Witnessing a family or friend get sober is truly a gift. Remember the days when you thought they'd never get clean? To have your loved one back is like starting afresh, with a new perspective of honesty, openness and willingness coming from both ends.
Sometimes, however, you may need to help the addict continue walking in these new principles by looking out for old habits. The first signs of any kind of backtracking may very often come out in conversation. If you’re not sure what exactly to look out for, here are 5 things that an addict or alcoholic should not be saying if they are true to their commitment in recovery. Hearing any of these statements might require you to be alert and make sure that they are getting the kind of support that they need.
1. “I can have just one.”
Any addict who says this is playing with the idea that one day they can be able to safely use drugs and alcohol. However, recovery means accepting deep within their core that they can never safely drink or use again. If the addict isn’t honest with themselves about his or her disease, then it doesn’t matter what they are telling others about their sober living. Each individual who struggles with addiction must come to a point where they truly understand the slogan of Narcotics Anonymous that “One is too many, and a thousand is never enough.”
2. “I don’t need community.”
Staying open to getting help from a support group is vital in recovery. There are people who have accumulated decades of clean time yet still participate in recovery support groups—whether it's 12-step, non-12 step, faith-based, or any other form of community that gets recovery-minded individuals together. There’s nothing like the camaraderie that blossoms among alcoholics and addicts who have escaped the perils of addiction.
Support groups remind the addict to replay the tape of their life with drugs and alcohol. It’s so easy to forget after being sober for a time how bad things were, which can then easily lead to relapse. Gathering together is an opportunity to encourage and support each other. There are those who say that the best time to go to a meeting is when you think you don’t need one.
3. “Maybe my addiction wasn’t so bad.”
Once an addict has good distance from their drinking or using days, his or her memory may fade and they may begin to lose perspective of why they’re sober. They may actually begin to romanticize the past and lessen the blow that was actually suffered. Maybe they will only think of the good times they had while partaking in drinking or drugging, or start missing their old friends and old hangouts. These are all slippery grounds to walk on if one is not careful.
4. “I don’t have to worry if my doctor prescribed it.”
At this point, everyone knows that there is an overprescribing problem in America. If the addict happens to say that a doctor is prescribing them a mind-altering medication to treat an ailment or pain, you should take it upon yourself to ask about other options. If in the end they follow doctor's orders, you should make sure they are taking medications only as prescribed and that the medication is discarded when treatment is completed.
5. “As long as I’m sober, I don’t need to be in recovery.”
One of the most important choices an addict will ever exercise is staying open to the recovery process, day by day. The journey is actually a spiritual one and that involves making changes and discovering a power greater than themselves. It’s also about character building and becoming a better person from the inside out. That’s what the recovery process delivers if your addicted loved one's heart and mind is willing.