Cocaine is one of the toughest drugs to maintain sobriety on, especially during those first few months of recovery. Between the intense cravings and the stress that comes along with them, as a person tries to steer clear of the substance, the harder it becomes. 

Because of this, cocaine relapse is more common after a six-month period than it is within the first days or weeks of quitting. If you know someone who is recovering from cocaine addiction, you may want to keep an eye out for these warning signs. 

What Is Relapse?

Relapse itself is the act of reverting back to drug use following a stint of sobriety. Relapses can happen at any time, regardless of if someone has been sober for a couple of months or decades. Addiction is an illness that impacts physical, mental, and emotional well-being. 

Because of the intense cravings that can come along with substance abuse, it is said that more than one-half of people suffering from addiction will relapse in their life. Relapse is not a sign that someone did not try hard enough and is not a moral failure. 

1. Lifestyle Changes

If someone has been recovering from cocaine for months and has crafted a new routine for themselves as a result, keep an eye out. If their “new” normal is suddenly changing again, or even reverting to how their life used to be before recovery, this may be a sign of relapse. 

An example of this may include someone adopting a fitness routine following their quitting of cocaine. 

They’ve been going to the gym straight after work for five months as they attempt to avoid triggers during recovery. However, one day the individual skips the gym and begins working late nights. 

That routine change may be an indication that something is awry. Be sure to compare a person’s life habits before recovery, during it, and currently to keep track of differences. 

2. Recounting the Glory Days

When an addict has reverted back to their addiction, their mindset on the substance will completely change. What used to be shared as the worst period of someone’s life will instead become a positive memory. 

If you’re suspicious that someone in your life has relapsed, take note of how they discuss their past, particularly past drug use. If they speak of the time favorably – as in the amazing parties, awesome memories, and funny old friends from party nights – then this may be a sign that they’re back to using drugs and favoring them again. 

3. A Lost Interest in Recovery

It’s true that everyone approaches recovery in a different way. While it may take a backseat in some people’s life as a silent battle, recovery can also be something that people are happy to share with loved ones. 

In the case of the latter, they may speak highly of recovery, and when a relapse occurs, interest in and the praising of recovery falls away. In some cases, a person may even speak down on recovery and subtly insult those who partake or even their own experience. 

If the person begins to talk down on their sponsors, meetings, or medical team helping them through recovery, it can be a sign that they’ve relapsed and are insulting them out of a reconnection with the substance of choice.

4. A Difference in Personality

When someone goes through recovery, they tend to readjust their life significantly. One of the areas they might change is in how they carry themselves or in personality. 

Oftentimes recovery can increase well-being and thus make someone calmer and happier, but when relapse occurs, it’s the opposite. If someone is keeping up a lie outwardly that they are still sober while simultaneously keeping their relapse a secret, that can amount to a lot of stress. 

If a person in recovery is suddenly agitated, snippy, or overly stressed with no obvious reason, a relapse can be the reason why. 


Recovery is rarely a linear process, no matter how hard the individual or those around them try. It’s important to be aware of any potential warning signs to help get loved ones the help they need as soon as possible. 

While you cannot control or prevent their addiction or relapses, being vigilant may mean the difference between swiftly getting back on track or falling deeply into old habits.