering addicts should work to avoid relapses as it can spiral back into addiction.
Stay Consistent — Divorce can be a draining, and time-consuming, issue to deal with. However, during this time it is especially important to remain consistent with your recovery program and with the meetings that you are attending. Neglecting meetings and avoiding your sober support group is one of the most common ways that relapses begin. While divorce can be a tough thing to deal with, talking with others in your recovery group about the issues you may be dealing with can be a cathartic experience and may actually help you overcome the issues you are facing without the use of drugs or alcohol.
Learn From Your Mistakes — If you have dealt with a relapse in the past, you should be able to recognize the signs of one before it occurs. Taking these past mistakes and putting them to good use will help you overcome these signs and behaviors if they begin to crop up once again. You don’t have to go through a full-blown relapse to learn from it. And if you have experienced post-rehab depression or anxiety and avoided asking for help in the past, you should know that when these problems begin to come about, it is best to seek out the aid of others.
Asking For Help — Asking for help can be a difficult thing from time to time, but nobody should ever be too prideful to ask for help. If you notice that you are at an increased risk of relapse, or if your divorce is putting a serious strain on your personal health, it is best to seek out help. Whether it is in a clinical setting or from friends or family, just getting the help that you need at this time is the most important thing that you can do.
Distract Yourself — Many times, relapses occur because people are in a bad state of mind. However, if you can change your mindset and think about other things, it can effectively prevent these problems. This unhealthy line of thinking can occur when you are feeling stressed or depressed from a situation such as a divorce. Understanding this and recognizing it is a great way to avoid relapse during divorce. One of the best ways you can distract yourself from thoughts of relapse, and of other issues that may be related to divorce, is to reach out to friends and family. Whether it is seeing a movie, going to a sporting event, or just going out for food, all of these activities are a great way to overcome a stressful situation that you may be dealing with.