Recovery from an alcohol or substance abuse addiction is no easy feat, and the victims who do recover deserve praise and love. It is a difficult process that can be emotionally taxing, but the reward of it can make anyone feel like they’re on top of the world.

But even when you rise to the top, you can always fall back down. This is an unfortunate fear addicts have to deal with and be wary of after coming out of recovery.

Relapse can sneak up on any victim without notice, with a rate between 40% and 60% for addicts after recovery. However, there are signs to watch out for and ways to prevent a relapse from happening.

Avoiding Others

The first red flag is when the victim begins to avoid and get away from others, particularly people who were heavily involved in their recovery or people they want to hide their addiction from. This includes, but is not limited to, therapy groups, spouses, children, close friends, parents, and other close acquaintances.

This self-isolation is usually because they fear disappointing loved ones or are embarrassed about feelings or thoughts of relapse. Hints of fear and anxiety should be the first to look out for. Are they scared or stressed? Are they lashing out when a loved one “bothers them” too much?

A victim may not be avoiding others because they hate someone, but for deeper qualms regarding their recovery. These signs often spike, are most likely right after recovery, and are when the victim is most vulnerable and unstable.

Irrational and Irresponsible Behavior

A victim of addiction who is the most at-risk and unstable at the beginning of post-recovery can explain some of their awkward behaviors at first, but it is also a good reason to watch out for more unnatural, unreasonable, and outright reckless habits.

At the risk of a relapse, their general thinking may become more irrational, violent, or even irresponsible. Perhaps they are acting more reckless with little thought behind their actions—whether they’re related to the addiction or not.

Having little faith in their recovery and often acting with a defeatist attitude to avoid pain and criticism is another red flag. On the opposite side of the scale, however, thinking in ways that bring pain upon them is also concerning and can feed into the desire of wanting to escape back into their addiction.

In general, any unreasonable or harmful behaviors are strong indicators of potential relapse.

Searching for Escapes

Alcohol and drug substance addictions themselves are escapes, and it’s possible that an addict may find alternate means of escape.

This includes not only avoiding those involved in helping with their recovery but beginning to reacquaint with people involved with the addiction, such as “drinking buddies.” These people can be a means of escape and lead to a relapse. Some addicts may even fall into other—albeit less harmful—addictions, such as TV or video games, to escape.

Some may even avoid work or activities by constantly sleeping in order to escape the hard realities they face. All of these escapes may cause their own dangers or be unsatisfactory to the victim, which may ultimately lead to relapsing back into alcohol or drug use.

Relapsing is dangerous and unfortunate, but it does not mean the victim has failed. It is important to keep an eye out for these various signs and bring them to their attention in order to avoid the risk of relapse.

Identifying and Preventing a Relapse

If you have a loved one who may be dealing with a potential relapse, consider researching local Tennessee Treatment & Rehab programs they can attend. Consider enrolling them in Discovery Place’s own recovery programs, such as our Long Term Recovery Program or Continuing Care Program in Burns, Tennessee. Call Discovery Place if you have any questions, at 1-800-725-0922.


  • Discovery Place was the answer for my son. He did the 90 day and then the step down program and sober living. We give this organization 10 stars. They met my son where he was …emotionally, mentally, physically. They helped him put his life back on track. Discovery Place employees care about their guests. If your son, brother, nephew, grandson or husband needs excellent supportive care THIS is indeed the facility.

    Kim Morton
    Alumni Parent
  • I have remained sober and it is because of DP. DP is the best place there is, hands down. I keep everyone there in my prayers, and I encourage everyone there to take what they are practicing and do it in their lives, after.

    Roy Mantelli
  • Over the past year, I’ve been putting into actin what Discovery Place taught me, and I have experienced a complete perspective change of the world, and the people in it. I get to be a man of service and love today, and for that I am grateful to Discovery Place.

    Matt Kassay
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    Tommy Parker
  • Discovery Place and the men who work there made recovery attractive, and more importantly, fun. There is strength in the struggle. I am forever grateful for my time at Discovery Place.

    Creed McClellan
  • When I got to Discovery Place my whole life was in shambles, but I didn’t know it. I spent 6 months in their programs, participating in all three phases, and was met with kindness and love all along the way. It is unbelievable to me, where I am now relative to where I was when I arrived at DP.

    Lance Duke
  • I can never say enough good things about Discovery Place and the people who work there. Before checking in to DP, I was out of options and out of answers. Fortunately, Discovery Place has a solution. Taking suggestions from the staff at DP saved my life, and as a result, I’m now more content and hopeful about life. I’m grateful for Discovery Place showing me how to live a healthy life so that I can become a better man and help the next guy.”

    Tyler Buckingham

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