Young adulthood, ages 18-26, is considered the most challenging stage of life to remain sober. We can imagine why that is: social culture in this demographic is largely characterized by ‘having fun.’ Often, that fun includes substance use. For people with addiction, use can become abuse in a heartbeat. Here are seven signs that your young adult is heading for a relapse:
- They stop going to meetings. While not everyone uses the 12-step community to support their recovery, it is important to be involved in some recovery-oriented group (e.g. therapy or church-based support) as recovery rarely happens in isolation. The warning sign of relapse is when the person admits to not attending or states that he either doesn’t need it or doesn’t like it anymore.
- They lose their connections with supportive people. He may stop calling his Sponsor or Therapist. He may stop socializing with friends in recovery. He may become more “absent” at home.
- They start to think they can have “just one.”
- They start to isolate. You may notice that he behind closed doors more and heading out alone more.
- Denial may kick in and he says things like, “It’s not that bad” or “Weed wasn’t my drug of choice so it’s not a relapse” or “I never had a problem with drinking, I can take it or leave it, so it’s not the same as a relapse for me.”
- He may start to talk about wanting to “just be normal.” He may painfully express this desire that can ultimately alter his judgment to think that he can “handle” going to bars and parties.
- He might start demonstrating new addictive patterns or use of new substances. Replacing his drug of choice with gambling, sex, different drugs, food, etc are all signs of active addiction creeping in.
Sober Living Can Be the Best Intervention
If you see these signs, it is time to intervene. Sober living opportunities can help ward off the need for an inpatient or residential treatment stay. With the added structure and support, he can stay engaged in life while finding his solid footing in recovery again.