One of the hand outs I use with groups. This is a shorten version of Relapse Stages and just a starting off point for further discussion.
First stage – I am un aware. I don’t see it, and have no idea I am in trouble. (people around us may notice subtle changes in attitude and behavior).
Second Stage – We become restless, incurable and discontent. Our focus shifts from internal to external, we stop focusing on ourselves and start focusing on other people around us. We start blaming; acting the victim, fear and anger start to become evident.
Third stage – Unresolved feelings occur and they are not dealt with in a healthy manner. We go into the emotional and physical withdrawal, than start to isolate. Negative attitudes start to predominate such as compulsive behavior, we start discounting recovery, we may engage in magical thinking.
Fourth stage – A crisis in our life provides the excuse for us to start using it again, or we create a crisis that rationalizes are returned to use. In other words, we have made the decision to use, and are ready to light the fuse.
As we move through the stages of relapse, a few different things are occurring. Firstly, the need to regain our ‘right’ to re-engage in our addiction seems to make sense. We talk ourselves into the false belief that this time we can control it.
There’s a gradual and progressive destabilization of our lifestyle. Lastly, Stress and Stressors will accelerate this process.