Slip vs Relapse: What’s the Difference?
When you are in recovery for addiction, you are focused on staying sober and regaining your health. You may be concerned about the possibility of relapse, which is a realistic concern as relapse is a common occurrence for many people in the first three months of recovery.
Even the most committed person can still slip up and use drugs or alcohol in their fight for sobriety, but a slip does not mean that addiction treatment and relapse prevention doesn’t work. When considering a slip versus an addiction relapse, the difference lies in your commitment to your recovery.
Learning new habits
It can be helpful to think of addiction treatment as a journey rather than a trip from one destination to another. Along the way, you may hit some bumps, or pull over and rest, but that doesn’t mean that you are going to have to turn back to your starting point.
Addiction treatment is based on more than detox and sobriety; it also involves learning new coping mechanisms to deal with stress so that you don’t return to drugs and alcohol. Part of that learning process can involve the possibility of relapse and recovery.
What if you give in to an urge and use drugs or alcohol during your recovery? A slip in one instance is common, so you should not use it as an excuse to give up on yourself and your treatment. Instead, you can use your slip as a teaching tool. Some of the things you may want to consider after a slip up are:
Becoming aware of triggers
This might be people, places or situations that have been connected with usage in the past and have resulted in usage again. It’s important to create healthy boundaries between enabling people connected to addiction; to avoid places that tempt you to use; and to remove yourself from particularly triggering situations, such as high stress, confrontational or anxious environments.
Acknowledging your mistake
Admitting that you messed up is never fun or easy, but it can lead to a greater self-awareness. Yes, you messed up, but what did you learn from that? What can you take from the mistake and change to avoid a next time? By reflecting (not dwelling) on the mistake, you can learn a valuable lesson and then move on.
Recommitting yourself to your recovery
A slip may be the thing you needed to recommit yourself and find even more determination in adhering to recovery. As they say, sometimes it takes a step back to take two steps forward.
Speaking with a sponsor, friend or member of your support system
It’s humbling to go to someone you respect and love and admit that you slipped up. But those in your support system want to see you succeed, and won’t judge you for making and learning from your mistake. Plus, they’ll offer valuable companionship as you get yourself back on the right track.
Meeting with a mental health professional
Speaking with your counselor will help you see aspects and perspectives of the slip that you might not have seen on your own, as well as provide you with helpful solutions as to what you’ll do differently should a similar, tempting situation arise.
Going Too Far
While a slip may be a moment of poor judgment or falling prey to temptation, you may still continue with your treatment. A slip does not have to turn into a relapse if you stop yourself before you abandon your recovery.
If you give up on your recovery and return to using regularly, this would be considered relapsing, which can be more difficult to stop. Remember that recovery is a time of healing of both your body and mind, and you may not be ready to handle the stress of life without mastering new, healthy ways to cope.
Experiencing a relapse does not mean that treatment does not work, or that you are not motivated in your recovery. Rather, it may be an indication that you should work more closely with your relapse treatment support team or consider inpatient or outpatient treatment again.
A smart approach to any addiction treatment program is a component of relapse prevention and treatment to help you find success during recovery. Pyramid Healthcare offers drug and alcohol addiction treatment for both teens and adults who are ready to reclaim their health and wellbeing. Our services can help you at any stage of your recovery, including relapse treatment.
Call Pyramid Healthcare anytime at 888-694-9996.
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