Road Map to Relapse: 4 Dangerous Thought Patterns for Addicts

Why do addicts relapse?  The same reason people with diabetes have blood sugar spikes, or asthmatics have episodes of wheezing.  Addiction is a disease that requires ongoing treatment and consistent monitoring.  Returning to drug use after a period of abstinence is not uncommon and need not be viewed as a failure.  Simply put, if an addict relapses, a modification in therapy must be offered for more solid recovery.

There are warning signs to look for, just as there are in illnesses like diabetes and asthmas.  If you know the signs, relapse can be prevented. We can help you get treatment if you have recently relapsed. Call 888-414-2380 (Who Answers?) today for help.

Delusional Thoughts

Often, addicts have an inability to see things clearly.  If an addict in recovery finds himself consistently on the opposing view of many of the people surrounding him/her, this could be a sign of delusional thinking.  For example, if you are an addict and find yourself highly dissatisfied with your job, while everyone around you is happy and fulfilled, it is likely that your perspective is distorted.

People suffering from addiction often create mental crisis and perceive threat and disharmony where there is none.  Learning to identify delusional thoughts and pause before acting on these thoughts can help prevent relapse.

Thought of Persecution

Thought Patterns

Isolating yourself and feeling persecuted can lead to relapse.

Loneliness can lead an addict to isolating from others and feeling persecuted.  Recovering addicts need one another.  Particularly during the early stages of recovery.  It is so easy to feel alone and unique when trying to get clean and sober.  When an addict begins to feel isolated and alone, these feelings can escalate into thoughts of persecution.

Most addicts truly believe that other people are “out to get them.”  If these thought processes crop up, finding another addict in recovery to talk to is a perfect solution.

Bitterness, Anger and Resentment

In the program of Alcoholics Anonymous, the writer of their basic text states that “Resentment is the number one offender.”  Addicts generally do not have healthy ways of coping with anger.  When something happens, addicts primarily turn and event over and over again in their minds until it becomes a resentment.

Everyone gets angry.  If someone steals something precious from you, it is reasonable to be angry about it.  What is unreasonable, however, is holding a grudge long after the thief has been arrested and the item has been returned.  Harboring non-forgiveness can lead directly to using to alleviate acidic feelings of bitterness.

7 Things to Avoid in Addiction Recovery

Taking Everything Personally

Addicts are naturally self-absorbed individuals.  Even though, many addicts are loving, caring people, they are often obsessed with themselves.  Every event is viewed through the lens of “How will this affect me?”  People do things for a variety of reasons.  Not everything that happens is directly related to the addict.

However, if you are an addict, this is probably not your first thought process.  Reminding yourself regularly in recovery that everything in life is not necessarily about you, or even related to you, is a healthy principle of recovery.  Addicts who are touchy and overly sensitive may be on the road to relapse.

What Do I Do if I Recognize These Thought Patterns?

If you recognize that your thinking has teetering into obsessive old ideas, call someone.  In early recovery, it can be difficult to reach out to others in meetings or therapy groups.  Addicts often have an insane sense of pride.

If you find yourself immersed in negative, dangerous thought patterns that could potentially lead to relapse, don’t wait to pick up the phone.  Call 888-414-2380 (Who Answers?) for a helpful, friendly voice on the line.  Sometimes reaching out for professional intervention before a relapse occurs is the wisest possible step to take.


Alcoholics Anonymous.  pp. 64.  Retrieved on April 9, 2017 from:

Lips, B. (2007). The disease of addiction:  Changing addictive thought patterns. Mayo Clinic Patient Education. Retrieved on April 9, 2017 from